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The Double Vision Of Michael Robartes Analysis

Author: Poetry of William Butler Yeats Type: Poetry Views: 307

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ON the grey rock of Cashel the mind's eye

Has called up the cold spirits that are born

When the old moon is vanished from the sky

And the new still hides her horn.

Under blank eyes and fingers never still

The particular is pounded till it is man.

When had I my own will?

O not since life began.

Constrained, arraigned, baffled, bent and unbent

By these wire-jointed jaws and limbs of wood,

Themselves obedient,

Knowing not evil and good;

Obedient to some hidden magical breath.

They do not even feel, so abstract are they.

So dead beyond our death,

Triumph that we obey.

On the grey rock of Cashel I suddenly saw

A Sphinx with woman breast and lion paw.

A Buddha, hand at rest,

Hand lifted up that blest;

And right between these two a girl at play

That, it may be, had danced her life away,

For now being dead it seemed

That she of dancing dreamed.

Although I saw it all in the mind's eye

There can be nothing solider till I die;

I saw by the moon's light

Now at its fifteenth night.

One lashed her tail; her eyes lit by the moon

Gazed upon all things known, all things unknown,

In triumph of intellect

With motionless head erect.

That other's moonlit eyeballs never moved,

Being fixed on all things loved, all things unloved.

Yet little peace he had,

For those that love are sad.

Little did they care who danced between,

And little she by whom her dance was seen

So she had outdanced thought.

Body perfection brought,

For what but eye and ear silence the mind

With the minute particulars of mankind?

Mind moved yet seemed to stop

As 'twere a spinning-top.

In contemplation had those three so wrought

Upon a moment, and so stretched it out

That they, time overthrown,

Were dead yet flesh and bone.

I knew that I had seen, had seen at last

That girl my unremembering nights hold fast

Or else my dreams that fly

If I should rub an eye,

And yet in flying fling into my meat

A crazy juice that makes the pulses beat

As though I had been undone

By Homer's Paragon

Who never gave the burning town a thought;

To such a pitch of folly I am brought,

Being caught between the pull

Of the dark moon and the full,

The commonness of thought and images

That have the frenzy of our western seas.

Thereon I made my moan,

And after kissed a stone,

And after that arranged it in a song

Seeing that I, ignorant for So long,

Had been rewarded thus

In Cormac's ruined house.


i{He.} Opinion is not worth a rush;

In this altar-piece the knight,

Who grips his long spear so to push

That dragon through the fading light,

Loved the lady; and it's plain

The half-dead dragon was her thought,

That every morning rose again

And dug its claws and shrieked and fought.

Could the impossible come to pass

She would have time to turn her eyes,

Her lover thought, upon the glass

And on the instant would grow wise.

i{She.} You mean they argued.

i{He.} Put it so;

But bear in mind your lover's wage

Is what your looking-glass can show,

And that he will turn green with rage

At all that is not pictured there.

i{She.} May I not put myself to college?

i{He.} Go pluck Athene by the hair;

For what mere book can grant a knowledge

With an impassioned gravity

Appropriate to that beating breast,

That vigorous thigh, that dreaming eye?

And may the Devil take the rest.

i{She.} And must no beautiful woman be

Learned like a man?

i{He.} Paul Veronese

And all his sacred company

Imagined bodies all their days

By the lagoon you love so much,

For proud, soft, ceremonious proof

That all must come to sight and touch;

While Michael Angelo's Sistine roof,

His "Morning' and his "Night' disclose

How sinew that has been pulled tight,

Or it may be loosened in repose,

Can rule by supernatural right

Yet be but sinew.

i{She.} I have heard said

There is great danger in the body.

i{He.} Did God in portioning wine and bread

Give man His thought or His mere body?

i{She.} My wretched dragon is perplexed.

i{Hec.} I have principles to prove me right.

It follows from this Latin text

That blest souls are not composite,

And that all beautiful women may

Live in uncomposite blessedness,

And lead us to the like -- if they

Will banish every thought, unless

The lineaments that please their view

When the long looking-glass is full,

Even from the foot-sole think it too.

i{She.} They say such different things at school.


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