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The Sad Shepherd Analysis



Author: Poetry of William Butler Yeats Type: Poetry Views: 310

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THERE was a man whom Sorrow named his Friend,

And he, of his high comrade Sorrow dreaming,

Went walking with slow steps along the gleaming

And humming Sands, where windy surges wend:

And he called loudly to the stars to bend

From their pale thrones and comfort him, but they

Among themselves laugh on and sing alway:

And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend

Cried out, i{Dim sea, hear my most piteous story.!}

The sea Swept on and cried her old cry still,

Rolling along in dreams from hill to hill.

He fled the persecution of her glory

And, in a far-off, gentle valley stopping,

Cried all his story to the dewdrops glistening.

But naught they heard, for they are always listening,

The dewdrops, for the sound of their own dropping.

And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend

Sought once again the shore, and found a shell,

And thought, I i{will my heavy story tell}

i{Till my own words, re-echoing, shall send}

i{Their sadness through a hollow, pearly heart;}

i{And my own talc again for me shall sing,}

i{And my own whispering words be comforting,}

i{And lo! my ancient burden may depart.}

Then he sang softly nigh the pearly rim;

But the sad dweller by the sea-ways lone

Changed all he sang to inarticulate moan

Among her wildering whirls, forgetting him.










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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: Overview :.

This poem is beautiful. The poet describes a man, bereft of company, save his own sorrow, searching for a sympathetic ear to which he can share his burden with. He cannot find one, and so is forgotten by all who with he shared his tale of woe. Yeats Shows with very clear imagery precisely what the man feels. This can be seen in this excerpt of the text:
"And he called loudly to the stars to bend
From their pale thrones and comfort him, but they
Among themselves laugh on and sing alway:
And then the man...
Cried out, Dim sea, hear my most piteous story.!
The sea Swept on and cried her old cry still,
Rolling along in dreams from hill to hill.
He fled the persecution of her glory
And, in a far-off, gentle valley stopping,
Cried all his story to the dewdrops glistening.
But naught they heard, for they are always listening,
...for the sound of their own dropping."
This chunk of the text, in particular, brings one to feeling the same sadness and pain that the man feels: lost and lonely with no one and nothing to lean on. A poet who can convey such raw, powerful human feeling and emotion, in the way in which Yeats has, is indeed a brilliant poet.
The rhythm used by Yeats in this poem is one which rocks and lulls the reader, as if the reader were sitting by the sea shore, listening to the waves crash upon the sand, or atop a hill, listening to the wind whisper through the long, dry grass and the spindly fingers of pine trees.
Yeats rhymes the first line with the fourth line, and the second and third lines together in a repetitive fashion. This makes the poem, along with the rhythm, feel softer.
The writing of Yeats makes one feel comfortable and warm, though it tells the story of a hopeless individual. It is as if it were written to lead one to dream about the man and the continuation of his journey.
I wrote this terribly short, rough and generally bad overview purely so that I would be able to type "no" in the box below, to see what happens. Please do forgive me; I am afraid that I may one day share the fate of the curious cat...
Elise
EDIT: it didn't work. I'll submit this, in any case.
"No, dear friend, I am not human. Oh, how I wish I was...then I would truly understand this confounded poem and why English teachers torment it so by instructing their pupils to tear it, verbally, to pieces. but, alas! I am not. It is highly unlikely that I ever will be. *sigh* I don't even feel sad about it. Oh, to feel sadness..."

| Posted on 2008-04-23 | by a guest




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