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Coole Park And Ballylee, 1931 Analysis

Author: Poetry of William Butler Yeats Type: Poetry Views: 710

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I MEDITATE upon a swallow's flight,

Upon a aged woman and her house,

A sycamore and lime-tree lost in night

Although that western cloud is luminous,

Great works constructed there in nature's spite

For scholars and for poets after us,

Thoughts long knitted into a single thought,

A dance-like glory that those walls begot.

There Hyde before he had beaten into prose

That noble blade the Muses buckled on,

There one that ruffled in a manly pose

For all his timid heart, there that slow man,

That meditative man, John Synge, and those

Impetuous men, Shawe-Taylor and Hugh Lane,

Found pride established in humility,

A scene well Set and excellent company.

They came like swallows and like swallows went,

And yet a woman's powerful character

Could keep a Swallow to its first intent;

And half a dozen in formation there,

That seemed to whirl upon a compass-point,

Found certainty upon the dreaming air,

The intellectual sweetness of those lines

That cut through time or cross it withershins.

Here, traveller, scholar, poet, take your stand

When all those rooms and passages are gone,

When nettles wave upon a shapeless mound

And saplings root among the broken stone,

And dedicate -- eyes bent upon the ground,

Back turned upon the brightness of the sun

And all the sensuality of the shade --

A moment's memory to that laurelled head.

UNDER my window-ledge the waters race,

Otters below and moor-hens on the top,

Run for a mile undimmed in Heaven's face

Then darkening through "dark' Raftery's "cellar' drop,

Run underground, rise in a rocky place

In Coole demesne, and there to finish up

Spread to a lake and drop into a hole.

What's water but the generated soul?

Upon the border of that lake's a wood

Now all dry sticks under a wintry sun,

And in a copse of beeches there I stood,

For Nature's pulled her tragic buskin on

And all the rant's a mirror of my mood:

At sudden thunder of the mounting swan

I turned about and looked where branches break

The glittering reaches of the flooded lake.

Another emblem there! That stormy white

But seems a concentration of the sky;

And, like the soul, it sails into the sight

And in the morning's gone, no man knows why;

And is so lovely that it sets to right

What knowledge or its lack had set awry,

So atrogantly pure, a child might think

It can be murdered with a spot of ink.

Sound of a stick upon the floor, a sound

From somebody that toils from chair to chair;

Beloved books that famous hands have bound,

Old marble heads, old pictures everywhere;

Great rooms where travelled men and children found

Content or joy; a last inheritor

Where none has reigned that lacked a name and fame

Or out of folly into folly came.

A spot whereon the founders lived and died

Seemed once more dear than life; ancestral trees,

Or gardens rich in memory glorified

Marriages, alliances and families,

And every bride's ambition satisfied.

Where fashion or mere fantasy decrees

We shift about -- all that great glory spent --

Like some poor Arab tribesman and his tent.

We were the last romantics -- chose for theme

Traditional sanctity and loveliness;

Whatever's written in what poets name

The book of the people; whatever most can bless

The mind of man or elevate a rhyme;

But all is changed, that high horse riderless,

Though mounted in that saddle Homer rode

Where the swan drifts upon a darkening flood.


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

.: :.

This poem was written as a tribute to Yeats' patron Lady Gregory. She was an old woman and the flow of the river emulates the end of her life. She allowed Yeats to pursue his poetic ambitons.

| Posted on 2010-03-08 | by a guest

.: the poem :.

This is a poem which was the probably the first one to find a resonance with this particular working class philistine. Up to reading it for the first time,( as part of my girlfriends university course work)i held the popular misconception of many people, that poetry was elitist and somehow pretentious. ok, words of advice to anyone reading the poem, listen within yourself to the music of the words you are reading. that is the only way i can describe it. maybe you will be as staggered by their beauty as i was that first time, dont try to analyse it too much, enjoy it. i hope so.

| Posted on 2005-04-11 | by Approved Guest

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