'The Indian To His Love' by William Butler Yeats

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The island dreams under the dawn
And great boughs drop tranquillity;
The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
A parrot sways upon a tree,
Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.

Here we will moor our lonely ship
And wander ever with woven hands,
Murmuring softly lip to lip,
Along the grass, along the sands,
Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:

How we alone of mortals are
Hid under quiet boughs apart,
While our love grows an Indian star,
A meteor of the burning heart,
One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam and dart,

The heavy boughs, the burnished dove
That moans and sighs a hundred days:
How when we die our shades will rove,
When eve has hushed the feathered ways,
With vapoury footsole by the water's drowsy blaze.

Editor 1 Interpretation

"The Indian To His Love" by W.B. Yeats: A Poetic Exploration of Love and Identity

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

These lines from John Masefield’s poem “Sea-Fever” could very well be the essence of William Butler Yeats’ “The Indian to His Love.” Like the restless call of the sea that pulls sailors towards it, this poem explores the irresistible pull of love and the power of identity that shapes our lives.

Written in 1888 when Yeats was only 23 years old, “The Indian to His Love” is a lyrical poem that evokes the lush beauty of India and the mythology that envelops it. It tells the story of an Indian man who is in love with a woman and longs to leave his earthly life to join her in a world of magic and myth.

The Indian and His Love: A Journey of Identity

The Indian in the poem is deeply connected to his identity as an Indian. He describes his land with pride and reverence, painting a picture of a world that is lush, vibrant and full of life. He speaks of “the peacock fans that spread / Like halcyon wings,” and the “coral reefs and amber beads,” evoking a world of beauty that is both real and fantastical.

Yet, his love for the woman in the poem is so powerful that it transcends his earthly identity. He longs to leave behind his human form and become “a bud upon the bough / A bee upon the wing,” so that he may be closer to her.

This journey of identity is a common theme in many of Yeats’ poems. He believed that our identities are shaped by the stories that we tell ourselves and that our sense of self can be transformed by our experiences.

In “The Indian to His Love,” the Indian’s journey of identity is a deeply personal one, shaped by his love for the woman. It is a journey that is both physical and metaphysical, as he transcends his earthly form to become closer to his love.

Love as a Transformative Force

Love is a transformative force in “The Indian to His Love.” It is the power that drives the Indian towards his beloved and transforms him into something greater than himself.

The Indian speaks of his love in mystical terms, describing it as a “dewy web” that is woven between himself and his love. This web connects them in a way that is both physical and spiritual, binding them together in a way that transcends their earthly identities.

The power of love is not just transformative for the Indian, but for his love as well. He speaks of her as a “cloud of dew” that is “veiled afar,” evoking an image of a woman who is both ethereal and powerful.

Love, in this poem, is not just a feeling, but a force of nature that transforms the Indian and his love into beings that are beyond their earthly identities.

The Mythology of India: A Source of Inspiration

The mythology of India is a source of inspiration for Yeats in this poem. He draws on the rich tradition of Indian mythology to create a world that is both real and fantastical.

The Indian speaks of “the silver apples of the moon / The golden apples of the sun,” referencing the ancient Indian tale of Rahu and Ketu who chase the sun and moon to eat them. He also speaks of “the purple glow-worms in the dewy grass,” evoking the image of a world that is lit by the magic of nature.

The use of mythology in this poem serves to heighten the sense of wonder and magic that permeates the Indian’s world. It also adds a layer of depth to the poem, connecting it to the rich cultural heritage of India.


“The Indian to His Love” is a powerful exploration of love, identity, and the transformative power of both. It is a poem that speaks to the human experience of longing and the desire for transcendence.

In this poem, Yeats draws on the rich mythology of India to create a world that is both real and fantastical. He uses language that is lush and evocative to paint a picture of a world that is both beautiful and magical.

Ultimately, “The Indian to His Love” is a poem that speaks to the power of love to transform us into something greater than ourselves. It is a poem that reminds us of the beauty and wonder of the world around us, and the power of the stories that we tell ourselves to shape our identities.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Indian To His Love: A Poem of Love and Longing

William Butler Yeats is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, and his works continue to inspire and captivate readers today. One of his most famous poems is "The Indian To His Love," a beautiful and haunting ode to love and longing. In this article, we will explore the themes, imagery, and symbolism of this classic poem.

The poem begins with the speaker addressing his love, an Indian maiden, and inviting her to come away with him to a magical land where they can live together in peace and happiness. The speaker describes this land as a place of "purple glow" where the "moon drowses with the fawn," and where they can "lie together on the grass." This idyllic setting is a symbol of the speaker's desire for a perfect, unspoiled love, free from the constraints and complications of the real world.

The theme of escape is central to the poem, as the speaker longs to leave behind the "grey winds" and "cold streams" of his homeland and find refuge in a place where he and his love can be together without fear or interference. This desire for escape is a common theme in Yeats' poetry, as he often wrote about the need to transcend the limitations of the physical world and find a higher, more spiritual realm.

The speaker's love for the Indian maiden is portrayed as pure and innocent, free from the corrupting influences of society. He describes her as a "wild swan" and a "white dove," symbols of purity and grace. He also speaks of her "golden sandals" and "silver dress," which suggest a regal and otherworldly beauty. The speaker's love for her is not based on physical attraction or social status, but on a deep spiritual connection that transcends the boundaries of race and culture.

The poem is also rich in imagery, with vivid descriptions of nature and the natural world. The "purple glow" of the magical land, the "wild bees" and "honey dew" that surround the lovers, and the "white moths" that flutter around them all create a dreamlike atmosphere that enhances the sense of escape and transcendence. The use of color imagery is particularly effective, with the purple, gold, and silver tones evoking a sense of luxury and opulence.

The poem's structure is also worth noting, as it is written in a traditional ballad form with four-line stanzas and a simple ABAB rhyme scheme. This structure gives the poem a musical quality, with a steady rhythm that reinforces the sense of longing and desire. The repetition of certain phrases, such as "Come away, O human child!" and "For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand," also adds to the poem's musicality and emotional impact.

In conclusion, "The Indian To His Love" is a beautiful and haunting poem that explores the themes of love, longing, and escape. Through vivid imagery and a musical structure, Yeats creates a dreamlike atmosphere that transports the reader to a magical land where love can flourish without fear or interference. The poem's message is one of hope and transcendence, as the speaker seeks to escape the limitations of the physical world and find a higher, more spiritual realm. It is a timeless work of art that continues to inspire and captivate readers today.

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