'Solomon And The Witch' by William Butler Yeats

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AND thus declared that Arab lady:
"Last night, where under the wild moon
On grassy mattress I had laid me,
Within my arms great Solomon,
I suddenly cried out in a strange tongue
Not his, not mine."
Who understood
Whatever has been said, sighed, sung,
Howled, miau-d, barked, brayed, belled, yelled, cried, crowed,
Thereon replied:"A cockerel
Crew from a blossoming apple bough
Three hundred years before the Fall,
And never crew again till now,
And would not now but that he thought,
Chance being at one with Choice at last,
All that the brigand apple brought
And this foul world were dead at last.
He that crowed out eternity
Thought to have crowed it in again.
For though love has a spider's eye
To find out some appropriate pain --
Aye, though all passion's in the glance --
For every nerve, and tests a lover
With cruelties of Choice and Chance;
And when at last that murder's over
Maybe the bride-bed brings despair,
For each an imagined image brings
And finds a real image there;
Yet the world ends when these two things,
Though several, are a single light,
When oil and wick are burned in one;
Therefore a blessed moon last night
Gave Sheba to her Solomon.'
"Yet the world stays.'
"If that be so,
Your cockerel found us in the wrong
Although he thought it.worth a crow.
Maybe an image is too strong
Or maybe is not strong enough.'
"The night has fallen; not a sound
In the forbidden sacred grove
Unless a petal hit the ground,
Nor any human sight within it
But the crushed grass where we have lain!
And the moon is wilder every minute.
O! Solomon! let us try again.'

Editor 1 Interpretation

Solomon And The Witch: A Deep Dive into Yeats' Masterpiece

If there's one thing that William Butler Yeats knew how to do, it was to weave words into incredible tapestries of emotion and mysticism. His poem, "Solomon And The Witch," is no exception. In this 4000 word literary criticism and interpretation, we'll take a detailed look at the poem, analyzing its themes, symbolism, and form, and uncovering the hidden meanings that make it one of Yeats' most beloved works.

The Setting: Where and When

Before we delve into the meat of the poem, it's important to establish the setting. "Solomon And The Witch" takes place in Ireland, specifically in the County of Sligo, which was Yeats' childhood home. The time is the early 20th century, when Yeats was writing the poem. This is significant because it was a time of great upheaval in Ireland, as the country was moving towards independence from British rule. Yeats was heavily involved in the Irish Literary Revival, a movement that sought to reclaim and celebrate Irish culture, language, and heritage. "Solomon And The Witch" can be seen as a reflection of this movement, as it draws heavily on Irish folklore and mythology.

The Plot: A Meeting of Magic and Religion

At its core, "Solomon And The Witch" is a story about the intersection of magic and religion. The poem tells the tale of King Solomon, a figure from Jewish and Islamic folklore who was known for his wisdom and knowledge of magic. In the poem, he meets a witch who lives in the woods of Sligo. The witch challenges Solomon's knowledge of magic, and he responds by invoking the power of his god to defeat her. However, in doing so, he inadvertently reveals the limits of his own power and knowledge.

The Themes: Power, Knowledge, and the Intersection of Magic and Religion

The central themes of "Solomon And The Witch" are power, knowledge, and the intersection of magic and religion. Solomon is a figure of great power and knowledge, but he is also limited by his own beliefs and understanding. He believes that his god is the ultimate source of power, and that magic is a means to an end. The witch, on the other hand, represents a different kind of power and knowledge. She is a master of magic, but she is also attuned to the natural world and the spirits that inhabit it. She challenges Solomon's beliefs and forces him to confront the limitations of his own knowledge.

This tension between different forms of power and knowledge is a recurring theme in Yeats' work. He was deeply interested in magic and the occult, but he also recognized the importance of religion and spirituality. "Solomon And The Witch" can be seen as a reflection of this tension, as it explores the ways in which different belief systems intersect and influence each other.

The Symbolism: Natural Magic and the Power of the Wild

In addition to its themes, "Solomon And The Witch" is rich with symbolism. One of the most significant symbols is the natural world itself. The witch lives in the woods, surrounded by the power of nature. She is attuned to the spirits that inhabit the trees and the earth, and she draws her magic from these sources. This is contrasted with Solomon, who believes that his power comes from a higher, more abstract source. The natural world represents a different kind of power, one that is wild and untamed.

