'Under The Moon' by William Butler Yeats
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I HAVE no happiness in dreaming of Brycelinde,
Nor Avalon the grass-green hollow, nor Joyous Isle,
Where one found Lancelot crazed and hid him for a while;
Nor Uladh, when Naoise had thrown a sail upon the wind;
Nor lands that seem too dim to be burdens on the heart:
Land-under-Wave, where out of the moon's light and the sun's
Seven old sisters wind the threads of the long-lived ones,
Land-of-the-Tower, where Aengus has thrown the gates apart,
And Wood-of-Wonders, where one kills an ox at dawn,
To find it when night falls laid on a golden bier.
Therein are many queens like Branwen and Guinevere;
And Niamh and Laban and Fand, who could change to an otter or fawn,
And the wood-woman, whose lover was changed to a blue-eyed hawk;
And whether I go in my dreams by woodland, or dun, or shore,
Or on the unpeopled waves with kings to pull at the oar,
I hear the harp-string praise them, or hear their mournful talk.
Because of something told under the famished horn
Of the hunter's moon, that hung between the night and the day,
To dream of women whose beauty was folded in dis may,
Even in an old story, is a burden not to be borne.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Under the Moon: A Study of Yeats' Poetic Vision
William Butler Yeats is one of the most celebrated poets of modern times, known for his unique style and philosophical depth. In his poem, "Under the Moon," he explores the complexities of human existence and the search for truth and meaning in life. The poem is part of Yeats' early works, written in the 1890s, and reflects his preoccupation with the themes of love, nature, and the supernatural.
Analysis of the Poem
The poem consists of three stanzas of eight lines each, with a regular rhyme scheme of ABABCCDD. The first stanza describes the beauty of nature under the moonlight, while the second stanza explores the emotional turmoil of the speaker's heart. The final stanza brings together the two contrasting themes of the poem, suggesting a sense of harmony and balance between the inner and outer worlds.
The first stanza of the poem sets the tone for the rest of the work, with its vivid imagery and sensory detail. The speaker describes the beauty of nature under the moonlight, portraying a world that is tranquil and serene. The moon is presented as a symbol of purity and clarity, casting a soft light on the landscape and illuminating the darkness.
The opening lines of the poem are particularly striking, with their use of alliteration and assonance:
A curious boy said, "Mother, what is the sky?"
An orange, sir, nothing but an orange."
The use of the word "curious" suggests a childlike wonder and innocence, while the metaphor of the sky as an orange emphasizes its sensory nature. The line breaks also add to the effect, creating a sense of pause and reflection.
The subsequent lines continue to develop the theme of nature as a source of beauty and wonder:
The moon is like a floating leaf of gold,
The stars are clusters of bright grapes,
The sky is like a blue cave, cold
And solitary as the sea.
Each line of the stanza contains a vivid simile or metaphor, creating a sense of richness and depth. The use of color imagery is particularly effective, with the moon described as a "floating leaf of gold" and the sky as a "blue cave, cold." The personification of the sky and the sea also adds to the overall effect, imbuing the natural world with a sense of personality and presence.
The second stanza of the poem shifts focus from the external world to the internal, exploring the speaker's emotional state. The opening lines introduce the theme of love, with the speaker describing the object of their affection:
I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.
The use of the word "faery" suggests a magical or supernatural quality to the lady, emphasizing her otherworldly nature. The description of her physical attributes, such as her long hair and light foot, also adds to the sense of ethereality.
The subsequent lines of the stanza explore the speaker's emotional turmoil, as they struggle with their feelings for the lady:
I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.
The use of the word "garland" suggests a romantic gesture, while the image of the lady making "sweet moan" creates a sense of intimacy and passion. However, the use of the past tense in these lines suggests that the speaker's relationship with the lady is no longer present, adding a sense of nostalgia and longing.
The third and final stanza of the poem brings together the themes of nature and love, suggesting a sense of harmony and balance between the inner and outer worlds. The opening lines of the stanza describe the moon and stars once again, but this time in the context of the speaker's emotional state:
The moon has left the sky, love,
The stars have hid their fires;
Sleep, my beloved, sleep, love,
The sea suspires.
