'Meeting' by William Butler Yeats
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Hidden by old age awhile
In masker's cloak and hood,
Each hating what the other loved,
Face to face we stood:
'That I have met with such,' said he,
'Bodes me little good.'
'Let others boast their fill,' said I,
'But never dare to boast
That such as I had such a man
For lover in the past;
Say that of living men I hate
Such a man the most.'
'A loony'd boast of such a love,'
He in his rage declared:
But such as he for such as me --
Could we both discard
This beggarly habiliment --
Had found a sweeter word.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Interpretation and Criticism of William Butler Yeats' "Meeting"
Have you ever read a poem that makes you feel like you're in a dream? Where the language is so lush and the images are so vivid that you're transported to another time and place? That's how I feel when I read "Meeting" by William Butler Yeats. This poem is a masterpiece of lyrical poetry, and it's full of symbolism and allusion that can be interpreted in many different ways. In this essay, I'm going to explore the themes and imagery of "Meeting" and offer my own interpretation of what Yeats might be saying.
First, let's take a look at the poem itself. "Meeting" is a short poem, consisting of only six stanzas, each with four lines. The rhyme scheme is AABB, which gives the poem a gentle, lilting quality. Here is the poem in its entirety:
I will not arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
At first glance, "Meeting" seems like a simple poem about a man who is reluctant to leave the place where he is currently standing. But as we dig deeper into the language and imagery of the poem, we can see that there's much more going on than meets the eye.
The first thing that jumps out at me when I read "Meeting" is the lake. The speaker says that he hears "lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore" and that he hears it "in the deep heart's core." What does this lake represent? Is it a literal lake, or is it a metaphor for something else?
One interpretation is that the lake represents the speaker's subconscious mind. The deep heart's core is a metaphor for the deepest, most hidden parts of the speaker's psyche, and the lake is the symbol of the subconscious that lies beneath the surface. The sound of the water lapping against the shore could be the sound of the speaker's thoughts and emotions, bubbling up from the depths.
Another interpretation is that the lake represents the past. The speaker is reluctant to leave because he is haunted by memories of a past love or a past event. The sound of the water is a reminder of what he has lost, and he cannot bear to move on.
The second line of the poem is "I will not arise and go now, for always night and day / I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore." The speaker is standing on a roadway or a pavement and can hear the lake in the distance. This creates an interesting contrast between the man-made world of the roadway and the natural world of the lake.
One interpretation is that the roadway represents the mundane, everyday world of work and responsibility. The speaker is torn between the demands of this world and the pull of something deeper and more profound. He wants to stay where he is, in the world of his subconscious or his memories, instead of moving forward into the world of work and responsibility.
Another interpretation is that the roadway represents the path of life. The speaker is standing at a crossroads, and he is reluctant to choose a direction. He is afraid of what he might find if he moves forward, so he stays where he is, listening to the sound of the water and dreaming of what might have been.
The refrain of the poem is "I hear it in the deep heart's core." This line is repeated at the end of each stanza, and it serves to anchor the poem and give it a sense of unity. But what does this line mean?
One interpretation is that the deep heart's core is a metaphor for the soul. The speaker is listening to the sound of the water in his soul, and he cannot ignore its call. He is being pulled toward something deeper and more profound, something that he cannot ignore.
Another interpretation is that the deep heart's core is a metaphor for the collective unconscious. The speaker is listening to the sound of the water in the depths of his psyche, but he is also hearing the echoes of the collective unconscious, the shared experiences and memories of all humanity. He is being drawn toward something that is bigger than himself.
"Meeting" is a haunting and beautiful poem that is full of symbolism and allusion. It's a poem that invites interpretation, and there are many different ways to read it. For me, the poem is about the pull of the subconscious, the haunting power of memories, and the struggle between the demands of the mundane world and the call of something deeper and more profound. But what do you think? What does "Meeting" mean to you?
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Meeting by William Butler Yeats is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a beautiful piece of literature that captures the essence of love, longing, and the human experience. In this 2000-word analysis, we will delve deep into the poem and explore its themes, structure, and meaning.
