'The Phases Of The Moon' by William Butler Yeats
AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
An old man cocked his car upon a bridge;
He and his friend, their faces to the South,
Had trod the uneven road. Their hoots were soiled,
Their Connemara cloth worn out of shape;
They had kept a steady pace as though their beds,
Despite a dwindling and late-risen moon,
Were distant still. An old man cocked his ear.
Aherne. What made that Sound?
Robartes. A rat or water-hen
Splashed, or an otter slid into the stream.
We are on the bridge; that shadow is the tower,
And the light proves that he is reading still.
He has found, after the manner of his kind,
Mere images; chosen this place to live in
Because, it may be, of the candle-light
From the far tower where Milton's Platonist
Sat late, or Shelley's visionary prince:
The lonely light that Samuel Palmer engraved,
An image of mysterious wisdom won by toil;
And now he seeks in book or manuscript
What he shall never find.
Ahernc. Why should not you
Who know it all ring at his door, and speak
Just truth enough to show that his whole life
Will scarcely find for him a broken crust
Of all those truths that are your daily bread;
And when you have spoken take the roads again?
Robartes. He wrote of me in that extravagant style
He had learnt from pater, and to round his tale
Said I was dead; and dead I choose to be.
Aherne. Sing me the changes of the moon once more;
True song, though speech: "mine author sung it me.'
Robartes. Twenty-and-eight the phases of the moon,
The full and the moon's dark and all the crescents,
Twenty-and-eight, and yet but six-and-twenty
The cradles that a man must needs be rocked in:
For there's no human life at the full or the dark.
From the first crescent to the half, the dream
But summons to adventure and the man
Is always happy like a bird or a beast;
But while the moon is rounding towards the full
He follows whatever whim's most difficult
Among whims not impossible, and though scarred.
As with the cat-o'-nine-tails of the mind,
His body moulded from within his body
Grows comelier. Eleven pass, and then
Athene takes Achilles by the hair,
Hector is in the dust, Nietzsche is born,
Because the hero's crescent is the twelfth.
And yet, twice born, twice buried, grow he must,
Before the full moon, helpless as a worm.
The thirteenth moon but sets the soul at war
In its own being, and when that war's begun
There is no muscle in the arm; and after,
Under the frenzy of the fourteenth moon,
The soul begins to tremble into stillness,
To die into the labyrinth of itself!
Aherne. Sing out the song; sing to the end, and sing
The strange reward of all that discipline.
Robartes. All thought becomes an image and the soul
Becomes a body: that body and that soul
Too perfect at the full to lie in a cradle,
Too lonely for the traffic of the world:
Body and soul cast out and cast away
Beyond the visible world.
Aherne. All dreams of the soul
End in a beautiful man's or woman's body.
Robartes, Have you not always known it?
Aherne. The song will have it
That those that we have loved got their long fingers
From death, and wounds, or on Sinai's top,
Or from some bloody whip in their own hands.
They ran from cradle to cradle till at last
Their beauty dropped out of the loneliness
Of body and soul.
Robartes. The lover's heart knows that.
Aherne. It must be that the terror in their eyes
Is memory or foreknowledge of the hour
When all is fed with light and heaven is bare.
Robartes. When the moon's full those creatures of the
Are met on the waste hills by countrymen
Who shudder and hurry by: body and soul
Estranged amid the strangeness of themselves,
Caught up in contemplation, the mind's eye
Fixed upon images that once were thought;
For separate, perfect, and immovable
Images can break the solitude
Of lovely, satisfied, indifferent eyes.
And thereupon with aged, high-pitched voice
Aherne laughed, thinking of the man within,
His sleepless candle and lahorious pen.
Robartes. And after that the crumbling of the moon.
The soul remembering its loneliness
Shudders in many cradles; all is changed,
It would be the world's servant, and as it serves,
Choosing whatever task's most difficult
Among tasks not impossible, it takes
Upon the body and upon the soul
The coarseness of the drudge.
Aherne. Before the full
It sought itself and afterwards the world.
Robartes. Because you are forgotten, half out of life,
And never wrote a book, your thought is clear.
Reformer, merchant, statesman, learned man,
Dutiful husband, honest wife by turn,
Cradle upon cradle, and all in flight and all
Deformed because there is no deformity
But saves us from a dream.
Aherne. And what of those
That the last servile crescent has set free?
Robartes. Because all dark, like those that are all light,
They are cast beyond the verge, and in a cloud,
Crying to one another like the bats;
And having no desire they cannot tell
What's good or bad, or what it is to triumph
At the perfection of one's own obedience;
And yet they speak what's blown into the mind;
Deformed beyond deformity, unformed,
Insipid as the dough before it is baked,
They change their bodies at a word.
Aherne. And then?
Rohartes. When all the dough has been so kneaded up
That it can take what form cook Nature fancies,
The first thin crescent is wheeled round once more.
Aherne. But the escape; the song's not finished yet.
