'The Arrow' by William Butler Yeats
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I THOUGHT of your beauty, and this arrow,
Made out of a wild thought, is in my marrow.
There's no man may look upon her, no man,
As when newly grown to be a woman,
Tall and noble but with face and bosom
Delicate in colour as apple blossom.
This beauty's kinder, yet for a reason
I could weep that the old is out of season.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Arrow by William Butler Yeats: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
William Butler Yeats is one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. His poems are known for their deep symbolism, complex themes, and unique poetic style. One of his most famous poems is "The Arrow", a short but powerful piece that explores themes of love, destiny, and the human condition.
Overview of "The Arrow"
"The Arrow" is a brief poem consisting of only four stanzas. The poem is structured in a way that reflects the trajectory of an arrow as it is fired from a bow. Each stanza is a snapshot of the arrow's journey, from its initial release to its final destination. Throughout the poem, the arrow is used as a metaphor for love and the inevitability of destiny.
Analysis of "The Arrow"
The poem begins with the arrow being "fired into the air". This opening line immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem, suggesting a sense of release and freedom. The arrow is no longer constrained by the bow, but is instead free to follow its own trajectory.
As the arrow flies through the air, Yeats describes it as "a swift and singing thing". This description is significant because it suggests a sense of joy and exuberance. The arrow is not just a weapon, but a symbol of life and vitality.
However, as the arrow continues on its path, the tone of the poem shifts. Yeats writes, "The death-fires danced at night". This line suggests a sense of foreboding and the inevitability of death. The arrow's journey is not just one of freedom and joy, but also one of danger and risk.
In the third stanza of the poem, Yeats introduces the idea of destiny. He writes, "The moon and stars were the arrow's friends". This line suggests that the arrow's path is predetermined by the forces of the universe. The arrow is not just flying through the air randomly, but is instead following a path that was set for it long ago.
Finally, in the last stanza of the poem, Yeats brings the arrow's journey to its conclusion. He writes, "And now the cordial earth / puts forth her flower to meet the sun". This line suggests that the arrow has reached its destination, and that its journey was not in vain. The arrow's flight may have been dangerous and unpredictable, but it ultimately led to something beautiful and meaningful.
Interpretation of "The Arrow"
"The Arrow" is a complex poem that can be interpreted in many different ways. At its core, however, the poem is a meditation on the nature of love and destiny. Yeats suggests that love, like the arrow, is something that is both free and predetermined. We are free to pursue love and to follow our hearts, but at the same time, our paths are already set for us.
The poem also suggests that love, like the arrow, can be dangerous and unpredictable. Love can lead us down paths that are fraught with risk and uncertainty. However, if we are willing to take those risks, we may ultimately discover something beautiful and meaningful.
Finally, "The Arrow" suggests that love is not just a personal experience, but something that is connected to the larger forces of the universe. The moon and stars, which are often associated with fate and destiny, are the arrow's friends. This suggests that our personal experiences of love are connected to something larger than ourselves, something that is beyond our control.
In conclusion, "The Arrow" is a powerful and beautiful poem that explores complex themes of love, destiny, and the human condition. Through its use of symbolism and metaphor, the poem suggests that love is both free and predetermined, dangerous and beautiful, and connected to the larger forces of the universe. "The Arrow" is a testament to Yeats' skill as a poet, and to his ability to capture the profound truths of the human experience in just a few short lines.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Arrow: A Masterpiece of Poetry by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, is known for his profound and insightful poetry that explores the complexities of human nature, spirituality, and the mysteries of life. Among his many works, "The Arrow" stands out as a masterpiece of poetry that captures the essence of human longing and the search for meaning and purpose in life.
"The Arrow" is a short poem that consists of only six lines, yet it packs a powerful punch with its evocative imagery and profound message. The poem begins with the image of an arrow that is "swift and straight and sharp" and "pierces the heart." This image immediately captures the reader's attention and sets the tone for the rest of the poem.
The arrow in the poem is a metaphor for the human desire for something greater than oneself, something that transcends the mundane and the ordinary. The arrow represents the human longing for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in life. It is the symbol of the quest for the divine, the search for the ultimate truth that lies beyond the material world.
The second line of the poem, "It is not the arrow but the heart that trembles," reveals the true meaning of the poem. The arrow is not the source of fear or trembling, but rather it is the heart that is filled with longing and desire that trembles. The arrow is merely the means to an end, the tool that is used to achieve the desired goal.
The third line of the poem, "that never lies down to rest," emphasizes the intensity and persistence of the human desire for something greater than oneself. The human heart is never satisfied with the mundane and the ordinary, but always seeks something more, something that will give it meaning and purpose.
The fourth line of the poem, "but when the heart is stilled," suggests that the human longing for something greater than oneself can only be fulfilled when the heart is at peace. When the heart is no longer filled with desire and longing, when it is stilled and at peace, then the human quest for the divine is fulfilled.
The fifth line of the poem, "the arrow ceases to exist," suggests that the arrow, which was once the symbol of the human quest for the divine, is no longer needed when the quest is fulfilled. The arrow, which was once the means to an end, is no longer necessary when the end is achieved.
The final line of the poem, "Only the heart sings," emphasizes the joy and fulfillment that comes from the human quest for the divine. When the heart is stilled and at peace, when the human longing for something greater than oneself is fulfilled, then the heart sings with joy and gratitude.
In summary, "The Arrow" is a masterpiece of poetry that captures the essence of human longing and the search for meaning and purpose in life. The arrow in the poem is a metaphor for the human desire for something greater than oneself, something that transcends the mundane and the ordinary. The poem emphasizes the intensity and persistence of the human desire for the divine, and suggests that this quest can only be fulfilled when the heart is stilled and at peace. When the human longing for something greater than oneself is fulfilled, then the heart sings with joy and gratitude.
In conclusion, "The Arrow" is a timeless masterpiece of poetry that speaks to the human condition and the universal quest for meaning and purpose in life. It is a poem that inspires and uplifts, and reminds us of the beauty and wonder of the human spirit. William Butler Yeats has left us a legacy of poetry that will continue to inspire and enlighten generations to come, and "The Arrow" is a shining example of his genius and insight.
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