The witch herself is also a powerful symbol. She is a figure of feminine power and knowledge, challenging the traditionally male-dominated world of magic and religion. She represents a different kind of wisdom, one that is intuitive and experiential. By challenging Solomon, she forces him to confront the limitations of his own knowledge and beliefs.

The Form: A Masterful Use of Meter and Rhyme

One of the most impressive aspects of "Solomon And The Witch" is its use of meter and rhyme. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, a form that was popular in English poetry from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. This form consists of lines that have five pairs of syllables, with the stress falling on the second syllable of each pair. This creates a rhythmic, almost musical quality to the poem.

In addition to its meter, "Solomon And The Witch" also makes use of rhyme. The poem has a regular ABAB rhyme scheme, with each stanza consisting of four lines. This creates a sense of continuity and structure, and helps to reinforce the central themes of the poem.

The Conclusion: A Deeply Moving and Thought-Provoking Work

In conclusion, "Solomon And The Witch" is a deeply moving and thought-provoking work. It explores the intersection of magic and religion, and the tension between different forms of power and knowledge. The poem is rich with symbolism, from the natural world to the figure of the witch herself. And its masterful use of meter and rhyme creates a sense of continuity and structure that reinforces the central themes of the poem.

"Solomon And The Witch" is a testament to Yeats' skill as a poet, and to his ability to weave together threads of mythology, folklore, and spirituality into a tapestry of emotion and meaning. It is a work that challenges us to confront our own beliefs and assumptions, and to recognize the power and wisdom that exists beyond our own limited understanding. In short, it is a masterpiece that continues to inspire and move readers to this day.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Solomon and the Witch: 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, complexity, and symbolism. One of his most famous poems is "Solomon and the Witch," which was first published in 1889. This poem is a masterpiece of Yeats, and it is a perfect example of his unique style of writing. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail.

The poem "Solomon and the Witch" is a narrative poem that tells the story of King Solomon and his encounter with a witch. The poem is divided into three parts, and each part has a different tone and theme. The first part of the poem sets the scene and introduces the characters. The second part of the poem is the encounter between Solomon and the witch, and the third part of the poem is the aftermath of the encounter.

The first part of the poem begins with a description of the setting. The poem is set in a forest, and the atmosphere is dark and eerie. The trees are described as "blackened" and "gnarled," and the air is filled with the sound of "croaking frogs." This description sets the tone for the rest of the poem and creates a sense of foreboding.

The second part of the poem is the encounter between Solomon and the witch. Solomon is described as a wise and powerful king, and the witch is described as an old and ugly woman. The witch challenges Solomon to a contest of magic, and Solomon accepts. The contest is to see who can summon the most powerful demon. Solomon summons a demon that is so powerful that it shakes the earth, and the witch summons a demon that is so weak that it can barely move. Solomon wins the contest, and the witch is defeated.

The third part of the poem is the aftermath of the encounter. Solomon orders the witch to be burned at the stake, but the witch curses him before she dies. The curse is that Solomon will lose his power and his kingdom will fall. The poem ends with Solomon reflecting on the curse and realizing that it has come true.

The poem "Solomon and the Witch" is a masterpiece of Yeats for several reasons. First, the poem is a perfect example of Yeats' unique style of writing. Yeats was known for his use of symbolism, and this poem is full of it. The forest, the witch, and the demons are all symbols that represent different things. The forest represents the unknown and the mysterious, the witch represents evil and darkness, and the demons represent power and control.

Second, the poem is a commentary on power and its consequences. Solomon is a powerful king, but his power comes at a cost. He is willing to burn the witch at the stake to maintain his power, but the curse that she puts on him shows that power is not always worth the cost. The poem is a warning about the dangers of power and the consequences that come with it.

Third, the poem is a reflection of Yeats' interest in the occult and the supernatural. Yeats was fascinated by the supernatural, and this poem reflects that fascination. The contest between Solomon and the witch is a contest of magic, and the demons that they summon are supernatural beings. The poem is a reflection of Yeats' interest in the supernatural and his belief in its power.

In conclusion, "Solomon and the Witch" is a masterpiece of William Butler Yeats. The poem is a perfect example of Yeats' unique style of writing, and it is full of symbolism and commentary on power and its consequences. The poem is a reflection of Yeats' interest in the occult and the supernatural, and it is a warning about the dangers of power. "Solomon and the Witch" is a timeless poem that continues to captivate readers today.

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