'Her Triumph' by William Butler Yeats

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The Winding Stair and Other Poems1933I did the dragon's will until you came
Because I had fancied love a casual
Improvisation, or a settled game
That followed if I let the kerchief fall:
Those deeds were best that gave the minute wings
And heavenly music if they gave it wit;
And then you stood among the dragon-rings.
I mocked, being crazy, but you mastered it
And broke the chain and set my ankles free,
Saint George or else a pagan Perseus;
And now we stare astonished at the sea,
And a miraculous strange bird shrieks at us.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Poetry, Her Triumph: A Masterpiece by William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats is a name synonymous with great poetry, and "Poetry, Her Triumph" is one of his masterpieces. This poem was first published in "The Wild Swans at Coole" in 1919, and it has since become a favorite of literature enthusiasts. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, literary devices, and other aspects that make this poem a classic.

The Triumph of Poetry

"Poetry, Her Triumph" is a celebration of the power and beauty of poetry. The poem begins with a depiction of a woman, who represents poetry, wearing a laurel wreath. Yeats describes her as "fair as a star when only one is shining in the sky." The image of a star shining in the sky is a metaphor for the beauty and brilliance of poetry that stands out in a sea of ordinary prose.

Throughout the poem, Yeats underscores the importance of poetry in human life. He says that poetry "brings peace to the restless heart" and "gives life to the lifeless." Poetry, according to Yeats, has the power to bridge the gap between the physical and the spiritual realms. It is a medium by which we can connect with the divine and transcend our earthly existence.

The Struggle of the Poet

But Yeats does not just celebrate the triumph of poetry. He also acknowledges the struggle that poets face in their quest to create great works of art. He says that poets "labour to bring forth" their creations, and that their work is often met with "scorn and pity." Despite this, the poet continues to strive, driven by a desire to create something beautiful and timeless.

Yeats also acknowledges the fleeting nature of poetry. He says that poetry "passes like a moonlit dream" and that its beauty is fragile and ephemeral. But even as he acknowledges the transience of poetry, he also affirms its enduring power. The beauty of poetry may be fleeting, but its impact on the human soul can be profound and lasting.

The Role of the Imagination

Another important theme in "Poetry, Her Triumph" is the role of the imagination in the creative process. Yeats says that the poet's "imagination comes to form" and that it is through the power of imagination that poetry is created. The imagination, according to Yeats, is a force that can transcend the limitations of the physical world and allow us to access the realm of the divine.

Yeats also underscores the importance of imagination in the reader's experience of poetry. He says that the reader must "dream" and "imagine" in order to fully appreciate the beauty of poetry. The reader must be willing to enter into the imaginative world of the poem and allow it to evoke powerful emotions and stir the soul.

Literary Devices

"Poetry, Her Triumph" is a poem rich in literary devices. One of the most prominent devices is metaphor. The woman wearing the laurel wreath represents poetry, and the star shining in the sky is a metaphor for the beauty and brilliance of poetry. The poet's struggle to create is also metaphorical, representing the struggle of all artists to bring their creations into being.

Another important literary device in this poem is repetition. The phrase "Poetry, her triumph" is repeated several times throughout the poem, underscoring the central theme of the poem. Repetition also creates a sense of rhythm and musicality in the poem, adding to its beauty and power.


"Poetry, Her Triumph" is a masterpiece of modern poetry, celebrating the power and beauty of poetry while acknowledging the struggles that poets face in their quest to create great works of art. Yeats uses rich metaphors and repetition to create a sense of beauty and rhythm in the poem, and his themes of imagination and the fleeting nature of poetry resonate deeply with readers. This poem is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to touch the human soul and inspire us to transcend our earthly existence.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry is a powerful tool that has the ability to evoke emotions, inspire change, and capture the essence of the human experience. William Butler Yeats, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, understood this power and used it to great effect in his poem "Her Triumph." In this analysis, we will explore the themes, imagery, and language used in this classic poem and examine how Yeats uses poetry to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit.

At its core, "Her Triumph" is a poem about the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and achieve greatness. The poem is written in the form of a dialogue between the poet and a woman who has achieved great success in her life. The woman is described as having "triumphed" over the challenges she has faced, and the poet is in awe of her strength and resilience.

The poem begins with the poet asking the woman how she achieved her success. She responds by saying that she "sang beyond the genius of the sea," which is a metaphor for her ability to rise above the limitations of her circumstances and achieve greatness. The sea is often used as a symbol of the vastness and unpredictability of life, and the fact that the woman was able to sing beyond its genius is a testament to her strength and determination.

Throughout the poem, Yeats uses vivid imagery to convey the woman's triumph. He describes her as having "climbed the difficult stair" and "trodden the mazy way," which are both metaphors for the challenges she has faced in her life. The fact that she was able to climb the difficult stair and navigate the mazy way is a testament to her perseverance and resilience.

Yeats also uses language to convey the woman's triumph. He describes her as having "found the miracle, wrought the miracle," which is a metaphor for her ability to create something extraordinary out of the ordinary. The fact that she was able to find and create miracles is a testament to her creativity and resourcefulness.

One of the most striking aspects of "Her Triumph" is the way in which Yeats celebrates the woman's triumph. He describes her as having "triumphed" over her challenges, and he uses language and imagery to convey the sense of joy and excitement that comes with overcoming adversity. The poem is a celebration of the human spirit and the power of poetry to capture the essence of that spirit.

In conclusion, "Her Triumph" is a powerful poem that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Yeats uses vivid imagery and language to convey the woman's strength and resilience, and he celebrates her triumph with a sense of joy and excitement. The poem is a testament to the power of poetry to capture the essence of the human experience and inspire us to achieve greatness.

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