'In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz' by William Butler Yeats
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The Winding Stair and Other Poems1933The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
But a raving autumn shears
Blossom from the summer's wreath;
The older is condemned to death,
Pardoned, drags out lonely years
Conspiring among the ignorant.
I know not what the younger dreams -
Some vague Utopia - and she seems,
When withered old and skeleton-gaunt,
An image of such politics.
Many a time I think to seek
One or the other out and speak
Of that old Georgian mansion, mix
pictures of the mind, recall
That table and the talk of youth,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.Dear shadows, now you know it all,
All the folly of a fight
With a common wrong or right.
The innocent and the beautiful.
Have no enemy but time;
Arise and bid me strike a match
And strike another till time catch;
Should the conflagration climb,
Run till all the sages know.
We the great gazebo built,
They convicted us of guilt;
Bid me strike a match and blow.
Editor 1 Interpretation
In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz by William Butler Yeats: A Critical Interpretation
As a reader, have you ever come across a poem that moved you deeply, making you pause and think about the world and your place in it? If such a poem exists, it is undoubtedly William Butler Yeats's "In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz." This poem is an elegy for two Irish revolutionaries, Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz, who fought for Irish independence in the early 1900s. However, it is not merely a commemoration of their deaths. Instead, it is an exploration of the themes of sacrifice, heroism, and freedom, as well as a reflection on the complexities of revolutionary movements.
Yeats begins the poem with an image of a "lonely impulse of delight," which sets the tone for the rest of the poem. This image suggests that the revolutionary impulse is not necessarily logical or rational but is driven by a deep human desire for freedom and justice. The image also highlights the isolation and loneliness that often accompanies revolutionary movements.
As the poem progresses, Yeats explores the lives and deaths of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz, portraying them as heroic figures who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Irish independence. Yeats's use of imagery is particularly powerful in this section of the poem. For example, he describes Eva as "a ghostly bridge" that connects the past and the present, suggesting that her sacrifice was a necessary step towards a better future. Similarly, he describes Con as a "tower of grief," highlighting the emotional pain and turmoil that often accompanies revolutionary struggles.
However, Yeats does not romanticize the revolutionary impulse or the sacrifices that Eva and Con made. Instead, he acknowledges the complexities and contradictions inherent in revolutionary movements. For example, he notes that "the years to come seemed waste of breath, / A waste of breath the years behind." This line suggests that the struggle for Irish independence may have been futile and that the sacrifices made by Eva and Con may ultimately have been in vain.
The poem's final stanza is particularly poignant. Yeats describes Eva and Con as "the living beauty" that will inspire future generations to continue the fight for freedom. This line suggests that, although Eva and Con are gone, their legacy lives on, and their sacrifice has not been in vain. Yeats also implies that the struggle for Irish independence is ongoing and that future generations have a responsibility to continue the fight.
Overall, "In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz" is a powerful and moving elegy that explores the complexities and contradictions of revolutionary movements. Yeats's use of imagery and language is particularly effective in portraying the sacrifices made by Eva and Con and the ongoing struggle for Irish independence. The poem is a testament to the enduring legacy of those who fight for freedom and justice, and a reminder that their sacrifices are not forgotten.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz: A Tribute to Two Revolutionary Women
William Butler Yeats, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, wrote Poetry In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz as a tribute to two remarkable women who played a pivotal role in the Irish revolutionary movement. Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz were not only close friends of Yeats but also his political allies. This poem is a powerful tribute to their bravery, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment to the cause of Irish independence.
The poem begins with a somber tone, as Yeats mourns the loss of these two women who were taken away too soon. He writes, "The light of evening, Lissadell, / Great windows open to the south, / Two girls in silk kimonos, both / Beautiful, one a gazelle." The imagery of the "light of evening" and "great windows open to the south" creates a sense of nostalgia and longing. The mention of the "two girls in silk kimonos" adds a touch of exoticism and femininity to the poem. Yeats describes one of the girls as a "gazelle," which is a symbol of grace, beauty, and vulnerability. This sets the stage for the rest of the poem, which celebrates the courage and strength of these two women.
The second stanza of the poem is where Yeats begins to pay tribute to Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz. He writes, "A raving autumn shears / Blossom from the summer's wreath; / The older is condemned to death, / Pardoned, drags out lonely years / Conspiring among the ignorant." The "raving autumn" symbolizes the chaos and violence of the Irish revolutionary movement. The "older" woman who is "condemned to death" is Con Markiewicz, who was sentenced to death for her role in the Easter Rising of 1916. She was later pardoned but spent many years in prison. Yeats describes her as "conspiring among the ignorant," which suggests that she was working tirelessly to educate and inspire others to join the cause of Irish independence.
The third stanza of the poem is where Yeats pays tribute to Eva Gore-Booth. He writes, "I know that I shall meet my fate / Somewhere among the clouds above; / Those that I fight I do not hate, / Those that I guard I do not love." These lines are actually a quote from Gore-Booth's own poem, The Dreamer. Yeats uses these lines to show how Gore-Booth's poetry and her spirit continue to inspire him even after her death. The fact that he quotes her directly in his own poem is a testament to the deep respect and admiration he had for her.
The fourth stanza of the poem is where Yeats reflects on the legacy of these two women. He writes, "Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, / Nor public men, nor cheering crowds, / A lonely impulse of delight / Drove to this tumult in the clouds." These lines suggest that Yeats was not motivated by political or social pressure to support the Irish revolutionary movement. Rather, it was his own personal conviction and passion that drove him to join the cause. This is a powerful message about the importance of individual agency and the power of personal conviction.
The final stanza of the poem is where Yeats brings the poem full circle. He writes, "The years to come seemed waste of breath, / A waste of breath the years behind / In balance with this life, this death." These lines suggest that the sacrifice and bravery of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz were not in vain. Their legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of those who continue to fight for Irish independence. Yeats ends the poem with a sense of hope and optimism, as he acknowledges the enduring impact of these two remarkable women.
In conclusion, Poetry In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz is a powerful tribute to two revolutionary women who played a pivotal role in the Irish independence movement. Yeats' use of imagery, symbolism, and direct quotes from Gore-Booth's own poetry creates a sense of intimacy and personal connection with these two women. The poem is a testament to their bravery, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment to the cause of Irish independence. It is also a powerful reminder of the enduring impact of individual agency and personal conviction.
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