'A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness' by William Butler Yeats
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The Tower1928O bid me mount and sail up there
Amid the cloudy wrack,
For peg and Meg and Paris' love
That had so straight a back,
Are gone away, and some that stay
Have changed their silk for sack.Were I but there and none to hear
I'd have a peacock cry,
For that is natural to a man
That lives in memory,
Being all alone I'd nurse a stone
And sing it lullaby.
Editor 1 Interpretation
William Butler Yeats' "A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness"
William Butler Yeats' "A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness" is a deeply introspective poem that explores the nature of wildness and how it fits into the greater human experience. The poem is one of several in Yeats' "A Man Young And Old" series, which follows the life of a fictional character named Michael Robartes as he ages and reflects on his past.
At its core, "His Wildness" is a meditation on the tension between the civilized self and the primal self. Yeats uses vivid imagery and rich, musical language to convey the sense of conflict between these two parts of the human psyche. The poem is divided into four stanzas, each of which builds on the previous one to create a layered, nuanced portrait of Robartes' inner life.
Stanza One: The Wildness Within
The poem begins with an evocative description of Robartes' wildness. Yeats writes:
He had that passionate wandering imagination Which is found in the heart of all wild creatures Who have not learnt how to keep themselves Within limits, but are always living on the edge Of the unknown.
This is a powerful opening that sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Yeats presents Robartes' wildness as something innate and primal, something that cannot be tamed or controlled. The language here is rich and musical, with a strong emphasis on alliteration and internal rhyme. This gives the poem a sense of energy and vitality, reflecting the wildness that Yeats is describing.
Stanza Two: The Pull of Civilization
The second stanza shifts the focus to the pull of civilization on Robartes. Yeats writes:
But he had gathered into his hands The various delicate balance of truth and beauty, Of old and young, careless and wise.
Here, Yeats presents the idea that Robartes has learned to balance his wildness with the demands of civilization. The language is more subdued than in the previous stanza, reflecting the sense of control and discipline that Robartes has developed. However, there is also a sense of tension in this stanza, as if Robartes is struggling to maintain this delicate balance.
Stanza Three: The Temptation of the Wild
The third stanza explores the temptation of the wild. Yeats writes:
And now he eyed the world with a faint hostility, For he remembered that the old wisdom Had brought him nothing but a dreamy joy, That only the young and strong could break away From the darkness and the crowd of ignorant man.
Here, Yeats presents the idea that Robartes is tempted to give in to his wildness and break away from the demands of civilization. The language here is more forceful, with a sense of urgency and intensity. Yeats uses repetition and strong imagery to convey the sense of temptation that Robartes is feeling.
Stanza Four: The Resilience of the Self
The final stanza of the poem brings all of these themes together. Yeats writes:
But the man who has not the habit of eternity Cannot live in the moment's triumph. He is always prophesying at random, And making ready his life for a larger hope.
Here, Yeats suggests that Robartes' wildness is ultimately a part of his larger self, a self that is capable of enduring through time and space. The language here is more complex and philosophical, with a sense of meditative reflection. Yeats uses metaphor and imagery to suggest that Robartes' wildness is a part of his larger identity, and that he must learn to accept it and integrate it into his life.
Overall, "A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores some of the most fundamental questions about human nature. Through vivid imagery, rich language, and complex themes, Yeats presents a nuanced portrait of a man struggling to reconcile his primal self with the demands of civilization. The poem is a testament to Yeats' skill as a poet and his ability to delve into the deepest complexities of the human psyche.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness by William Butler Yeats is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the theme of wildness and the human desire for freedom. In this 2000-word analysis, we will delve deep into the poem, examining its structure, language, and themes to gain a better understanding of Yeats' message.
The poem is part of a larger collection of poems titled A Man Young And Old, which was published in 1928. The collection is a reflection on Yeats' own life and experiences, and it explores themes such as aging, mortality, and the search for meaning in life. In this particular poem, Yeats focuses on the idea of wildness and the primal urge that lies within all of us.
The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with four lines. The first stanza sets the tone for the poem, with Yeats describing the wildness that lies within us all. He writes, "My fiftieth year had come and gone, / I sat, a solitary man, / In a crowded London shop, / An open book and empty cup."
The use of the first-person perspective in this stanza is significant, as it allows the reader to connect with the speaker on a personal level. Yeats is not simply describing an abstract concept; he is sharing his own experiences and emotions with the reader. The image of the "crowded London shop" is also significant, as it highlights the contrast between the speaker's inner world and the busy, chaotic world around him.
The second stanza continues the theme of wildness, with Yeats describing the "beast" that lies within us all. He writes, "On the pavement grey / I watch the moon's sad citadel / Turret by turret lighted up, / With music and the night."
The use of the word "beast" is significant, as it suggests that the primal urge within us is not something to be tamed or controlled, but rather something that must be acknowledged and embraced. The image of the moon's "sad citadel" is also significant, as it suggests that even in the midst of our wildness, there is a sense of melancholy and longing.
The third and final stanza brings the poem to a powerful conclusion, with Yeats describing the moment when he finally embraces his wildness. He writes, "I thought of a friend and all his wisdom's ways, / And how, though he had died, / Kindness of the marrow, / Singing-room, and sun-lit days."
The use of the word "friend" is significant, as it suggests that the speaker has found a sense of connection and community in his wildness. The image of "singing-room, and sun-lit days" is also significant, as it suggests that even in the midst of our wildness, there is a sense of joy and beauty.
Overall, Poetry A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the theme of wildness and the human desire for freedom. Through its use of vivid imagery and personal reflection, the poem invites the reader to embrace their own wildness and to find a sense of connection and community in the midst of it all.
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