Robartes. Hunchback and Saint and Fool are the last
The burning bow that once could shoot an arrow
Out of the up and down, the wagon-wheel
Of beauty's cruelty and wisdom's chatter -
Out of that raving tide - is drawn betwixt
Deformity of body and of mind.
Aherne. Were not our beds far off I'd ring the bell,
Stand under the rough roof-timbers of the hall
Beside the castle door, where all is stark
Austerity, a place set out for wisdom
That he will never find; I'd play a part;
He would never know me after all these years
But take me for some drunken countryman:
I'd stand and mutter there until he caught
"Hunchback and Sant and Fool,' and that they came
Under the three last crescents of the moon.
And then I'd stagger out. He'd crack his wits
Day after day, yet never find the meaning.
And then he laughed to think that what seemed hard
Should be so simple - a bat rose from the hazels
And circled round him with its squeaky cry,
The light in the tower window was put out.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Phases Of The Moon by William Butler Yeats: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Oh, how thrilling it is to delve into the beauty and complexity of William Butler Yeats' poem, The Phases Of The Moon! This piece of literary art is not only a celebration of nature but also a reflection of the human experience. Indeed, Yeats' mastery of language and imagery has been on full display in this poem, which has inspired and touched the hearts of many readers for over a century. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, structure, and poetic devices used by Yeats in The Phases Of The Moon.
Overview and Themes
Before we dive into the analysis of the poem, let us take a moment to understand its context and themes. The Phases Of The Moon was written in 1898 and was published in Yeats' third poetry collection, The Wind Among The Reeds. The poem is composed of three stanzas, each consisting of eight lines. The central theme of The Phases Of The Moon is the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, which is reflected through the metaphor of the moon. The poem also explores the role of the poet in capturing the essence of nature and the transience of beauty.
Structure and Form
The Phases Of The Moon has a simple yet effective structure that enhances its thematic content. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, with each line consisting of four iambs (unstressed followed by stressed syllables). This regular metrical pattern creates a sense of rhythm and musicality, which is further accentuated by Yeats' use of rhyme scheme. The first and third lines of each stanza rhyme, as do the second and fourth, the fifth and seventh, and the sixth and eighth. This ABABCBCC rhyme scheme creates a sense of symmetry and balance in the poem, which is appropriate for a poem about the cyclical nature of life.
Yeats' use of poetic devices in The Phases Of The Moon is masterful and adds depth and complexity to the poem. One of the most striking elements of the poem is its vivid imagery. Yeats uses a range of metaphorical and symbolic language to describe the moon and its phases. In the first stanza, he compares the moon to a woman's face, which changes with time:
A lovely face Will change because a light wind stirs, And smiles into another smile, Transfigured with the mystic change We cannot understand.
In these lines, Yeats suggests that the moon, like a woman's face, is beautiful but ephemeral, subject to the whims of time and nature. He also uses the word "transfigured" to convey the idea that the moon's changing appearance is not just a physical transformation but a spiritual one that we cannot fully comprehend.
In the second stanza, Yeats uses the image of the moon as a "hollow dome" to describe its emptiness and loneliness:
She shines on thieves on the garden wall, On streets and fields and harbour quays, And birdies know her cradle song, And yet she cries, "The hills have fallen, And all the world is dark and empty."
These lines convey a sense of melancholy and despair, as the moon is depicted as a lonely figure that illuminates the world but cannot find happiness or fulfillment.
Finally, in the third stanza, Yeats uses the metaphor of the moon as a boat to convey the idea of the journey of life:
And all the men that make the bars, And the thoughts of men that fell below, Are changed to a little white boat That is turning softly to and fro.
Through this metaphor, Yeats suggests that life is a journey, and the moon is the vessel that carries us through its various phases. He also implies that death is not an end but a transformation, as the boat turns "softly to and fro" in the moonlight.
Aside from imagery, Yeats also employs other poetic devices in The Phases Of The Moon, such as alliteration, assonance, and repetition. For example, in the first stanza, he uses alliteration to create a sense of movement and change:
A lovely face Will change because a light wind stirs,
In the second stanza, he uses assonance to create a sense of sadness and longing:
And yet she cries, "The hills have fallen, And all the world is dark and empty."
And in the third stanza, he uses repetition to emphasize the cyclical nature of life:
And all the men that make the bars, And the thoughts of men that fell below, Are changed to a little white boat...
The Phases Of The Moon is a deeply philosophical poem that offers a poignant reflection on the human condition. Yeats uses the metaphor of the moon to explore the themes of transience, loneliness, and the cycle of life. Through his vivid imagery and masterful use of poetic devices, he creates a powerful and evocative work of art that speaks to the human experience.
One of the central ideas of the poem is the transience of beauty. Yeats suggests that, like the moon, everything in life is subject to change and decay. However, he also implies that there is a kind of beauty in this impermanence, as it adds a sense of mystery and depth to life. The moon's changing appearance is not just a physical transformation but a spiritual one, which we cannot fully understand. Similarly, the changes and transformations we experience in life are not just superficial but profound, shaping who we are and how we see the world.
