'Under The Round Tower' by William Butler Yeats
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"ALTHOUGH I'd lie lapped up in linen
A deal I'd sweat and little earn
If I should live as live the neighbours,'
Cried the beggar, Billy Byrne;
"Stretch bones till the daylight come
On great-grandfather's battered tomb.'
Upon a grey old battered tombstone
In Glendalough beside the stream
Where the O'Byrnes and Byrnes are buried,
He stretched his bones and fell in a dream
Of sun and moon that a good hour
Bellowed and pranced in the round tower;
Of golden king and Silver lady,
Bellowing up and bellowing round,
Till toes mastered a sweet measure,
Mouth mastered a sweet sound,
Prancing round and prancing up
Until they pranced upon the top.
That golden king and that wild lady
Sang till stars began to fade,
Hands gripped in hands, toes close together,
Hair spread on the wind they made;
That lady and that golden king
Could like a brace of blackbirds sing.
"It's certain that my luck is broken,'
That rambling jailbird Billy said;
"Before nightfall I'll pick a pocket
And snug it in a feather bed.
I cannot find the peace of home
On great-grandfather's battered tomb.'
Editor 1 Interpretation
Under The Round Tower: A Masterpiece by W.B. Yeats
Have you ever been captivated by a poem that transports you to another world? That is the feeling one gets when they read Under The Round Tower by William Butler Yeats. This masterpiece of a poem is filled with the beauty of Irish mythology and folklore, making it a classic that has stood the test of time. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the themes, symbols, and literary devices used in Under The Round Tower, and how they contribute to the overall meaning of the poem.
Before we begin, let's read the poem in full:
'Although I'd lie lapped up in linen A deal I'd sweat and little earn If I should live as live the neighbours,' Cried the beggar, Billy Byrne; 'Stretch bones till the daylight come On great-grandfather's battered tomb.' Upon a grey old battered tombstone In Glendalough beside the stream, Where the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles are lying, Lies young Byrne, half awake in a dream; And he hears the trout in the river flowing, And the linnet and the cuckoo crying. And all the complex Celtic beauty Is folded in the heart of Ireland: Bedouin, Arab, and Berber In Ireland's crowds am I the stranger Who knows upon what drum it pounds. With its barbaric lustre now The living room replenished me -- Room of plenty, with strong doors And fortress walls of oakwood and adze. The bed sheets wrung damp with tears Mourned the dreams that had come by night, And the sun was a bird of fire. The poet, John Masefield, praised The lovely, mournful, mystical, Wonderful rhythm of Innisfree. But let me praise, for I am free The mountains of the Coole estate, The heart-shaped mountain where, long ago, Phœbe lived with her mother and father, Their bed a milk-pail filled with wheat-straw. Phœbe and her mother and Comyn, All that are beautiful, bidden farewell; Magee with the pipe and the hob-nailed boots, Kevin O'Higgins with his lance and his shield, And the bundle of memories that are our's yet. There is some shadow in the grass, Some spirit that is the heart of Ireland, Some essence of great beauty moving To make us all one perfect thing. O heart of hearts, inhabited by silence, Where the ancestral voices blend In a fluttering mass of flames, Who was it came and took us away And slivered through my body with a sword? Then I grew old, and my hair turned grey, I found a wife, and I had a child. The dreams of youth are the regrets of maturity, For youth is the time of youth. We can only dream of what might have been, But what is, is forever. The voice of the river and the voice of the sea Are one voice, singing in the silence. But the heart of Ireland is silent. It is the beating heart of a nation, the pulse that drives its people forward. It is the essence of Ireland, the thing that makes it unique and special.
One of the central themes in Under The Round Tower is the presence and importance of Irish mythology and folklore. Yeats, being a prominent figure in the Irish literary revival movement, was passionate about preserving Irish culture and history. The poem is filled with references to Irish mythology, with mentions of Glendalough, the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles, and the Celtic beauty that is folded in the heart of Ireland. This theme is seen in many of Yeats' other works, as he believed that through literature, the culture and history of Ireland could be preserved and celebrated.
Another theme that is present in the poem is the idea of time and age. This theme is seen in the line "I grew old, and my hair turned grey," as well as the mention of great-grandfather's battered tomb. This theme reflects Yeats' own thoughts on aging and the passing of time, as he wrote extensively on the subject in his later works. The poem suggests that time is a force that cannot be stopped or slowed down, and that we must make the most of the time we have.
The final theme that is present in the poem is the idea of identity and belonging. This theme is seen in the lines "Bedouin, Arab, and Berber / In Ireland's crowds am I the stranger / Who knows upon what drum it pounds." The poem suggests that identity is not fixed or permanent, and that one can feel like a stranger in their own land. This theme is particularly relevant in the context of Irish history, as Ireland has a long and complex history of colonization and immigration.
