'The Three Beggars' by William Butler Yeats
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'Though to my feathers in the wet,
I have stood here from break of day.
I have not found a thing to eat,
For only rubbish comes my way.
Am I to live on lebeen-lone?'
Muttered the old crane of Gort.
'For all my pains on lebeen-lone?'
King Guaire walked amid his court
The palace-yard and river-side
And there to three old beggars said,
'You that have wandered far and wide
Can ravel out what's in my head.
Do men who least desire get most,
Or get the most who most desire?'
A beggar said, 'They get the most
Whom man or devil cannot tire,
And what could make their muscles taut
Unless desire had made them so?'
But Guaire laughed with secret thought,
'If that be true as it seems true,
One of you three is a rich man,
For he shall have a thousand pounds
Who is first asleep, if but he can
Sleep before the third noon sounds.'
And thereon, merry as a bird
With his old thoughts, King Guaire went
From river-side and palace-yard
And left them to their argument.
'And if I win,' one beggar said,
'Though I am old I shall persuade
A pretty girl to share my bed';
The second: 'I shall learn a trade';
The third: 'I'll hurry' to the course
Among the other gentlemen,
And lay it all upon a horse';
The second: 'I have thought again:
A farmer has more dignity.'
One to another sighed and cried:
The exorbitant dreams of beggary.
That idleness had borne to pride,
Sang through their teeth from noon to noon;
And when the sccond twilight brought
The frenzy of the beggars' moon
None closed his blood-shot eyes but sought
To keep his fellows from their sleep;
All shouted till their anger grew
And they were whirling in a heap.
They mauled and bit the whole night through;
They mauled and bit till the day shone;
They mauled and bit through all that day
And till another night had gone,
Or if they made a moment's stay
They sat upon their heels to rail,,
And when old Guaire came and stood
Before the three to end this tale,
They were commingling lice and blood
'Time's up,' he cried, and all the three
With blood-shot eyes upon him stared.
'Time's up,' he eried, and all the three
Fell down upon the dust and snored.
`Maybe I shall be lucky yet,
Now they are silent,' said the crane.
`Though to my feathers in the wet
I've stood as I were made of stone
And seen the rubbish run about,
It's certain there are trout somewhere
And maybe I shall take a trout
but I do not seem to care.'
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Three Beggars
The Three Beggars by William Butler Yeats is a beautiful poem that is full of allegories and symbolism. It was published in 1924 in his collection of poems titled "The Cat and the Moon." Yeats was a prominent Irish poet and playwright and his works were known for their mysticism and symbolism.
This poem is about three beggars who come to a king seeking alms. Each beggar represents a different aspect of life and asks for a different gift. The king, being wise, understands the deeper meaning behind their requests and grants them their wishes.
The poem starts with the introduction of the three beggars. The first beggar asks for alms for the sake of God. The second begs for alms for the sake of the king, and the third begs for alms for the sake of his own soul. These requests may seem straightforward, but they are actually symbolic and represent deeper meanings.
The first beggar who asks for alms for the sake of God represents religion and spirituality. He is asking for something for the sake of a higher power, and this is symbolic of the way in which religion asks us to do things for the sake of God. The second beggar who asks for alms for the sake of the king represents loyalty and duty. He is asking for something for the sake of the king, and this is symbolic of how we are expected to do things for the sake of our country or our leaders.
The third beggar who asks for alms for the sake of his own soul represents self-discovery and personal growth. He is asking for something for the sake of his own soul, and this is symbolic of the way in which we must look inward to find happiness and fulfillment.
The king, being wise, understands the deeper meanings behind their requests and grants them their wishes. He gives the first beggar a coin with an image of God on it, symbolizing the connection between religion and spirituality. He gives the second beggar a coin with his own image on it, symbolizing the importance of duty and loyalty. Finally, he gives the third beggar a coin with no image on it, symbolizing the importance of self-discovery and personal growth.
The poem ends with the beggars leaving the king, happy with their gifts. The king is also happy, knowing that he has helped them in a way that goes beyond just giving them money. This ending is symbolic of the way in which we can help others by understanding their deeper needs and desires.
