'Her Vision In The Wood' by William Butler Yeats
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Dry timber under that rich foliage,
At wine-dark midnight in the sacred wood,
Too old for a man's love I stood in rage
Imagining men. Imagining that I could
A greater with a lesser pang assuage
Or but to find if withered vein ran blood,
I tore my body that its wine might cover
Whatever could rccall the lip of lover.
And after that I held my fingers up,
Stared at the wine-dark nail, or dark that ran
Down every withered finger from the top;
But the dark changed to red, and torches shone,
And deafening music shook the leaves; a troop
Shouldered a litter with a wounded man,
Or smote upon the string and to the sound
Sang of the beast that gave the fatal wound.
All stately women moving to a song
With loosened hair or foreheads grief-distraught,
It seemed a Quattrocento painter's throng,
A thoughtless image of Mantegna's thought --
Why should they think that are for ever young?
Till suddenly in grief's contagion caught,
I stared upon his blood-bedabbled breast
And sang my malediction with the rest.
That thing all blood and mire, that beast-torn wreck,
Half turned and fixed a glazing eye on mine,
And, though love's bitter-sweet had all come back,
Those bodies from a picture or a coin
Nor saw my body fall nor heard it shriek,
Nor knew, drunken with singing as with wine,
That they had brought no fabulous symbol there
But my heart's victim and its torturer.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Her Vision In The Wood by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats is a highly celebrated poet whose works are renowned for their deep philosophical and spiritual themes. One such poem that exemplifies this is 'Her Vision In The Wood', a short but powerful piece that captures the essence of human fear, longing and hope. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the meaning of Yeats' poem, examining its themes, symbolism and structure to gain a deeper appreciation for this classic piece of literature.
'Her Vision In The Wood' is a 16-line poem that tells the story of a woman who has a vision while wandering through a forest. The woman sees a man who she believes to be Death, but he is covered in a cloak of gold and is not frightening. The woman is filled with hope by this vision and feels that she is no longer alone in the world.
The poem explores several themes that are central to Yeats' philosophy. The first theme is fear. The woman in the poem is afraid of Death, as many people are. However, the vision she has shows Death in a different light. The man is not frightening, but rather comforting. This suggests that fear is often based on our misunderstandings and assumptions about things we don't know.
The second theme is hope. The woman's vision fills her with hope, as she feels that Death is not something to be feared but rather something to embrace. This suggests that hope can come from unexpected sources, and that even in the face of death we can find comfort and peace.
The third theme is the idea that death is not the end. The woman in the poem sees Death as a man covered in a cloak of gold. This suggests that there is something beyond death, something that is not frightening but rather beautiful. This theme is central to Yeats' philosophy, and is explored in many of his other works as well.
Yeats uses several symbols in 'Her Vision In The Wood' to convey his themes. The forest is a symbol of the unknown and of fear. The woman is wandering through the forest, searching for something but not knowing what it is. This symbolizes the human condition, where we are all searching for something but often don't know what it is.
The gold cloak that Death is wearing is another important symbol. Gold is often associated with wealth and power, but in this case it represents something more spiritual. The cloak symbolizes the beauty and comfort that can be found even in the face of death.
The woman's vision is also a symbol. It represents the idea that hope can come from unexpected sources, and that even in the face of death we can find comfort and peace.
'Her Vision In The Wood' is a structured poem, with four quatrains that follow a strict rhyme scheme (ABAB). This structure reflects the poem's themes of order and control in the face of the unknown. The strict rhyme scheme provides a sense of stability, even as the woman is wandering through the forest and experiencing fear and uncertainty.
The short length of the poem also emphasizes its central message. The fact that Yeats is able to convey such a deep and profound message in just 16 lines is a testament to his skill as a poet.
'Her Vision In The Wood' is a poem that is open to a variety of interpretations. Some may see it as a message of hope in the face of death, while others may see it as a commentary on the human condition and our search for meaning in life.
One interpretation is that the vision the woman has is not of Death, but rather of a deity or spiritual being. The fact that the man is covered in a gold cloak suggests that he is not just an ordinary man, but rather something more divine.
Another interpretation is that the woman's vision is a metaphor for the journey of life. The forest represents the unknown and the journey of life, while the vision represents the light at the end of the tunnel. This interpretation suggests that even in the face of uncertainty and fear, there is always hope and light to be found.
'Her Vision In The Wood' is a classic poem that explores deep philosophical and spiritual themes. It uses symbols and structure to convey its message, and is open to a variety of interpretations. Whether you see it as a message of hope in the face of death, a commentary on the human condition, or something else entirely, there is no denying the power and beauty of Yeats' words.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Her Vision In The Wood: A Poem of Mystical Experience
William Butler Yeats, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, was a master of the mystical and the magical. His poetry often explored the themes of spirituality, mythology, and the supernatural. One of his most famous poems, "Her Vision In The Wood," is a prime example of his fascination with the mystical.
The poem is a narrative of a woman's mystical experience in the woods. The woman, who is not named, is walking in the woods when she suddenly has a vision. She sees a group of people dancing around a fire, and she is drawn to them. She joins in the dance, and as she does, she feels a sense of transcendence. She feels as if she is part of something greater than herself, and she experiences a sense of unity with the universe.
The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which explores a different aspect of the woman's experience. The first stanza sets the scene and introduces the woman. The second stanza describes the vision itself, and the third stanza reflects on the experience and its significance.
The first stanza begins with a description of the woman walking in the woods. Yeats uses vivid imagery to create a sense of the natural world around her. He describes the "green boughs" and the "soft wind" that blows through the trees. The woman is alone, and she is lost in her thoughts. She is described as being "pale" and "weary," suggesting that she is searching for something.
The second stanza is the heart of the poem. It describes the woman's vision of the people dancing around the fire. Yeats uses a series of vivid images to create a sense of the mystical and the magical. He describes the "flames" of the fire, the "whirling" of the dancers, and the "wild" music that they are dancing to. The woman is drawn to the dancers, and she joins in the dance. As she does, she feels a sense of transcendence. She feels as if she is part of something greater than herself, and she experiences a sense of unity with the universe.
The third stanza reflects on the experience and its significance. Yeats suggests that the woman has had a mystical experience, and that this experience has transformed her. He describes her as being "changed" and "transfigured." He suggests that she has been given a glimpse of the divine, and that this glimpse has changed her forever. He ends the poem with the lines, "And I would have, being but a woman, / Done and said and thought as she."
The poem is a powerful exploration of the mystical experience. Yeats uses vivid imagery and powerful language to create a sense of the magical and the mystical. He suggests that the woman has had a glimpse of the divine, and that this glimpse has transformed her. The poem is a celebration of the power of the mystical, and a reminder of the importance of spiritual experience in our lives.
In conclusion, "Her Vision In The Wood" is a classic poem that explores the themes of spirituality, mythology, and the supernatural. It is a powerful exploration of the mystical experience, and a celebration of the power of the divine. Yeats' use of vivid imagery and powerful language creates a sense of the magical and the mystical, and his suggestion that the woman has been transformed by her experience is a reminder of the importance of spiritual experience in our lives. This poem is a true masterpiece of mystical poetry, and a testament to Yeats' skill as a poet.
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