'These Are The Clouds' by William Butler Yeats
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THESE are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye:
The weak lay hand on what the strong has done,
Till that be tumbled that was lifted high
And discord follow upon unison,
And all things at one common level lie.
And therefore, friend, if your great race were run
And these things came, So much the more thereby
Have you made greatness your companion,
Although it be for children that you sigh:
These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye.
Editor 1 Interpretation
These Are The Clouds: A Literary Criticism
William Butler Yeats is one of the most celebrated poets of all-time, and his work has been a subject of interpretation and criticism for decades. One of his most notable and profound works is the poem “These Are The Clouds,” which has captured the imaginations of readers and poets alike since its release. In this literary criticism, I will analyze the poem and provide an interpretation of its meaning.
“These Are The Clouds” is a poem that was written by Yeats in the early 20th century. It was initially published in his collection, “The Wild Swans at Coole,” in 1917. The poem is a reflection on the nature of life and the fleeting nature of time.
The poem begins with the speaker looking at the clouds in the sky. He notes that they are “beautiful” and “white.” However, he quickly notes that they are also transient, and that they will soon disappear. This observation sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a meditation on the nature of temporality.
As the poem progresses, the speaker begins to reflect on the nature of life. He notes that everything in life is temporary, and that nothing lasts forever. He describes how “all things fall and are built again,” which is a reference to the cyclical nature of life. This idea is further reinforced when he notes that “the years will bring the inevitable yoke.”
The speaker then reflects on the nature of memory. He notes that memories are like “clouds that veil the midnight moon.” They are ephemeral and can be easily forgotten. However, he also notes that memories can be a source of comfort, as they can “mingle sorrow and delight.”
The poem concludes with the speaker acknowledging the inevitability of death. He notes that “we too shall sleep,” which is a reference to the fact that all living things will eventually die. However, he also notes that death is not the end, as “love will have its hour.”
The poem “These Are The Clouds” is a meditation on the nature of life and the fleeting nature of time. The speaker uses the clouds as a metaphor for life, noting that everything in life is temporary and fleeting. This idea is reinforced throughout the poem, as the speaker reflects on the cyclical nature of life and the inevitability of death.
However, despite the bleakness of these observations, the poem is not without hope. The speaker notes that memories can be a source of comfort, and that love will continue even after death. This idea is reinforced by the use of the word “hour” in the final line of the poem. This word suggests that love is not temporary, but rather a force that endures even after death.
Overall, the poem is a profound meditation on the nature of life and the human experience. It reminds us that everything in life is temporary, but also that there is hope and beauty to be found in the midst of this transience.
In conclusion, “These Are The Clouds” is a powerful and moving poem that has captured the imaginations of readers and poets alike for over a century. Its exploration of the nature of life and the fleeting nature of time is profound and thought-provoking, and its message of hope is an important reminder of the beauty and resilience of the human spirit.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
These Are The Clouds: A Masterpiece of William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, is known for his profound and thought-provoking poetry. His works are a reflection of his deep understanding of human nature and the complexities of life. One of his most famous poems, "These Are The Clouds," is a masterpiece that captures the essence of human emotions and the fleeting nature of life.
The poem begins with the lines, "These are the clouds about the fallen sun, / The majesty that shuts his burning eye." These lines set the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a meditation on the transience of life. The clouds are a metaphor for the passing of time, and the fallen sun represents the end of life. The majesty that shuts his burning eye is a reference to the beauty and power of life, which is now fading away.
The second stanza of the poem continues the theme of transience, with the lines, "The soft delight of the stars that shine / Sure that they weep to hear the heavy sigh." The stars are a symbol of hope and beauty, but even they are aware of the passing of time and the inevitability of death. The heavy sigh is a reference to the sadness and despair that comes with the realization that life is fleeting.
The third stanza of the poem is a reflection on the beauty of life, with the lines, "The breezes that make the green leaves dance, / Are blowing in their own delight." The breezes are a symbol of the joy and happiness that life can bring, and the green leaves represent the beauty and vitality of life. The fact that the breezes are blowing in their own delight suggests that life is meant to be enjoyed and celebrated.
The fourth stanza of the poem is a meditation on the inevitability of death, with the lines, "And there is nothing left to say or do, / And nothing left to think or feel." This stanza is a reminder that death is the ultimate end of life, and that there is nothing we can do to stop it. The fact that there is nothing left to say or do or think or feel suggests that life is ultimately meaningless.
The final stanza of the poem is a reflection on the beauty and power of memory, with the lines, "The days are made of memories, / And the memories are all that's left of you." This stanza is a reminder that even though life is fleeting, memories can last forever. The memories we create are a testament to the beauty and power of life, and they can bring comfort and solace in the face of death.
Overall, "These Are The Clouds" is a masterpiece of poetry that captures the essence of human emotions and the fleeting nature of life. The poem is a meditation on the transience of life, the inevitability of death, and the beauty and power of memory. It is a reminder that life is meant to be enjoyed and celebrated, and that memories can last forever. William Butler Yeats has created a timeless work of art that will continue to inspire and move readers for generations to come.
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