One of the most prominent symbols in the poem is the round tower. The tower is mentioned in the title of the poem and is referenced throughout, with lines such as "Upon a grey old battered tombstone / In Glendalough beside the stream, / Where the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles are lying, / Lies young Byrne, half awake in a dream." The tower symbolizes the rich history and culture of Ireland, particularly in the context of the Irish monastic tradition. The tower is also a symbol of strength and resilience, as it has survived for centuries despite being battered and worn.
Another symbol in the poem is the river. The river is mentioned several times throughout the poem, with lines such as "And he hears the trout in the river flowing." The river symbolizes the passage of time and the inevitability of change. It also symbolizes the natural beauty and majesty of Ireland, as many of Ireland's rivers are famous for their scenic beauty.
One of the most prominent literary devices used in the poem is imagery. The poem is filled with vivid descriptions of natural beauty and landscapes, such as "The mountains of the Coole estate," "the trout in the river flowing," and "the linnet and the cuckoo crying." These descriptions help to create a vivid picture in the reader's mind and contribute to the overall tone and atmosphere of the poem.
Another literary device used in the poem is repetition. The phrase "I grew old, and my hair turned grey" is repeated several times throughout the poem, emphasizing the theme of time and age. The repetition of this phrase creates a sense of inevitability and inevitability, suggesting that aging is a universal experience that cannot be avoided.
Finally, the poem makes use of allusion, particularly to Irish mythology and folklore. The mention of Glendalough, the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles, and the Celtic beauty folded in the heart of Ireland all reference Irish history and culture. These allusions help to create a sense of depth and richness in the poem and contribute to its overall meaning.
In conclusion, Under The Round Tower is a masterful poem that is rich in themes, symbols, and literary devices. The poem reflects Yeats' passion for preserving Irish culture and history and his fascination with the passing of time and the inevitability of aging. The poem is filled with vivid imagery and allusions to Irish mythology, creating a sense of depth and complexity. Overall, Under The Round Tower is a timeless classic that continues to captivate readers with its beauty and depth.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Under The Round Tower: A Masterpiece of William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century. His works are known for their depth, beauty, and complexity. Among his many masterpieces, Poetry Under The Round Tower stands out as a true gem. This poem is a perfect example of Yeats' ability to weave together different themes and ideas into a cohesive and powerful piece of literature. In this article, we will explore the meaning and significance of Poetry Under The Round Tower.
The poem begins with a description of a round tower, a common sight in Ireland. Yeats describes the tower as "a lonely sentinel" that stands "in the midst of fields." The tower is a symbol of Ireland's ancient past, a reminder of the country's rich history and culture. Yeats uses the tower as a metaphor for the power of poetry, which he sees as a way to connect with the past and preserve the traditions of a people.
The second stanza of the poem introduces the theme of love. Yeats describes a young couple who are "lost in love's first mystery." The couple is oblivious to the world around them, lost in their own world of passion and desire. Yeats uses this image to contrast the power of love with the isolation of the tower. While the tower is a symbol of Ireland's past, love is a symbol of the present and the future. Yeats suggests that love is a force that can transcend time and connect people across generations.
The third stanza of the poem introduces the theme of death. Yeats describes the tower as a place where "the dead lie down." He suggests that the tower is a place of rest and peace, where the souls of the departed can find solace. Yeats uses this image to contrast the power of death with the power of poetry. While death is a natural part of life, poetry is a way to transcend death and connect with the past. Yeats suggests that poetry is a way to keep the memories of the dead alive and to honor their legacy.
The fourth stanza of the poem introduces the theme of nature. Yeats describes the tower as a place where "the winds of heaven blow." He suggests that the tower is a place where nature and humanity come together. Yeats uses this image to suggest that poetry is a way to connect with the natural world and to find meaning in the beauty of the world around us.
The final stanza of the poem brings together all of these themes into a powerful conclusion. Yeats suggests that poetry is a way to connect with the past, the present, and the future. He suggests that poetry is a way to transcend death and to keep the memories of the dead alive. He suggests that poetry is a way to connect with the natural world and to find meaning in the beauty of the world around us. In short, Yeats suggests that poetry is a way to connect with the essence of life itself.
In conclusion, Poetry Under The Round Tower is a masterpiece of William Butler Yeats. It is a powerful and moving poem that explores the themes of love, death, nature, and the power of poetry. Yeats uses the image of a round tower to symbolize the power of poetry to connect with the past and to preserve the traditions of a people. He suggests that poetry is a way to transcend death and to keep the memories of the dead alive. He suggests that poetry is a way to connect with the natural world and to find meaning in the beauty of the world around us. Poetry Under The Round Tower is a true gem of literature, and a testament to the power of poetry to move and inspire us.
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