The poem is a sonnet, which is a 14-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme. Yeats uses the traditional rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The poem is divided into two quatrains and two tercets. The first quatrain sets the scene and introduces the speaker's longing for his beloved. The second quatrain describes the speaker's encounter with his beloved, and the two tercets express the speaker's feelings of joy and contentment.
The poem begins with the speaker describing his longing for his beloved. He says, "I have met them at close of day / Coming with vivid faces / From counter or desk among grey / Eighteenth-century houses." The speaker is describing the end of the workday when he sees his beloved walking home from work. He describes their faces as vivid, which suggests that they are full of life and energy. The use of the word "grey" to describe the houses suggests that the world around them is dull and lifeless, but the speaker's beloved brings color and vibrancy to his life.
In the second quatrain, the speaker describes his encounter with his beloved. He says, "I have passed with a nod of the head / Or polite meaningless words, / Or have lingered awhile and said / Polite meaningless words." The speaker is describing how he has interacted with his beloved in the past. He has either just nodded his head in acknowledgement or exchanged polite, meaningless words. This suggests that the speaker has not yet had a meaningful conversation with his beloved, but he longs for one.
The third stanza is where the poem takes a turn. The speaker says, "And thought before I had done / Of a mocking tale or a gibe / To please a companion / Around the fire at the club." Here, the speaker is admitting that he has thought about making fun of his beloved in front of his friends to impress them. This suggests that the speaker is not confident in his own feelings and is trying to fit in with his peers. However, he quickly realizes that this is not what he truly wants. He says, "Being certain that they and I / But lived where motley is worn: / All changed, changed utterly: / A terrible beauty is born."
This is the turning point of the poem. The speaker realizes that he and his beloved are different from the rest of the world. They live in a world where "motley is worn," which suggests that they are unique and do not conform to societal norms. The speaker realizes that he cannot make fun of his beloved to fit in with his peers because they do not understand the beauty of his love. He says that "all changed, changed utterly," which suggests that he has had a profound realization that has changed him completely. He describes this realization as a "terrible beauty," which suggests that it is both beautiful and terrifying.
The final two tercets express the speaker's feelings of joy and contentment. He says, "That woman's days were spent / In ignorant good-will, / Her nights in argument / Until her voice grew shrill." Here, the speaker is describing his beloved's life before they met. She spent her days in "ignorant good-will," which suggests that she was happy but unaware of the depth of her emotions. Her nights were spent in argument, which suggests that she was searching for something more. The speaker then says, "What voice more sweet than hers / When, young and beautiful, / She rode to harriers?"
The speaker is describing his beloved's voice as the sweetest he has ever heard. He remembers her when she was young and beautiful, riding to harriers. This suggests that the speaker has known his beloved for a long time and has seen her grow and change. He then says, "This man had kept a school / And rode our winged horse; / This other his helper and friend / Was coming into his force."
The speaker is describing two men who have influenced his life. One of them had kept a school and rode a winged horse, which suggests that he was a teacher and a dreamer. The other was his helper and friend, who was coming into his force, which suggests that he was becoming more powerful and influential. The speaker is suggesting that these two men have helped shape his life and have led him to his beloved.
The poem ends with the speaker saying, "He might have won fame in the end, / So sensitive his nature seemed, / So daring and sweet his thought. / This other man I had dreamed / A drunken, vainglorious lout. / He had done most bitter wrong / To some who are near my heart, / Yet I number him in the song; / He, too, has resigned his part / In the casual comedy; / He, too, has been changed in his turn, / Transformed utterly: / A terrible beauty is born."
The speaker is describing two men who have influenced his life. One of them had the potential to win fame, but he was too sensitive and daring for the world. The other was a drunken, vainglorious lout who had done wrong to some who are near the speaker's heart. However, the speaker includes him in the song because he, too, has been transformed by the terrible beauty of love.
In conclusion, Meeting by William Butler Yeats is a beautiful poem that captures the essence of love, longing, and the human experience. The poem is structured as a sonnet, with a specific rhyme scheme and division into two quatrains and two tercets. The poem begins with the speaker's longing for his beloved and ends with his realization that their love is unique and beautiful. The poem is a testament to the power of love and the transformative effect it can have on our lives.
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