'The Lady's Second Song' by William Butler Yeats
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What sort of man is coming
To lie between your feet?
What matter, we are but women.
Wash; make your body sweet;
I have cupboards of dried fragrance.
I can strew the sheet.
The Lord have mercy upon us.
He shall love my soul as though
Body were not at all,
He shall love your body
Untroubled by the soul,
Love cram love's two divisions
Yet keep his substance whole.
The Lord have mercy upon us.
Soul must learn a love that is
proper to my breast,
Limbs a Love in common
With every noble beast.
If soul may look and body touch,
Which is the more blest?
The Lord have mercy upon us.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Lady's Second Song by W.B. Yeats
Oh, the beauty of Yeats' poetry! It never ceases to amaze me how one man's words can evoke such powerful emotions and create vivid imagery that lingers in the mind long after the poem has been read. The Lady's Second Song is no exception, and in this literary criticism and interpretation, I'll delve deeper into the meaning and significance of this classic poem.
Form and Structure
Firstly, let's take a look at the form and structure of the poem. The Lady's Second Song consists of three stanzas, each with six lines, and follows a regular ABABCC rhyme scheme. This structure gives the poem a sense of symmetry and balance, which is appropriate considering the theme of the poem - the balance between love and duty.
Furthermore, Yeats uses enjambment throughout the poem, which means that the lines flow into each other without a pause or break. This technique creates a sense of fluidity and movement, almost as if the words are dancing off the page. It's also worth noting that the poem is written in iambic pentameter, which gives it a rhythmic and musical quality when read aloud.
The Lady's Second Song explores several themes, the most prominent of which is the conflict between love and duty. The Lady's lover has asked her to leave her responsibilities behind and run away with him, but she's torn between her love for him and her duty to her family and her home. This theme is universal and timeless, and one that many readers can relate to.
The poem also touches on the theme of nature and its relationship with human emotions. The Lady describes the natural world around her, from the "pale purple glens" to the "shimmering blaze" of the stars. These descriptions are not only beautiful, but they also serve to highlight the contrast between the wild, untamed nature of the world and the constraints of human society.
Finally, the poem touches on the theme of loss and regret. The Lady knows that if she leaves with her lover, she'll be leaving behind everything she's ever known and loved. She'll be giving up her home, her family, and everything she's ever worked for. This sense of loss and regret is palpable in the final stanza, where the Lady laments "the long dim hair / Athwart the dimness of her brow / As if it were not hair."
One of the most striking features of The Lady's Second Song is its vivid and evocative imagery. Yeats uses rich, descriptive language to paint a picture of the world around the Lady and to convey the emotions that she's feeling.
For example, in the first stanza, Yeats describes the Lady's surroundings as "pale purple glens / Where the bright stars' aery beams / Are woven into the woof of dreams." This description not only creates a beautiful image in the reader's mind but also hints at the Lady's conflicted emotions. The "woof of dreams" suggests that the Lady's desire to be with her lover is a fleeting, ephemeral thing, woven into the fabric of her imagination rather than grounded in reality.
Similarly, in the second stanza, Yeats describes the Lady's lover as a "young man / With your face like a flame." This image is powerful and striking, suggesting both the intensity of the Lady's love for her lover and the danger that this love poses to her. The flame imagery also hints at the destructive potential of passion, which can consume and destroy as easily as it can create.
Tone and Mood
The tone of The Lady's Second Song is melancholic and wistful, reflecting the Lady's conflicted emotions. She loves her lover and longs to be with him, but she also knows that leaving everything behind would come at a great cost. This sense of melancholy is heightened by the poem's use of natural imagery, which suggests that the Lady is at odds with the world around her.
The mood of the poem is also reflective and contemplative. The Lady is not rushing headlong into her decision but is instead taking the time to weigh up her options and consider the consequences of her actions. This sense of reflection is particularly evident in the final stanza, where the Lady seems to be looking back on her life and regretting the path she didn't take.
In conclusion, The Lady's Second Song is a beautiful and evocative poem that explores the timeless themes of love, duty, nature, and regret. Yeats' use of vivid imagery, rhythmic language, and reflective tone creates a powerful and poignant portrait of a woman torn between her heart and her head. It's no wonder that this poem has stood the test of time and continues to resonate with readers today. So, if you're looking for a poem that will transport you to another world and touch your heart, look no further than The Lady's Second Song.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Lady's Second Song: A Poem of Love and Longing
William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, wrote The Lady's Second Song, a poem that captures the essence of love and longing. The poem is a beautiful expression of the human heart's desire for love and companionship, and it resonates with readers of all ages and backgrounds. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem's themes, structure, and language, and explore its relevance to contemporary readers.
The Lady's Second Song is a poem about a woman who is waiting for her lover to return. The poem is divided into two stanzas, each with four lines. The first stanza sets the scene, describing the woman's surroundings and her state of mind. The second stanza expresses her longing for her lover and her hope that he will return to her.
The poem's first stanza begins with a description of the woman's surroundings. She is sitting by the river, listening to the sound of the water flowing by. The river is a symbol of time and change, and it suggests that the woman is waiting for something to happen. The second line of the stanza describes the woman's state of mind. She is "weeping and wailing," suggesting that she is in a state of emotional turmoil. The third line of the stanza describes the woman's physical appearance. She is "pale as a lily," suggesting that she is frail and delicate. The fourth line of the stanza describes the woman's dress. She is wearing a "snow-white cloak," suggesting that she is pure and innocent.
The second stanza of the poem expresses the woman's longing for her lover and her hope that he will return to her. The first line of the stanza begins with a repetition of the first line of the first stanza, "Weeping and wailing." This repetition emphasizes the woman's emotional state and suggests that she is still waiting for her lover to return. The second line of the stanza expresses the woman's longing for her lover. She says, "O where have you been, my love?" This line suggests that the woman is desperate to be reunited with her lover and that she has been waiting for him for a long time. The third line of the stanza expresses the woman's hope that her lover will return to her. She says, "I've waited long for thee." This line suggests that the woman has faith in her lover and that she believes he will return to her. The fourth line of the stanza expresses the woman's desire to be reunited with her lover. She says, "I'll wait no more for thee." This line suggests that the woman is tired of waiting and that she is ready to take action to be reunited with her lover.
The Lady's Second Song is a poem about love and longing, but it is also a poem about the human condition. The poem suggests that all human beings have a deep desire for love and companionship, and that this desire can sometimes lead to emotional turmoil. The poem also suggests that faith and hope are important qualities that can help us to overcome our emotional struggles and find happiness.
The poem's language is simple and direct, but it is also rich in symbolism and metaphor. The river, for example, is a symbol of time and change, while the woman's dress is a symbol of purity and innocence. The repetition of the phrase "Weeping and wailing" emphasizes the woman's emotional state and creates a sense of urgency in the poem. The use of the word "thee" instead of "you" adds a sense of formality and old-fashioned charm to the poem.
The Lady's Second Song is a timeless poem that speaks to readers of all ages and backgrounds. Its themes of love and longing are universal, and its language is both simple and rich in symbolism. The poem reminds us that the human heart is capable of great love and great pain, but that faith and hope can help us to overcome our emotional struggles and find happiness. As we read this beautiful poem, we are reminded of the power of love and the importance of never giving up hope.
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