'Two Years Later' by William Butler Yeats
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Has no one said those daring
Kind eyes should be more learn'd?
Or warned you how despairing
The moths are when they are burned?
I could have warned you; but you are young,
So we speak a different tongue.
O you will take whatever's offered
And dream that all the world's a friend,
Suffer as your mother suffered,
Be as broken in the end.
But I am old and you are young,
And I speak a barbarous tongue.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Two Years Later: A Masterpiece by William Butler Yeats
When it comes to literature, few poets can match the brilliance of William Butler Yeats. His poetic style is unique, his imagery is vivid, and his themes are timeless. In this article, we will delve deep into one of Yeats’ most celebrated poems – Two Years Later.
Two Years Later was written by Yeats in 1916, and it was published in his collection of poems, The Wild Swans at Coole. The poem is a reflection on the passage of time and how it affects our emotions and memories.
The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which has six lines. The rhyme scheme is AABCCB. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which is a common meter in English poetry.
The first stanza of the poem sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Yeats writes, “Has no one said those daring/ Kind eyes should be more learn’d?” Here, he is referring to a woman who is intelligent and kind. However, Yeats is suggesting that she should be more “learned,” or educated.
This stanza is significant because it sets up the theme of the poem – the passage of time and how it affects our memories. Yeats is suggesting that as time passes, even our memories of people change. In this case, the woman in question was once seen as kind, but now she is seen as lacking in education.
The second stanza of the poem is where Yeats really starts to explore the theme of time. He writes, “Grown all unkind/ They shake their pretty heads/ Those gentle archaic women/ And their sons’ ungrateful beds.” Here, Yeats is suggesting that as time passes, people become unkind and ungrateful.
This stanza is significant because it shows how time can change people. In the past, these women were gentle and kind, but now they are seen as archaic and unkind. Similarly, their sons are ungrateful. This suggests that as time passes, people become jaded and cynical.
The third stanza of the poem is where Yeats brings the theme of time to its conclusion. He writes, “Love has pitched his mansion/ In the place of excrement/ For nothing can be sole or whole/ That has not been rent.” Here, Yeats is suggesting that love can overcome the passage of time.
This stanza is significant because it offers a glimmer of hope in an otherwise bleak poem. Yeats is suggesting that even though time can change people and memories, love can transcend those changes. Love can overcome the passage of time and bring people together.
Two Years Later is a masterpiece of modernist poetry. It is a complex and nuanced reflection on the passage of time and how it affects our emotions and memories.
One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its use of imagery. Yeats’ imagery is vivid and evocative, and it helps to convey the themes of the poem. For example, when Yeats writes, “Love has pitched his mansion/ In the place of excrement,” he is using a metaphor to suggest that love can overcome even the most unpleasant aspects of life.
Another aspect of the poem that stands out is its use of sound. Yeats’ use of iambic pentameter and the AABCCB rhyme scheme give the poem a musical quality. This musical quality helps to reinforce the themes of the poem and make it more memorable.
In terms of its place in modernist poetry, Two Years Later is an excellent example of the movement’s preoccupation with the theme of time. Modernist poets were fascinated by the passage of time and how it affected human experience. Yeats’ poem is a perfect example of this preoccupation.
In conclusion, Two Years Later is a masterpiece of modernist poetry. It explores the theme of time and how it affects our emotions and memories. Yeats’ use of vivid imagery and musical language make the poem a pleasure to read and remember. Furthermore, the poem’s themes are timeless and universal, making it a work of literature that will continue to be appreciated for generations to come.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Two Years Later: A Poem of Love and Loss
William Butler Yeats, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, wrote Two Years Later in 1919. The poem is a poignant reflection on love, loss, and the passage of time. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, imagery, and language used in the poem to understand its deeper meaning.
The poem begins with the speaker addressing his beloved, who has been dead for two years. The opening lines set the tone for the rest of the poem, as the speaker expresses his longing for his lost love:
"Has no one said those daring Kind eyes should be more bright? Or hurled the little streets upon the great, Had they but courage equal to desire?"
The use of the word "daring" to describe the eyes of the beloved suggests that she was a bold and adventurous person. The speaker laments that her eyes are no longer bright, perhaps because she is no longer alive. He also expresses a desire to do something bold and daring, like "hurling the little streets upon the great," but he lacks the courage to do so.
The second stanza of the poem continues the theme of loss and longing. The speaker describes how he used to walk with his beloved in the "little street," but now he walks alone:
"I have met them at close of day Coming with vivid faces From counter or desk among grey Eighteenth-century houses."
The use of the word "vivid" to describe the faces of the people the speaker meets suggests that they are full of life and energy. In contrast, the speaker's own life seems dull and grey without his beloved. The reference to "eighteenth-century houses" suggests that the speaker is living in the past, unable to move on from his loss.
The third stanza of the poem introduces a new theme: the passage of time. The speaker reflects on how much has changed in the two years since his beloved died:
"I have passed with a nod of the head Or polite meaningless words, Or have lingered awhile and said Polite meaningless words,"
The repetition of the phrase "polite meaningless words" suggests that the speaker is going through the motions of social interaction without really engaging with anyone. He is stuck in a state of grief and unable to connect with others.
The fourth stanza of the poem returns to the theme of loss and longing. The speaker describes how he still feels his beloved's presence, even though she is gone:
"And thought before I had done Of a mocking tale or a gibe To please a companion Around the fire at the club,"
The use of the phrase "before I had done" suggests that the speaker is haunted by his memories of his beloved. Even when he is trying to enjoy himself with friends, he cannot escape the pain of his loss.
The fifth and final stanza of the poem brings together all of the themes that have been explored throughout. The speaker reflects on how his beloved's death has changed him:
"Being certain that they and I But lived where motley is worn: All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born."
The use of the phrase "terrible beauty" suggests that the speaker has come to see the beauty in his loss, even though it is painful. He has been changed by his experience of grief, and he sees the world in a new way.
In terms of imagery, the poem is full of contrasts between light and dark, life and death, and past and present. The use of the phrase "little street" suggests a small, intimate space, while the reference to "eighteenth-century houses" suggests a more formal, distant world. The use of the word "vivid" to describe the faces of the people the speaker meets suggests a world full of life and energy, while the repetition of the phrase "polite meaningless words" suggests a world devoid of real connection.
In terms of language, the poem is full of rich, evocative phrases that capture the speaker's emotions. The use of the word "daring" to describe the eyes of the beloved suggests a sense of adventure and excitement. The repetition of the phrase "polite meaningless words" suggests a sense of emptiness and disconnection. The use of the phrase "terrible beauty" suggests a sense of pain and loss, but also a sense of awe and wonder.
In conclusion, Two Years Later is a powerful poem that explores the themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. Through its use of imagery and language, the poem captures the speaker's emotions in a way that is both evocative and moving. Whether you are experiencing grief yourself or simply seeking to understand it better, this poem is sure to resonate with you.
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