'On Woman' by William Butler Yeats
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MAY God be praised for woman
That gives up all her mind,
A man may find in no man
A friendship of her kind
That covers all he has brought
As with her flesh and bone,
Nor quarrels with a thought
Because it is not her own.
Though pedantry denies,
It's plain the Bible means
That Solomon grew wise
While talking with his queens.
Yet never could, although
They say he counted grass,
Count all the praises due
When Sheba was his lass,
When she the iron wrought, or
When from the smithy fire
It shuddered in the water:
Harshness of their desire
That made them stretch and yawn,
pleasure that comes with sleep,
Shudder that made them one.
What else He give or keep
God grant me -- no, not here,
For I am not so bold
To hope a thing so dear
Now I am growing old,
But when, if the tale's true,
The Pestle of the moon
That pounds up all anew
Brings me to birth again --
To find what once I had
And know what once I have known,
Until I am driven mad,
Sleep driven from my bed.
By tenderness and care.
pity, an aching head,
Gnashing of teeth, despair;
And all because of some one
perverse creature of chance,
And live like Solomon
That Sheba led a dance.
Editor 1 Interpretation
On Woman by William Butler Yeats: A Literary Criticism
Oh, how beautiful and complex is the poem "On Woman" by William Butler Yeats! It is a masterpiece that reflects on the nature of women and their place in society. In this literary criticism, we will delve into the themes, symbols, and language used by Yeats to convey his ideas.
"On Woman" is a poem that praises the beauty and power of women while also acknowledging their vulnerability and dependence on men. Yeats uses images of nature, mythology, and religion to create a rich and evocative portrait of womanhood. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which explores a different aspect of women.
In the first stanza, Yeats describes women as beautiful and ethereal creatures who are "clothed in white samite." He compares them to the moon and the stars, suggesting that they possess a mystical, otherworldly quality. However, he also acknowledges that their beauty can be fleeting and that they are subject to the whims of fate.
In the second stanza, Yeats explores the idea of women as objects of desire. He describes them as "lamps trimmed and burning" and suggests that they exist solely for the pleasure of men. However, he also acknowledges their power to inspire and uplift men, comparing them to "goddesses" who can bring enlightenment and joy.
Finally, in the third stanza, Yeats reflects on the idea that women are dependent on men for protection and support. He describes them as "the last frailties of an old man," suggesting that they are vulnerable and in need of care. However, he also acknowledges that they possess a strength and resilience that enables them to endure even in difficult circumstances.
One of the central themes of "On Woman" is the idea of womanhood as a complex and multifaceted concept. Yeats presents women as both beautiful and vulnerable, powerful and dependent. This complexity reflects the reality of women's lives, which are often shaped by a variety of social, cultural, and historical factors.
Another theme of the poem is the idea of women as objects of desire. Yeats acknowledges the sexual desire that men feel for women but also suggests that this desire can be transcended by a deeper appreciation of their beauty and power. By comparing women to goddesses and celestial beings, he suggests that they possess a spiritual and intellectual dimension that goes beyond mere physical attraction.
Finally, "On Woman" explores the idea of women as dependent on men for protection and support. Yeats acknowledges the vulnerability of women but also celebrates their strength and resilience in the face of adversity. This theme reflects the historical reality of women's lives, which have often been shaped by patriarchal structures that limit their autonomy and freedom.
One of the key symbols in "On Woman" is the image of women as celestial beings. Yeats compares them to the moon and the stars, suggesting that they possess a mystical quality that goes beyond mere physical beauty. This image reinforces the theme of women as complex and multi-dimensional beings who are both ethereal and vulnerable.
Another symbol in the poem is the lamp. Yeats describes women as "lamps trimmed and burning," suggesting that they exist to inspire and uplift men. However, he also acknowledges their power to illuminate the world and bring enlightenment to those around them. This image reinforces the theme of women as objects of desire but also suggests that they possess a spiritual and intellectual richness that transcends mere physical attraction.
Finally, the image of the old man in the third stanza is also a symbol of the vulnerability of women. Yeats describes women as "the last frailties of an old man," suggesting that they are in need of care and protection. However, he also acknowledges their resilience and strength in the face of adversity, suggesting that they possess a dignity and grace that transcends their physical frailty.
The language used by Yeats in "On Woman" is rich and evocative, filled with images of nature, mythology, and religion. He uses metaphors and similes to convey the complex nature of womanhood, creating a portrait of women that is both beautiful and vulnerable.
In the first stanza, Yeats uses the image of the moon and the stars to describe women. He writes that they are "clothed in white samite" and suggests that they possess a mystical quality that goes beyond mere physical beauty. This language reinforces the theme of women as ethereal and otherworldly beings.
