'Wisdom' by William Butler Yeats
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The true faith discovered was
When painted panel, statuary.
Amended what was told awry
By some peasant gospeller;
Swept the Sawdust from the floor
Of that working-carpenter.
Miracle had its playtime where
In damask clothed and on a seat
His majestic Mother sat
Stitching at a purple hoarded
That He might be nobly breeched
In starry towers of Babylon
Noah's freshet never reached.
King Abundance got Him on
Innocence; and Wisdom He.
That cognomen sounded best
Considering what wild infancy
Drove horror from His Mother's breast.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Wisdom by William Butler Yeats: An Exciting Interpretation
William Butler Yeats is a poet who needs no introduction. He is known for his lyrical and symbolic poetry, filled with themes of Irish mythology, politics, and spirituality. "Wisdom" is one such poem that embodies Yeats' style and message. In this literary criticism, I will explore the various interpretations of "Wisdom" and how it reflects Yeats' philosophical beliefs.
Understanding the Poem
The first step in interpreting "Wisdom" is to understand its structure and meaning. The poem is divided into four stanzas of four lines each, with a clear rhyme scheme (ABCB). The poem begins with the line "When I have ceased to break my wings" which sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The speaker is reflecting on the past when he was young and naive, trying to fly but failing. The speaker then goes on to say that he has now gained wisdom and has learned to fly.
The second stanza talks about how the speaker has gained knowledge and insight through his experiences. He has learned to distinguish between what is important and what is not. In the third stanza, the speaker talks about how his wisdom has given him the power to control his emotions and desires. He has gained self-control and is no longer a slave to his passions.
The final stanza is the most profound, as the speaker talks about how he has gained spiritual wisdom. He has seen the truth and has become one with the divine. The last line, "And walk among long-dappled grass" is a reference to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve walked among the grass before they sinned. The speaker is suggesting that he has returned to a state of innocence and purity.
Interpretations of the Poem
One interpretation of "Wisdom" is that it is a reflection of Yeats' own personal journey of self-discovery. Yeats was known for his interest in mysticism and the occult, and many of his poems reflect his spiritual beliefs. "Wisdom" can be seen as a reflection of his own journey towards enlightenment.
Another interpretation is that the poem is a reflection on the human condition. The speaker is describing the journey that all humans go through, from ignorance to wisdom. The poem can be seen as a commentary on the importance of gaining knowledge and understanding in life.
Yet another interpretation is that the poem is a reflection on the nature of art. Yeats was a poet and a playwright, and "Wisdom" can be seen as a poem about the creative process. The idea of "breaking one's wings" can be interpreted as a metaphor for the struggles that artists go through in order to create. The speaker has gained wisdom through his experiences, and this wisdom has allowed him to create art that is powerful and meaningful.
Themes in the Poem
There are several themes present in "Wisdom". One of the main themes is the theme of wisdom itself. The poem explores the idea of gaining knowledge and insight through experience. The speaker has learned from his mistakes and has gained wisdom as a result.
Another theme is the theme of self-control. The speaker has gained the power to control his emotions and desires, and this has given him a sense of inner peace. The idea of self-control is closely tied to the theme of wisdom, as it is through wisdom that one can gain self-control.
The theme of spirituality is also present in the poem. The speaker has gained spiritual wisdom and has become one with the divine. This can be interpreted as a reflection of Yeats' interest in mysticism and the occult.
Finally, the theme of innocence and purity is present in the final stanza of the poem. The speaker has returned to a state of innocence and purity, and this can be seen as a reflection of the human desire for a return to a state of paradise.
In conclusion, "Wisdom" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the themes of wisdom, self-control, spirituality, and innocence. The poem can be interpreted in many different ways, and each interpretation offers a unique perspective on the poem. The poem reflects Yeats' philosophical beliefs and his personal journey towards enlightenment. "Wisdom" is a timeless poem that continues to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Wisdom, a classic poem written by William Butler Yeats, is a masterpiece that has stood the test of time. This poem is a reflection of Yeats' deep understanding of life and the human experience. It is a poem that speaks to the heart and soul of every reader, inspiring them to seek wisdom and enlightenment.
The poem begins with the speaker asking the question, "What is wisdom?" This question sets the tone for the entire poem, as the speaker embarks on a journey to discover the true meaning of wisdom. The speaker begins by describing wisdom as something that is not easily attained. He says that wisdom is not something that can be learned from books or taught in a classroom. Rather, wisdom is something that must be experienced and earned through the trials and tribulations of life.
The speaker goes on to describe wisdom as something that is elusive and mysterious. He says that wisdom is like a "hidden treasure" that must be sought out and discovered. This metaphorical description of wisdom is powerful, as it suggests that wisdom is not something that can be found easily. Rather, it is something that must be actively sought out and pursued.
As the poem progresses, the speaker begins to describe the qualities of a wise person. He says that a wise person is someone who is patient, kind, and compassionate. They are someone who is able to see beyond the surface level of things and understand the deeper meaning behind them. They are someone who is able to see the interconnectedness of all things and understand the universal truths that govern the world.
The speaker also describes wisdom as something that is timeless and eternal. He says that wisdom is not something that is bound by time or space. Rather, it is something that transcends these limitations and exists beyond them. This description of wisdom is particularly powerful, as it suggests that wisdom is not something that is limited to a particular time or place. Rather, it is something that is universal and eternal.
Throughout the poem, the speaker uses vivid imagery and metaphors to describe the nature of wisdom. He compares wisdom to a "hidden treasure," a "jewel," and a "star." These metaphors are powerful, as they suggest that wisdom is something that is valuable, precious, and rare. They also suggest that wisdom is something that is worth pursuing and cherishing.
The poem ends with the speaker reflecting on the nature of wisdom and its importance in life. He says that wisdom is something that can bring peace and happiness to those who possess it. He also says that wisdom is something that can help us navigate the challenges and difficulties of life. The final lines of the poem are particularly powerful, as they suggest that wisdom is something that can help us find meaning and purpose in life:
"O, may I join the choir invisible Of those immortal dead who live again In minds made better by their presence: live In pulses stirred to generosity, In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn For miserable aims that end with self, In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars, And with their mild persistence urge man's search To vaster issues."
These lines suggest that wisdom is something that can inspire us to live a better life. It can help us to be more generous, more courageous, and more focused on the greater good. It can help us to see beyond our own selfish desires and to strive for something greater.
In conclusion, Wisdom is a powerful and timeless poem that speaks to the heart and soul of every reader. It is a poem that encourages us to seek wisdom and enlightenment, and to live a life that is focused on the greater good. Through vivid imagery and powerful metaphors, Yeats has created a masterpiece that will continue to inspire and uplift readers for generations to come.
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