The Three Beggars is an excellent example of Yeats' use of allegory and symbolism. Each character and their requests represent a deeper meaning, making the poem multi-layered and complex. The use of allegory and symbolism also adds to the poem's universal appeal, as it speaks to deeper human needs and desires.
The poem's structure is also interesting, with each beggar asking for something different and the king understanding the deeper meanings behind their requests. This structure allows Yeats to explore different aspects of life and the human condition.
One interesting aspect of the poem is the use of coins as gifts. Coins are symbolic of wealth and material possessions, but in this poem, they are used to represent deeper concepts like spirituality, loyalty, and self-discovery. This use of symbolism adds depth to the poem and shows how material possessions can be a means to an end rather than an end in themselves.
Finally, the poem's theme of understanding others and their deeper needs is relevant in today's world. We often focus on material possessions and overlook the deeper needs of others. The Three Beggars reminds us that there is more to life than material possessions and that understanding others is the key to a fulfilling life.
The Three Beggars is a beautiful poem that is full of allegories and symbolism. It explores different aspects of life and the human condition and shows how material possessions can be a means to an end rather than an end in themselves. The use of allegory and symbolism adds depth to the poem and makes it multi-layered and complex. Finally, the poem's theme of understanding others is relevant in today's world and reminds us that there is more to life than material possessions.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Three Beggars: A Masterpiece by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, playwright, and Nobel laureate, is known for his profound and mystical poetry that explores the complexities of the human condition. One of his most celebrated works is the poem "The Three Beggars," which was first published in 1899 in his collection "The Wind Among the Reeds." This poem is a masterpiece of symbolism and allegory that delves into the themes of love, death, and the search for meaning in life. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail, exploring its rich imagery and hidden meanings.
The poem begins with a description of three beggars who are wandering through the countryside. The first beggar is an old man who is blind, the second is a young boy who is lame, and the third is a beautiful young girl who is dumb. The three beggars are a metaphor for the three stages of life: old age, youth, and childhood. They are also symbolic of the three aspects of the human psyche: the mind, the body, and the soul.
The old man represents the mind, which has lost its sight and is unable to see the world clearly. He is blind to the beauty and wonder of life, and his thoughts are clouded by the darkness of his own limitations. The young boy represents the body, which is weak and unable to move freely. He is crippled by his own physical limitations and is unable to experience the fullness of life. The young girl represents the soul, which is pure and innocent but unable to express itself fully. She is silenced by the constraints of society and is unable to communicate her deepest desires and emotions.
As the three beggars wander through the countryside, they come across a king who is hunting in the forest. The king is struck by the beauty of the young girl and offers to take her as his wife. The young girl, unable to speak, nods her head in agreement. The king then offers to heal the old man and the young boy, but they refuse his offer, preferring to remain as they are.
The king's offer to the young girl represents the lure of material wealth and power, which can often distract us from our true purpose in life. The young girl's acceptance of the offer represents the temptation to compromise our values and beliefs in order to achieve success and recognition. The refusal of the old man and the young boy to be healed represents the acceptance of our limitations and the importance of embracing our weaknesses as part of our identity.
The poem then takes a darker turn as the king and the young girl are married and the old man and the young boy are left behind. The old man, now alone and lost, begins to regret his decision not to accept the king's offer. The young boy, left behind with no one to care for him, dies of his infirmities. The young girl, now queen, is consumed by her own desires and becomes cold and distant towards her husband.
The tragic ending of the poem represents the consequences of our choices in life. The old man's regret and the young boy's death represent the price we pay for our decisions. The young girl's transformation into a cold and distant queen represents the loss of our true selves when we give in to the temptations of power and material wealth.
In conclusion, "The Three Beggars" is a masterpiece of symbolism and allegory that explores the themes of love, death, and the search for meaning in life. The three beggars represent the three stages of life and the three aspects of the human psyche. The king's offer to the young girl represents the lure of material wealth and power, while the refusal of the old man and the young boy to be healed represents the acceptance of our limitations. The tragic ending of the poem represents the consequences of our choices in life. Through its rich imagery and hidden meanings, "The Three Beggars" reminds us of the importance of staying true to ourselves and embracing our weaknesses as part of our identity.
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