'Never Give All The Heart' by William Butler Yeats
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NEVER give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy.Kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Never Give All The Heart by William Butler Yeats: A Masterpiece of Love and Loss
What does it mean to love someone so much that you can sacrifice everything for them? This is the question at the heart of William Butler Yeats' poem "Never Give All The Heart." A master of lyrical poetry, Yeats captures the intense passion and pain of unrequited love in this classic work. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, symbolism, and language used by Yeats to evoke the complex emotions of love and loss.
The Themes of Love and Loss
At its core, "Never Give All The Heart" is a poem about the pain of loving someone who does not love you back. The speaker of the poem implores the object of his affection not to give their heart completely to another person, for fear of being hurt. He warns that "the heart is mastered by its own / by the soul's cry, and not the heart's," suggesting that love can sometimes lead us astray and make us vulnerable to heartbreak.
But why is the speaker so afraid of love? Perhaps it is because he has experienced the pain of unrequited love before. He describes the "emptying of the heart / of all but love" and the "wearying of the soul / until the wan dawn break." These lines suggest that the speaker has been through a period of intense longing and heartache, and that he fears experiencing it again.
Despite his fear, however, the speaker cannot help but love the object of his affection. He describes the beloved as someone who is "dearer than eyesight" and "more precious than the sun," emphasizing the intensity of his feelings. But even as he professes his love, the speaker acknowledges that it may not be enough. He knows that "love's bitter mystery" can sometimes cause more pain than joy, and that it requires a great deal of courage and sacrifice.
The Symbolism of the Heart
Throughout the poem, Yeats uses the symbol of the heart to represent love and passion. The speaker warns the beloved not to "give all the heart," suggesting that love is something that should be given in measured doses. He compares the heart to a "starved dog," emphasizing the idea that love can be dangerous and destructive if not controlled. This image also suggests that love can be all-consuming, like a hungry animal that devours everything in its path.
At the same time, however, the speaker also recognizes the power of love to transform us. He describes the beloved as someone who has the power to "make a casual kindness / a mighty deed," suggesting that love can inspire us to do great things. He acknowledges that "love's bitter mystery" can be painful, but also suggests that it is a mystery worth exploring.
The Language of the Poem
One of the most striking things about "Never Give All The Heart" is the beauty of its language. Yeats is a master of lyrical poetry, and his use of language in this poem is both evocative and powerful. He uses vivid imagery to bring the emotions of the poem to life, describing the "emptying of the heart / of all but love" and the "wearying of the soul / until the wan dawn break." These images create a sense of longing and heartache that is palpable.
Yeats also employs a variety of metaphors and similes to describe the beloved. He compares the beloved to a "starved dog" and a "mighty deed," emphasizing the intensity and transformative power of love. He also uses alliteration and repetition to create a sense of rhythm and flow in the poem, making it both memorable and musical.
Conclusion: A Masterpiece of Love and Loss
In conclusion, William Butler Yeats' "Never Give All The Heart" is a masterpiece of love and loss. Through its themes, symbolism, and language, the poem captures the intense passion and pain of unrequited love. The speaker warns the beloved not to give their heart completely, acknowledging the power of love to transform us but also recognizing its potential for pain and heartache. Yeats' use of vivid imagery, metaphors, and repetition create a sense of beauty and musicality in the poem, making it a joy to read and analyze. Overall, "Never Give All The Heart" is a timeless work of poetry that speaks to the very heart of human emotion.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Never Give All The Heart: An Analysis of Yeats' Classic
William Butler Yeats is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century. His works are known for their depth, complexity, and beauty. Among his many famous poems is "Never Give All The Heart," a piece that has captured the hearts of readers for generations. In this article, we will take a closer look at this classic poem and explore its themes, structure, and meaning.
The poem is a sonnet, a form of poetry that originated in Italy in the 13th century. Sonnets typically have 14 lines and follow a specific rhyme scheme. Yeats' sonnet follows the traditional rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The poem is divided into two quatrains (four-line stanzas) and two tercets (three-line stanzas).
The first quatrain sets the tone for the poem. Yeats begins with the line "Never give all the heart, for love will hardly seem worth thinking of." This line sets the theme of the poem, which is the idea that love is a fragile thing that should be guarded and protected. Yeats goes on to explain that if one gives all of their heart to someone, they risk losing everything if that person does not reciprocate their feelings. The second line of the quatrain, "To passionate women if it seem certain, / And they never dream that it fades out from kiss to kiss," suggests that women are more prone to giving their hearts away completely, without considering the consequences. Yeats warns against this, saying that love can fade away quickly and easily.
The second quatrain continues this theme, with Yeats using imagery to describe the fragility of love. He writes, "For everything that's lovely is / But a brief, dreamy, kind delight." This line suggests that love is fleeting and temporary, like a dream that fades away upon waking. Yeats goes on to say that "Love can be slain by laughter or thought," meaning that even the slightest distraction or change of heart can destroy a relationship. The final line of the quatrain, "And never give all the heart, for love will hardly seem worth thinking of / To passionate women if it seem certain," repeats the warning from the first quatrain, emphasizing the importance of guarding one's heart.
The first tercet introduces a new idea, that of the "cold, immutable moon." Yeats writes, "Though the great song return no more / There's keen delight in what we have: / The rattle of pebbles on the shore." This line suggests that even if love fades away, there is still beauty and joy to be found in the memories and experiences that were shared. The image of the moon, which is cold and unchanging, contrasts with the idea of love, which is warm and emotional. Yeats seems to be saying that while love may be fleeting, the memories and experiences that come with it are eternal.
The final tercet brings the poem to a close, with Yeats repeating the warning from the first two quatrains. He writes, "Never give all the heart, for love / Will hardly seem worth thinking of / To passionate women if it seem certain." This repetition emphasizes the importance of the message, that love is a fragile thing that should be guarded and protected. The final line of the poem, "And yet I would not have to be gone / For the mere sake of a dream," suggests that while Yeats believes in guarding one's heart, he also believes in taking risks and pursuing love, even if it may not last.
Overall, "Never Give All The Heart" is a beautiful and poignant poem that explores the fragility of love. Yeats uses imagery and repetition to emphasize the importance of guarding one's heart, while also acknowledging the beauty and joy that come with love. The poem is a testament to Yeats' skill as a poet, and to his ability to capture the complexities of human emotion in his writing.
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