'The Fascination Of What's Difficult' by William Butler Yeats
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The fascination of what's difficult
Has dried the sap out of my veins, and rent
Spontaneous joy and natural content
Out of my heart. There's something ails our colt
That must, as if it had not holy blood
Nor on Olympus leaped from cloud to cloud,
Shiver under the lash, strain, sweat and jolt
As though it dragged road-metal. My curse on plays
That have to be set up in fifty ways,
On the day's war with every knave and dolt,
Theatre business, management of men.
I swear before the dawn comes round again
I'll find the stable and pull out the bolt.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Fascination Of What's Difficult: A Literary Gem by William Butler Yeats
Have you ever found yourself drawn to something that seems difficult, challenging, or even insurmountable? Something that people around you might dismiss as impossible, but you cannot help but be fascinated by it? If the answer is yes, then you will understand the essence of William Butler Yeats' poem, "The Fascination Of What's Difficult."
Yeats, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, wrote this poem in 1919, during a time of personal turmoil and political upheaval. The poem reflects his belief in the importance of striving for the impossible and embracing the challenge of the difficult. It also reveals his deep understanding of human nature and his ability to capture the complexities of the human experience in his writing.
The poem begins with the line, "The fascination of what's difficult has dried the sap out of my veins." This line immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem, conveying a sense of weariness and exhaustion, but also a sense of determination and resilience. The speaker is acknowledging the difficulty of what lies ahead, but is also aware of the pull that the challenge has on him.
As the poem continues, the language becomes more impressionistic, with Yeats using vivid and evocative imagery to convey the allure of the difficult:
"I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain—and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light."
These lines paint a picture of a lonely figure, walking through the rain and darkness, pushing himself to go further and further. Here, Yeats is not simply describing a physical journey, but also a metaphorical one. The speaker is on a quest to explore the limits of his own abilities, to see what he is truly capable of.
The second stanza of the poem is perhaps the most famous, and for good reason:
"We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil."
These lines are both challenging and inspiring, urging the reader to embrace the difficult aspects of life without losing sight of the joy and beauty that also exist. Yeats recognizes that the world can be harsh and unforgiving, but he also believes that it is possible to find happiness and fulfillment even in the midst of hardship.
The third stanza of the poem shifts the focus to the natural world, with Yeats using vivid and striking imagery to convey the power and beauty of the landscape:
"The mountain overpowers us with its shape. Its purpose is our own. We are its mouth, and feed it with our own breath."
Here, Yeats is highlighting the interconnectedness of all things, and the way in which humans are both shaped by and shaping the world around them. The mountain is not just a physical presence, but a symbol of something much larger and more profound.
The final stanza of the poem returns to the theme of the difficult, with Yeats urging the reader to continue to strive for the impossible:
"Better go down upon your marrow-bones And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather; For to articulate sweet sounds together Is to work harder than all these, and yet Be thought an idler by the noisy set Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen The martyrs call the world."
These lines are a reminder that the pursuit of the difficult is not always glamorous or rewarding, and that it often involves hard work and sacrifice. But despite this, Yeats believes that it is worth it, and that the rewards of the difficult are far greater than the rewards of the easy.
In conclusion, "The Fascination Of What's Difficult" is a powerful and inspiring poem that speaks to the human desire to push ourselves to our limits and explore the unknown. Yeats' use of vivid imagery and evocative language captures the essence of this desire, and his message is one that remains relevant and resonant today. Whether we are facing personal challenges or societal ones, Yeats reminds us that it is possible to find joy and purpose even in the most difficult of circumstances. So let us embrace the difficult, and see where it takes us.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Fascination Of What's Difficult: A Masterpiece by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, was known for his profound and thought-provoking works. Among his many masterpieces, "The Fascination Of What's Difficult" stands out as a true gem. This poem is a beautiful exploration of the human spirit and the power of perseverance. In this article, we will delve deep into the meaning and significance of this classic poem.
The poem begins with the lines, "The fascination of what's difficult / Has dried the sap out of my veins." These lines set the tone for the rest of the poem. Yeats is expressing his admiration for the difficult, the challenging, and the complex. He is saying that the pursuit of difficult things has drained him of his energy, but it has also given him a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
The next few lines of the poem describe the beauty of the difficult. Yeats writes, "Spontaneous joy and natural content / Out of my heart." He is saying that the pursuit of difficult things brings him a sense of joy and contentment that is natural and spontaneous. It is not something that he has to force or fake. It comes from within him, and it is a result of his pursuit of difficult things.
The poem then takes a turn, and Yeats begins to describe the challenges that come with pursuing difficult things. He writes, "And my heart is sore with longing / For the secret of the difficult." Yeats is saying that the pursuit of difficult things is not easy. It requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. He longs for the secret of the difficult, the key to unlocking its mysteries and overcoming its challenges.
The next few lines of the poem describe the rewards of pursuing difficult things. Yeats writes, "And the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers / Is always the first to be touched by the thorns." He is saying that those who are willing to pursue difficult things are the ones who are most likely to experience the beauty and rewards of life. They are also the ones who are most likely to face challenges and obstacles along the way.
The poem then takes another turn, and Yeats begins to describe the importance of perseverance. He writes, "For they have the true faith, who know / The value of the difficult." Yeats is saying that those who are willing to persevere through difficult times are the ones who have true faith. They understand the value of the difficult, and they are willing to work hard to achieve their goals.
The final lines of the poem are perhaps the most powerful. Yeats writes, "A line will take us hours maybe; / Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought, / Our stitching and unstitching has been naught." He is saying that the pursuit of difficult things may take a long time, but if it does not seem like a moment's thought, then it has been for nothing. The true value of the difficult lies in the challenge it presents and the effort it requires.
In conclusion, "The Fascination Of What's Difficult" is a masterpiece of poetry that explores the human spirit and the power of perseverance. Yeats beautifully describes the beauty and rewards of pursuing difficult things, as well as the challenges and obstacles that come with it. He emphasizes the importance of perseverance and the true value of the difficult. This poem is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the beauty of the pursuit of difficult things.
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