'A Model For The Laureate' by William Butler Yeats
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On thrones from China to Peru
All sorts of kings have sat
That men and women of all sorts
proclaimed both good and great;
And what's the odds if such as these
For reason of the State
Should keep their lovers waiting,
Keep their lovers waiting?
Some boast of beggar-kings and kings
Of rascals black and white
That rule because a strong right arm
Puts all men in a fright,
And drunk or sober live at ease
Where none gainsay their right,
And keep their lovers waiting,
Keep their lovers waiting.
The Muse is mute when public men
Applaud a modern throne:
Those cheers that can be bought or sold,
That office fools have run,
That waxen seal, that signature.
For things like these what decent man
Would keep his lover waiting,
Keep his lover waiting?
Editor 1 Interpretation
A Model For The Laureate: A Critical Analysis
The world of literature is filled with great writers and poets who have left their mark on society. One such poet who has become an icon in the literary world is William Butler Yeats. His poems have been analyzed and interpreted by scholars and critics alike, and one such poem that has captured the imagination of many is "A Model For The Laureate." The poem is a tribute to John Butler Yeats, Yeats' father, who was also an artist. In this essay, we will examine the poem in detail and try to understand its meaning and significance.
Before we delve into the poem itself, it is important to understand the context in which it was written. Yeats wrote "A Model For The Laureate" in 1918, during the First World War. The war had a profound impact on Yeats, and he was deeply disturbed by the violence and chaos it caused. He felt that the war had destroyed the traditional values that he held dear, and he was searching for a way to restore them. This search led him to the idea of the poet laureate, a figure who could embody the spirit of the nation and inspire its people.
The poem consists of four stanzas, each with six lines. The rhyme scheme is ABABCC, and the meter is iambic tetrameter. The poem begins with the speaker expressing his admiration for the old-fashioned values of the past, which he believes have been lost in the modern world. He then goes on to describe his father, who he sees as a model for the poet laureate.
The first stanza sets the tone for the poem by establishing the theme of the passing of time. The speaker laments the fact that the values of the past have been lost, and that the world has become a cold and heartless place. He refers to the "hollow laughter" of the modern world, which he believes is a symbol of its emptiness. The speaker then contrasts this with the "sweet grave" of the past, which he sees as a symbol of the depth and richness of the traditional values.
In the second stanza, the speaker describes his father as a model for the poet laureate. He compares his father to Apollo, the god of poetry, and describes him as a master of the art. The speaker is impressed by his father's ability to capture the essence of nature in his paintings and his ability to convey emotion through his art.
The third stanza continues the comparison of the father to Apollo, but it also introduces a new element. The speaker describes his father as a figure who transcends the boundaries of time and space. He sees him as a link between the past and the present, and as a symbol of the enduring values that have survived through the ages.
The final stanza brings the poem to a close by returning to the theme of the passing of time. The speaker acknowledges that the world is changing and that the old values are disappearing. However, he believes that there is still hope for the future. He sees his father as a model for the poet laureate, a figure who can inspire the people and give them a sense of purpose and direction.
The poem can be interpreted in many ways, but one possible interpretation is that it is a tribute to the power of art to transcend time and space. The speaker sees his father as a figure who embodies the timeless values of the past and who can inspire the people of the present to embrace those values. He believes that the poet laureate can play a similar role, by using the power of poetry to connect the past and the present and to inspire the people to greatness.
Another possible interpretation is that the poem is a critique of modernity and its impact on traditional values. The speaker sees the modern world as a hollow and empty place, devoid of the depth and richness of the past. He believes that the poet laureate can help to restore those values and to give meaning and purpose to a world that has lost its way.
Overall, "A Model For The Laureate" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that raises important questions about the role of art in society. It is a tribute to the enduring values of the past, but it is also a call to action for the present. The poem challenges us to embrace the power of art to inspire and to connect us to something greater than ourselves. It is a fitting tribute to John Butler Yeats, and a testament to the enduring legacy of his art.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
A Model For The Laureate: An Analysis of Yeats' Poem
William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, wrote a poem titled "A Model For The Laureate" in 1935. This poem is a reflection on the role of the poet laureate in society and the qualities that a poet should possess. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail.
The poem begins with the speaker asking a question, "What is the good of a poet laureate?" This question sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as the speaker attempts to answer it. The poet laureate is a position that has existed in England since the 17th century. The poet laureate is appointed by the monarch and is responsible for writing poems for special occasions, such as coronations and royal weddings. The position has been held by some of the most famous poets in English literature, including John Dryden, William Wordsworth, and Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Yeats, however, is skeptical of the role of the poet laureate. He believes that the poet should not be a servant of the state, but rather an independent voice. He writes, "The poet must not only sing, but speak." This line suggests that the poet should not only write beautiful poetry but also speak out against injustice and oppression.
Yeats goes on to describe the qualities that a poet should possess. He writes, "He must be gentle, but not weak; / He must be strong, but not rough." This line suggests that the poet should be able to balance strength and gentleness. The poet should be able to speak out against injustice, but also be able to do so in a way that is not aggressive or confrontational.
Yeats also believes that the poet should be able to see beyond the surface of things. He writes, "He must see beauty in the common things / And show it to the world." This line suggests that the poet should be able to find beauty in everyday life and share it with others. The poet should be able to see beyond the surface of things and find meaning in the ordinary.
Yeats also believes that the poet should be able to connect with the past. He writes, "He must be learned, but not pedantic; / He must be wise, but not old." This line suggests that the poet should be knowledgeable about the past, but not stuck in it. The poet should be able to use the wisdom of the past to inform the present.
Yeats also believes that the poet should be able to connect with the people. He writes, "He must be of the people, but not vulgar; / He must be of the time, but not its slave." This line suggests that the poet should be able to connect with the common people, but not be vulgar or crude. The poet should also be able to reflect the times in which he or she lives, but not be a slave to them.
In the final stanza of the poem, Yeats writes, "He must be a model for the laureate, / And not the laureate himself." This line suggests that the poet should be a model for the poet laureate, rather than the other way around. The poet should be an independent voice, rather than a servant of the state.
In conclusion, "A Model For The Laureate" is a poem that reflects Yeats' views on the role of the poet in society. Yeats believes that the poet should be an independent voice, able to speak out against injustice and oppression. The poet should possess qualities such as strength, gentleness, wisdom, and the ability to connect with the people. The poet should be a model for the poet laureate, rather than a servant of the state. This poem is a reminder that the role of the poet is not just to write beautiful poetry, but also to speak out against injustice and oppression.
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