In the second stanza, Yeats uses the image of the lamp to describe women. He writes that they are "lamps trimmed and burning" and suggests that they exist solely for the pleasure of men. However, he also acknowledges their power to inspire and uplift men, comparing them to "goddesses" who can bring enlightenment and joy. This language reinforces the theme of women as objects of desire but also suggests that they possess a spiritual and intellectual depth that goes beyond mere physical attraction.
Finally, in the third stanza, Yeats uses the image of the old man to describe women. He writes that they are "the last frailties of an old man" and suggests that they are in need of care and protection. However, he also acknowledges their resilience and strength in the face of adversity, suggesting that they possess a dignity and grace that goes beyond their physical frailty. This language reinforces the theme of women as vulnerable but also celebrates their strength and resilience.
In conclusion, "On Woman" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the complex nature of womanhood. Yeats presents women as both beautiful and vulnerable, powerful and dependent, and uses symbols and language to create a rich and nuanced portrait of their lives. The poem is a celebration of the beauty and power of women but also acknowledges the struggles and challenges they face in a patriarchal society. Overall, "On Woman" is a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry On Woman: A Masterpiece by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, playwright, and Nobel laureate, is known for his profound and insightful poetry. His works are a reflection of his deep understanding of human emotions, nature, and spirituality. One of his most celebrated poems is "Poetry On Woman," which is a tribute to the beauty and power of women. In this article, we will analyze and explain this masterpiece in detail.
The poem "Poetry On Woman" was first published in 1913 in Yeats' collection of poems, "The Wild Swans at Coole." It is a sonnet, which is a fourteen-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme. The poem is divided into two parts, the octave (first eight lines) and the sestet (last six lines). The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
The poem begins with the speaker addressing the muse of poetry, asking her to inspire him to write about women. He says, "What need you, being come to sense, / But fumble in a greasy till / And add the halfpence to the pence / And prayer to shivering prayer, until / You have dried the marrow from the bone?" Here, the speaker is criticizing the muse for wasting her time on trivial things like counting money and praying, instead of inspiring poets to write about the beauty of women.
In the next four lines, the speaker describes the beauty of women. He says, "For men were born to pray and save: / Romantic Ireland's dead and gone, / It's with O'Leary in the grave." Here, the speaker is lamenting the loss of romanticism in Ireland and how men have become too focused on practical matters like saving money. He then goes on to say, "Yet they were of a different kind, / The names that stilled your childish play, / They have gone about the world like wind." Here, the speaker is referring to the heroes and legends of Ireland who inspired the muse in his childhood. He is saying that these heroes were of a different kind than the men of today, and they have gone about the world like wind, leaving behind their legacy.
In the sestet, the speaker continues to praise women and their beauty. He says, "But little time had they to learn, / How to love you, lady, as men should: / They had given their hearts away, / A sordid boon!" Here, the speaker is saying that the heroes of Ireland did not have enough time to appreciate and love women as they should have. They had given their hearts away to other things, which he calls a sordid boon, meaning a worthless gift.
The speaker then goes on to say, "Maids heard the goblins cry: / 'Come buy our orchard fruits, / Come buy, come buy: / Apples and quinces, / Lemons and oranges, / Plump unpecked cherries, / Melons and raspberries, / Bloom-down-cheeked peaches, / Swart-headed mulberries, / Wild free-born cranberries, / Crab-apples, dewberries, / Pine-apples, blackberries, / Apricots, strawberries;-- / All ripe together / In summer weather,-- / Morns that pass by, / Fair eves that fly; / Come buy, come buy: / Our grapes fresh from the vine, / Pomegranates full and fine, / Dates and sharp bullaces, / Rare pears and greengages, / Damsons and bilberries, / Taste them and try: / Currants and gooseberries, / Bright-fire-like barberries, / Figs to fill your mouth, / Citrons from the South, / Sweet to tongue and sound to eye; / Come buy, come buy.'" Here, the speaker is using a metaphor to describe the beauty of women. He is comparing them to the fruits in an orchard, which are ripe and ready to be picked. He is saying that women are like these fruits, ready to be loved and appreciated.
In the last two lines of the poem, the speaker concludes by saying, "You cannot buy them in a shop, / Nor yet over the counter's edge." Here, the speaker is saying that the beauty of women cannot be bought or sold. It is something that is priceless and cannot be measured in terms of money.
In conclusion, "Poetry On Woman" is a beautiful tribute to the beauty and power of women. Yeats' use of metaphors and imagery is masterful, and he has captured the essence of what it means to appreciate and love women. The poem is a reminder that women are not objects to be bought or sold but are to be cherished and loved. It is a timeless masterpiece that will continue to inspire and move people for generations to come.
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