'The Lover Mourns For The Loss Of Love' by William Butler Yeats

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Pale brows, still hands and dim hair,
I had a beautiful friend
And dreamed that the old despair
Would end in love in the end:
She looked in my heart one day
And saw your image was there;
She has gone weeping away.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Lover Mourns For The Loss Of Love: William Butler Yeats' Intense Elegy

As soon as I read “The Lover Mourns For The Loss Of Love” by William Butler Yeats, I was entranced. The poem highlights the deep emotions that arise in the aftermath of a failed relationship. Here are my thoughts on the poem.

Setting the Scene

The poem opens with the lines “Pale brows, still hands and dim hair, I had a beautiful friend/And dreamed that the old despair/Would end in love in the end.” These lines introduce the speaker of the poem and the person they are grieving for. The speaker describes their lost love as having “pale brows, still hands and dim hair,” a description that conveys a sense of stillness and death.

The speaker had hoped that their friend would eventually find love, but it never happened. They are now mourning the fact that their friend died without ever experiencing the love they had hoped for.

The Pain of Grief

The speaker’s grief is evident in the lines “She walked among the years, /A plume upon the hills/And many a rider’s eye/Enchanted of her body still.” The image of their lost love walking among the hills with a plume on her head is beautiful, but it is also a reminder of what has been lost.

The reference to “many a rider’s eye” suggests that their lost love was admired by many, but none of them were able to fully capture her heart. This is a source of pain for the speaker, who wishes that things had been different.

The Futility of Love

The poem explores the futility of love in the face of death. The lines “And there she lulled me asleep/And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!/The latest dream I ever dreamed/On the cold hillside” suggest that even in death, the speaker’s lost love has the power to comfort them.

However, the next lines show that this comfort is fleeting: “I saw pale kings and princes too,/Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;/They cried—‘La belle dame sans merci/Hath thee in thrall!’” The image of “pale kings and princes” is a reminder that even those in positions of power cannot escape death.

The reference to “La belle dame sans merci,” a French phrase meaning “the beautiful lady without mercy,” suggests that the speaker’s lost love was not only beautiful, but also merciless. This is a painful realization for the speaker, who had invested so much in their relationship.


In conclusion, “The Lover Mourns For The Loss Of Love” is a powerful elegy that explores the pain of grief and the futility of love in the face of death. The poem is a reminder that even the most beautiful relationships can come to an end, and that we must cherish those we love while we still have them.

Yeats’ use of vivid imagery and poignant language creates a powerful sense of emotion that is sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one. I highly recommend this poem to anyone who is interested in exploring the complexities of the human heart.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Lover Mourns For The Loss Of Love: A Heartbreaking Poem by William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, is known for his profound and deeply emotional works. His poem, The Lover Mourns For The Loss Of Love, is a prime example of his ability to capture the essence of human emotions and experiences in his writing.

The poem, which was first published in 1899, is a lamentation of a lover who has lost the love of his life. The speaker in the poem is consumed by grief and despair, and his words are filled with a sense of longing and regret.

The poem is structured in three stanzas, each with four lines. The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, with the speaker expressing his sorrow and pain at the loss of his love. He describes his heart as being "heavy" and "sick with longing," and he laments that he can no longer feel the warmth of his lover's embrace.

In the second stanza, the speaker reflects on the memories of his past love. He remembers the moments they shared together, and he longs to relive those moments once again. He describes his love as being "like a bird" that has flown away, leaving him alone and empty.

The final stanza is perhaps the most poignant of the three. The speaker acknowledges that his love is gone forever, and he resigns himself to a life of loneliness and despair. He describes his heart as being "like a withered leaf," and he knows that he will never be able to love again.

The poem is filled with powerful imagery and metaphors that convey the speaker's sense of loss and despair. The use of the bird metaphor, for example, is particularly effective in conveying the fleeting nature of love. The bird is a symbol of freedom and flight, and its departure represents the loss of something that can never be regained.

Similarly, the use of the withered leaf metaphor in the final stanza is a powerful symbol of the speaker's emotional state. The withered leaf is a symbol of death and decay, and it represents the end of something that was once vibrant and alive.

Overall, The Lover Mourns For The Loss Of Love is a deeply emotional and poignant poem that captures the essence of human grief and despair. Yeats' use of powerful imagery and metaphors creates a vivid and evocative picture of the speaker's emotional state, and his words resonate with anyone who has experienced the pain of lost love.

In conclusion, The Lover Mourns For The Loss Of Love is a classic poem that continues to resonate with readers today. Its themes of love, loss, and despair are universal, and its powerful imagery and metaphors make it a timeless work of art. Yeats' ability to capture the essence of human emotions in his writing is what makes him one of the greatest poets of all time, and this poem is a testament to his talent and skill.

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