'Solomon To Sheba' by William Butler Yeats
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SANG Solomon to Sheba,
And kissed her dusky face,
"All day long from mid-day
We have talked in the one place,
All day long from shadowless noon
We have gone round and round
In the narrow theme of love
Like a old horse in a pound.-
To Solomon sang Sheba,
Plated on his knees,
"If you had broached a matter
That might the learned please,
You had before the sun had thrown
Our shadows on the ground
Discovered that my thoughts, not it,
Are but a narrow pound.'
Said Solomon to Sheba,
And kissed her Arab eyes,
"There's not a man or woman
Born under the skies
Dare match in learning with us two,
And all day long we have found
There's not a thing but love can make
The world a narrow pound.'
Editor 1 Interpretation
Solomon To Sheba: An Epic Love Poem
William Butler Yeats' "Solomon To Sheba" is a masterful epic love poem that tells the story of the biblical King Solomon and his love for the Queen of Sheba. This poem is a beautiful exploration of the complexities of love, power, and the divine. Yeats' use of language and imagery creates a vivid and compelling portrait of these two legendary figures.
Before diving into the poem itself, it is important to provide some context for the story of Solomon and Sheba. According to the Bible, the Queen of Sheba was a powerful and wealthy ruler who traveled to Jerusalem to meet with King Solomon. The two fell in love, but Sheba eventually returned to her own country. The story has been retold in various forms throughout history and across cultures, and Yeats' version draws upon a range of sources, including the Bible, Islamic and Jewish traditions, and his own imagination.
Imagery and Symbolism
One of the most striking aspects of "Solomon To Sheba" is Yeats' use of imagery and symbolism. Throughout the poem, he draws upon a variety of motifs, such as the sun, the moon, and the sea, to convey the power and intensity of the love between Solomon and Sheba. For example, in the opening lines, Solomon declares:
I have brought you from the mountain-top A wild dove that I have tamed, For we can never be alone With those that crowd around the throne; Lovely are many forms that fly And passion is a windswept dry, But all have found it sweet to dream Of Sheba's ***** and Solomon's cream.
Here, the image of the wild dove represents the untamed nature of their love, while the mention of the throne underscores the political implications of their relationship. The reference to "many forms that fly" suggests the transience of other romantic attachments, while the final line introduces a sensual and provocative image that sets the tone for the rest of the poem.
Yeats also uses other symbols, such as the moon and the sea, to convey the depth of Solomon and Sheba's passion. In one section, he writes:
I am as far beyond all others As moon and stars; I am as far beyond man's knowing As the ***** in the deep; In my ***** are the waters that sparkled In the dance of the dolphins, And the great ***** of the sun.
Here, the moon and stars represent the vastness and transcendence of their love, while the sea and its creatures symbolize its primal and elemental nature. The mention of the sun underscores the divine and spiritual dimension of their connection.
At its core, "Solomon To Sheba" is a poem about love in all its forms - romantic, erotic, divine. However, it also explores themes of power, wisdom, and the search for knowledge. Throughout the poem, Solomon and Sheba are presented as equals, both powerful rulers who are drawn to each other for reasons beyond politics or convenience. Yeats suggests that their love is both deeply personal and universal, transcending the boundaries of time and culture.
One particularly memorable section of the poem is when Solomon speaks of his desire for knowledge:
I desire to sleep with the swans And the nightingales, Alone, and in peace like them, And no man that is savage and fierce May come against me.
Here, Solomon's desire for solitude and knowledge is juxtaposed with the violence and chaos of the world around him. This tension between the personal and the political recurs throughout the poem, as Solomon and Sheba navigate their own love while also trying to maintain their power and influence in the world.
In "Solomon To Sheba," Yeats has crafted a powerful and evocative love poem that explores a range of themes and motifs. His use of language and imagery is masterful, conveying the depth and complexity of Solomon and Sheba's connection. This poem is a testament to the enduring power of love and its ability to transcend even the most formidable barriers.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Solomon To Sheba: A Masterpiece of Poetry by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, is known for his profound and mystical poetry that explores the themes of love, death, and spirituality. Among his many works, "Solomon To Sheba" stands out as a masterpiece of poetry that captures the essence of love, desire, and longing.
Written in 1933, "Solomon To Sheba" is a dramatic monologue that tells the story of King Solomon's love for the Queen of Sheba. The poem is set in the biblical era and draws heavily from the Old Testament story of the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon. However, Yeats takes artistic liberties with the story and creates a powerful narrative that explores the complexities of love and desire.
The poem begins with King Solomon addressing the Queen of Sheba, expressing his desire for her and his willingness to do anything to win her heart. He speaks of his wealth and power, offering her everything he has in exchange for her love. However, the Queen of Sheba is not easily swayed by Solomon's wealth and power. She challenges him to prove his love by giving up his throne and becoming a beggar.
Solomon, who is deeply in love with the Queen, agrees to her challenge and gives up his throne. He becomes a beggar and wanders the streets, hoping to win the Queen's heart. However, the Queen is still not convinced of his love and challenges him further. She asks him to give up his identity and become a nobody.
Solomon, who is now completely devoted to the Queen, agrees to her challenge and gives up his identity. He becomes a nameless beggar, wandering the streets in search of the Queen's love. Finally, the Queen is moved by Solomon's devotion and declares her love for him. The poem ends with Solomon and the Queen embracing each other, united in their love.
"Solomon To Sheba" is a powerful poem that explores the complexities of love and desire. Yeats uses biblical imagery and symbolism to create a mystical and spiritual atmosphere that adds depth and meaning to the poem. The poem is also a commentary on the nature of power and wealth, and how they can be both a blessing and a curse.
One of the most striking aspects of the poem is the way Yeats portrays King Solomon. He is not just a powerful king, but also a man deeply in love. He is willing to give up everything he has for the Queen of Sheba, even his throne and his identity. This shows the depth of his love and his willingness to sacrifice for the woman he loves.
The Queen of Sheba, on the other hand, is portrayed as a strong and independent woman who is not easily swayed by Solomon's wealth and power. She challenges him to prove his love, and only when he is willing to give up everything for her does she declare her love for him. This shows that love is not just about material possessions, but also about sacrifice and devotion.
Yeats also uses biblical imagery and symbolism to add depth and meaning to the poem. The biblical story of the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon is a powerful symbol of love and desire. The Queen's journey to Solomon's court represents the journey of the soul in search of love and spiritual fulfillment. Solomon's wealth and power represent the material world, while the Queen's challenges represent the spiritual world.
The poem is also a commentary on the nature of power and wealth. Solomon's wealth and power are both a blessing and a curse. They give him the ability to offer the Queen everything she desires, but they also make it difficult for him to prove his love. The Queen, on the other hand, is not impressed by Solomon's wealth and power. She challenges him to give up everything he has, showing that love is not about material possessions.
In conclusion, "Solomon To Sheba" is a masterpiece of poetry that explores the complexities of love, desire, and spirituality. Yeats uses biblical imagery and symbolism to create a mystical and spiritual atmosphere that adds depth and meaning to the poem. The poem is also a commentary on the nature of power and wealth, and how they can be both a blessing and a curse. Overall, "Solomon To Sheba" is a powerful and moving poem that continues to inspire and captivate readers today.
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