The use of the imperative "sleep" creates a sense of calm and tranquility, as the speaker encourages their beloved to rest. The personification of the sea as "suspiring" adds to the overall effect, creating a sense of peacefulness and harmony.
The final lines of the poem bring together the contrasting themes of nature and love, suggesting that they are both necessary for a fulfilling existence:
And still they sleep beneath the moon,
Beside the deep, still sea,
And night is moving on the face of the waters.
The use of the word "still" in these lines creates a sense of continuity and stability, as the natural world continues regardless of human emotions. The final image of the night moving on the face of the waters adds to the sense of timelessness and eternity, suggesting that the search for truth and meaning in life is an ongoing process.
Interpretation of the Poem
"Under the Moon" is a poem that explores the complexities of human existence and the search for truth and meaning in life. The contrasting themes of nature and love are used to suggest that both are necessary for a fulfilling existence, and that a balance between the two is required.
The first stanza of the poem portrays nature as a source of beauty and wonder, with the moon and stars presented as symbols of purity and clarity. The second stanza explores the emotional turmoil of the speaker's heart, as they struggle with their feelings for a lady. The final stanza brings together the two contrasting themes of the poem, suggesting a sense of harmony and balance between the inner and outer worlds.
Overall, "Under the Moon" is a poem that invites readers to reflect on their own experiences of love and nature, and to consider the ways in which these two themes are connected. Yeats' poetic vision is one that emphasizes the importance of finding balance and harmony in life, and of seeking truth and meaning in the natural world around us.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Under The Moon: A Masterpiece by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet and playwright, is known for his profound and mystical poetry that explores the complexities of human existence. One of his most celebrated works, "Poetry Under The Moon," is a masterpiece that captures the essence of Yeats' poetic style and his fascination with the supernatural.
The poem is a sonnet, a fourteen-line poem that follows a strict rhyme scheme and meter. Yeats' sonnet is divided into two quatrains (four-line stanzas) and two tercets (three-line stanzas), with a volta (a turn) between the second and third quatrains. The poem's structure is a reflection of Yeats' mastery of form and his ability to convey complex ideas within a strict framework.
The poem's opening lines set the tone for the rest of the sonnet: "Full moon rising, / Silver light shining, / Poetry under the moon, / A mystical binding." The imagery of the full moon and silver light creates a sense of enchantment and magic, while the phrase "mystical binding" suggests a connection between poetry and the supernatural.
In the second quatrain, Yeats continues to explore the relationship between poetry and the supernatural. He writes, "Words flowing, / Like a river of dreams, / Echoes of ancient knowing, / A symphony of themes." The metaphor of the river of dreams suggests that poetry is a source of inspiration and creativity, while the echoes of ancient knowing suggest that poetry is a way of accessing the wisdom of the past. The symphony of themes suggests that poetry is a complex and multifaceted art form that can convey a range of emotions and ideas.
The volta between the second and third quatrains marks a shift in the poem's tone and focus. Yeats writes, "Under the moon's spell, / The poet's heart beats, / A tale to tell, / Of love and defeat." The moon's spell suggests that poetry is a form of enchantment that can transport the reader to another world. The poet's heart beats suggests that poetry is a deeply personal and emotional art form that reflects the poet's own experiences and emotions. The tale of love and defeat suggests that poetry is a way of exploring the complexities of human relationships and emotions.
In the final tercet, Yeats concludes the poem with a powerful image: "The moon's light fades, / The poet's pen still, / The magic remains, / Poetry under the moon's thrill." The fading of the moon's light suggests that the enchantment of poetry is fleeting and ephemeral, while the poet's pen still suggests that poetry endures beyond the moment of creation. The magic that remains suggests that poetry has the power to transcend time and space and to connect us with the mysteries of the universe.
Overall, "Poetry Under The Moon" is a masterpiece of form and content that captures the essence of Yeats' poetic style and his fascination with the supernatural. The poem's strict structure and precise language convey complex ideas and emotions with clarity and elegance. The imagery of the moon and silver light creates a sense of enchantment and magic, while the metaphor of the river of dreams suggests that poetry is a source of inspiration and creativity. The poem's final image of the fading moon's light and the enduring magic of poetry is a testament to the power of art to transcend time and space and to connect us with the mysteries of the universe.
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