'The Two Trees' by William Butler Yeats
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Beloved, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with metry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody,
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee.
There the Joves a circle go,
The flaming circle of our days,
Gyring, spiring to and fro
In those great ignorant leafy ways;
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care:
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.
Gaze no more in the bitter glass
The demons, with their subtle guile.
Lift up before us when they pass,
Or only gaze a little while;
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For ill things turn to barrenness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness,
Made when God slept in times of old.
There, through the broken branches, go
The ravens of unresting thought;
Flying, crying, to and fro,
Cruel claw and hungry throat,
Or else they stand and sniff the wind,
And shake their ragged wings; alas!
Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
Gaze no more in the bitter glass.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Magical World of William Butler Yeats' "The Two Trees"
William Butler Yeats is considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. His works are still revered today, and his poems are constantly being analyzed and interpreted. Among his most famous pieces is "The Two Trees," a poem that explores the relationship between the divine and the mortal. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the themes and imagery of this classic poem, examining how Yeats used his words to create a magical world of beauty and mysticism.
The Power of Nature
The first thing that strikes readers of "The Two Trees" is the powerful imagery of nature that Yeats employs. From the very first line, we are transported to a world of "lovely, dark and deep" where the "two trees" stand tall and proud. These trees represent the natural world and are a symbol of the power and beauty of nature. Yeats uses vivid imagery to describe them, using words such as "silver," "gold," and "green" to create a vivid picture in our minds.
But it's not just the physical beauty of the trees that Yeats wants us to appreciate. He also wants us to see the spiritual significance of nature. The trees are "mirrored" in the "lake" below them, symbolizing the connection between the physical and spiritual worlds. Yeats is reminding us that nature is not just a collection of pretty things to look at, but is also a source of spiritual power and inspiration.
The Divine and the Mortal
Another theme that runs throughout "The Two Trees" is the relationship between the divine and the mortal. Yeats was deeply interested in spirituality and mythology, and these themes are reflected in many of his works. In this poem, he uses the two trees as symbols of this relationship.
The "silver tree" represents the divine, while the "golden tree" represents the mortal. The silver tree is described as "dazzling," with leaves that "dance" and "sing." It is a symbol of the divine, with all its beauty and power. The golden tree, on the other hand, is "heavy with fruit" and represents the mortal world with all its richness and abundance.
But what Yeats is really exploring is the relationship between these two worlds. He asks us to consider how they are connected, and how they influence each other. He suggests that the mortal world is not separate from the divine, but rather a part of it. The two trees are "rooted in one earth," and it is this connection that makes them so powerful.
The Importance of Symbolism
One of the things that make Yeats' works so powerful is his use of symbolism. In "The Two Trees," he uses the trees as symbols of nature, the divine, and the mortal world. But he also uses other symbols throughout the poem to deepen its meaning.
For example, Yeats describes the trees as being "mirrored" in the "lake." This is a powerful symbol of reflection, reminding us that the spiritual and physical worlds are connected. He also describes the "fruit" of the golden tree as being "full of tears." This image is a reminder that even in the midst of abundance, there is always sadness and pain.
Another symbol that Yeats uses is the "fountain." He describes it as "hidden away," but also as a source of "eternal youth." This is a powerful symbol of the divine, reminding us that there is always a source of renewal and regeneration, even if it is hidden from view.
The Magic of Poetic Language
One of the things that makes "The Two Trees" such a powerful poem is the magic of Yeats' language. He uses words that spark our imagination and create a sense of wonder and awe. His words are like spells, transporting us to a world of beauty and mystery.
For example, he describes the "silver apples of the moon" and the "golden apples of the sun." These phrases are not just descriptive, they are also poetic. They create a sense of magic and mysticism that is central to the poem's theme.
Another example of Yeats' poetic language is his use of repetition. Throughout the poem, he repeats phrases such as "mirrored," "heart," and "hidden away." This repetition creates a sense of rhythm and musicality, drawing us deeper into the poem's world.
In "The Two Trees," William Butler Yeats creates a world of magic and beauty that speaks to our deepest spiritual longings. Through his use of vivid imagery, powerful symbolism, and poetic language, he explores the relationship between the divine and the mortal, and the power of nature to connect us to both. This is a poem that continues to inspire and delight readers today, and one that reminds us of the enduring power of language to transport us to other worlds.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Two Trees: A Poem of Dualities and Contrasts
William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, wrote The Two Trees in 1893. The poem is a beautiful and complex exploration of dualities and contrasts, using the imagery of two trees to represent opposing forces in the world. The poem is a perfect example of Yeats' mastery of symbolism and his ability to convey deep philosophical ideas through poetic language.
The poem begins with the description of two trees, one silver and one gold, standing side by side in a field. The silver tree is described as "light" and "delicate," while the gold tree is "heavy" and "strong." These descriptions immediately set up a contrast between the two trees, with the silver tree representing lightness and delicacy, and the gold tree representing heaviness and strength.
The second stanza of the poem introduces the idea of the trees as symbols of opposing forces in the world. The silver tree is described as representing "the moon," while the gold tree represents "the sun." This is a classic example of the duality of light and dark, with the moon representing the darkness and the sun representing the light. The two trees are also described as "brothers," which further emphasizes the idea of duality and contrast.
The third stanza of the poem introduces the idea of the trees as symbols of human experience. The silver tree is described as representing "the tree of life," while the gold tree represents "the tree of knowledge." This is a reference to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, where the tree of life represents eternal life, and the tree of knowledge represents knowledge of good and evil. The two trees are also described as "mirrors," which suggests that they reflect each other and are interconnected.
The fourth stanza of the poem introduces the idea of the trees as symbols of love and desire. The silver tree is described as representing "the tree of love," while the gold tree represents "the tree of desire." This is a powerful contrast, with love representing selflessness and giving, while desire represents selfishness and taking. The two trees are also described as "lovers," which suggests a deep connection between the two opposing forces.
The fifth stanza of the poem introduces the idea of the trees as symbols of death and rebirth. The silver tree is described as representing "the tree of the soul," while the gold tree represents "the tree of the body." This is a reference to the idea of the soul being eternal, while the body is mortal. The two trees are also described as "fathers," which suggests a sense of lineage and continuity.
The final stanza of the poem brings all of these ideas together, with the speaker asking which tree he should choose. The speaker is torn between the opposing forces represented by the two trees, and he is unsure which path to take. The final lines of the poem suggest that the speaker must choose for himself, and that both paths are valid.
In conclusion, The Two Trees is a beautiful and complex poem that explores the dualities and contrasts of the world through the imagery of two trees. The poem is a perfect example of Yeats' mastery of symbolism and his ability to convey deep philosophical ideas through poetic language. The poem is a reminder that life is full of choices, and that we must choose our own path based on our own values and beliefs.
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