Another theme explored in The Phases Of The Moon is the loneliness of the human condition. The moon is depicted as a lonely figure that illuminates the world but cannot find happiness or fulfillment. Yeats suggests that, like the moon, we are all searching for meaning and connection in a world that often feels dark and empty. However, he also implies that there is a kind of beauty in this loneliness, as it allows us to appreciate the world and the people around us more deeply.
Finally, the poem reflects on the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Yeats uses the metaphor of the moon as a boat to convey the idea that life is a journey, and death is not an end but a transformation. The boat turning "softly to and fro" in the moonlight suggests a sense of peacefulness and acceptance, as we all must eventually make this journey. However, Yeats also implies that our legacy lives on in the memories of those we leave behind, as the boat is made from "the thoughts of men that fell below."
The Phases Of The Moon is a beautiful and profound poem that speaks to the human experience in a way that is both poetic and philosophical. Yeats' mastery of language and imagery is on full display in this work of art, which explores the themes of transience, loneliness, and the cycle of life. Through his vivid imagery and masterful use of poetic devices, Yeats creates a powerful and evocative work that has inspired and touched the hearts of many readers for over a century.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Phases of the Moon by William Butler Yeats is a classic poem that has captured the imagination of readers for generations. This poem is a beautiful and evocative exploration of the different phases of the moon and the emotions that they evoke in us. In this article, we will take a detailed look at this poem and explore its themes, symbolism, and meaning.
The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which explores a different phase of the moon. The first stanza describes the new moon, which is a time of darkness and mystery. The second stanza describes the full moon, which is a time of brightness and clarity. The third stanza describes the waning moon, which is a time of sadness and loss.
In the first stanza, Yeats describes the new moon as a time of darkness and mystery. He writes, "I saw the thin crescent / Between two horns of a dilemma." This line is a reference to the horns of a dilemma, which is a situation where a person must choose between two equally undesirable options. The thin crescent of the new moon is caught between these two horns, representing the uncertainty and ambiguity of this phase of the moon.
Yeats goes on to describe the new moon as a time of "dreams and hidden things." This line suggests that the darkness of the new moon is a fertile ground for the imagination, where dreams and secrets can flourish. The new moon is a time of potential and possibility, where anything can happen.
In the second stanza, Yeats describes the full moon as a time of brightness and clarity. He writes, "I saw the full moon / Lean over a cloud." This line suggests that the full moon is a time of illumination, where everything is clear and visible. The moon is no longer caught between the horns of a dilemma, but is instead shining brightly and confidently.
Yeats goes on to describe the full moon as a time of "silver fruit." This line suggests that the full moon is a time of abundance and harvest, where the fruits of our labor are ripe for the picking. The full moon is a time of celebration and joy, where we can bask in the light of our achievements.
In the third stanza, Yeats describes the waning moon as a time of sadness and loss. He writes, "I saw the waning moon / Creep up an oak." This line suggests that the waning moon is a time of retreat and withdrawal, where we must face the reality of our losses. The moon is no longer shining brightly, but is instead creeping up an oak, a symbol of strength and endurance.
Yeats goes on to describe the waning moon as a time of "faded flowers." This line suggests that the waning moon is a time of decay and decline, where the beauty of life is fading away. The waning moon is a time of mourning and reflection, where we must come to terms with the impermanence of all things.
Overall, The Phases of the Moon is a beautiful and evocative poem that explores the different phases of the moon and the emotions that they evoke in us. The poem is full of rich symbolism and imagery, and it speaks to the universal human experience of change and transformation. Whether we are experiencing the darkness of the new moon, the brightness of the full moon, or the sadness of the waning moon, we can take comfort in the fact that these phases are all part of the natural cycle of life.
Editor Recommended SitesLittle Known Dev Tools: New dev tools fresh off the github for cli management, replacing default tools, better CLI UI interfaces
Learn Cloud SQL: Learn to use cloud SQL tools by AWS and GCP
Deep Dive Video: Deep dive courses for LLMs, machine learning and software engineering
Data Driven Approach - Best data driven techniques & Hypothesis testing for software engineeers: Best practice around data driven engineering improvement
Crypto Advisor - Crypto stats and data & Best crypto meme coins: Find the safest coins to invest in for this next alt season, AI curated
Recommended Similar AnalysisTo A Dead Man by Carl Sandburg analysis
The Broken Heart by John Donne analysis
The Prodigal Son by Rudyard Kipling analysis
Sweetest Love, I do not go by John Donne analysis
Howl by Allen Ginsberg analysis
This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams analysis
A Hillside Thaw by Robert Lee Frost analysis
Sound and Sense by Alexander Pope analysis
Come, My Celia by Ben Jonson analysis
To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe analysis