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Men Improve With The Years Analysis

Author: Poetry of William Butler Yeats Type: Poetry Views: 355

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I AM worn out with dreams;

A weather-worn, marble triton

Among the streams;

And all day long I look

Upon this lady's beauty

As though I had found in a book

A pictured beauty,

pleased to have filled the eyes

Or the discerning ears,

Delighted to be but wise,

For men improve with the years;

And yet, and yet,

Is this my dream, or the truth?

O would that we had met

When I had my burning youth!

But I grow old among dreams,

A weather-worn, marble triton

Among the streams.


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Men Improve with the Years is a contrast between reality and dream. The diction such as \"worn\", \"all day long\", \"discerning\", and \"yet\" gives off a tone of misery and longing to be loved.
To start off, he described himself with \"worn out with dreams\" to show that he is a dreamer and he is old and worn.
He then pulls the reader into a vision in his dream, where he is the \"weather-worn, marble triton among the streams\". The \"triton\" is actually a mythical allusion to the son of Poseidon, a merman. This vision of an eroded Triton tells us that Yeats has thought of himself almost like a marble statue in a stream and is merely a figure that represents something greater, a Greek God at that. He isn\'t even free in the ocean as a living triton, but only as a stone triton in a stream.
Then he talks about looking at \"a pictured beauty\" \"all day long\" to show his dream of finding a lover. This may be caused by this failed attempts at courting Maud multiple times. He stares at the beauty all day long shows us that it\'s been a long time since he became obsessed with this lady. Then when he says \"as though I had found in a book a pictured beauty\" gives us the idea of a captured beauty that lasts forever. unlike his first imagery of a marble triton, he is already worn out by the weather, but this picture is still beautiful. The two contrasting forms of art opposes the title \"men improve with the years\" because the lady stays beautiful in a picture, but the man is worn out by the weather. Then he proceed to tell us that the picture satisfies his senses already. He then gives a self-reassuring statement \"for men improves with the years\" because they grow wiser and wiser even though their looks may deteriorate.
However, there is a shift when he says \"and yet, and yet, is this my dream or the truth?\" This suggests that he is going against the idea of \"men improve with the years\". He questions whether he is good enough to grasp his chances with Maud, or can he just simply admire the beauty she has. Is he good enough to be a real man and live his life or is he just a mere statue stuck in a stream. \"O would that we had met when I had my burning youth!\" shows us that he actually misses the times when he was young, when he doesn\'t have to rely on captured visions or dreams to live his life.
Then the last 3 lines of the poem is a repetition of the beginning. He emphasizes that he can\'t survive in the reality anymore because in reality, he is an old man with no hopes on getting this lady. He can only remain this statue and stare at the woman through the picture in a book. He no longer has his youth.

| Posted on 2011-01-23 | by a guest

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