'The Song Of The Happy Shepherd' by William Butler Yeats
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THE woods of Arcady are dead,
And over is their antique joy;
Of old the world on dreaming fed;
Grey Truth is now her painted toy;
Yet still she turns her restless head:
But O, sick children of the world,
Of all the many changing things
In dreary dancing past us whirled,
To the cracked tune that Chronos sings,
Words alone are certain good.
Where are now the warring kings,
Word be-mockers? -- By the Rood,
Where are now the watring kings?
An idle word is now their glory,
By the stammering schoolboy said,
Reading some entangled story:
The kings of the old time are dead;
The wandering earth herself may be
Only a sudden flaming word,
In clanging space a moment heard,
Troubling the endless reverie.
Then nowise worship dusty deeds,
Nor seek, for this is also sooth,
To hunger fiercely after truth,
Lest all thy toiling only breeds
New dreams, new dreams; there is no truth
Saving in thine own heart.Seek, then,
No learning from the starry men,
Who follow with the optic glass
The whirling ways of stars that pass --
Seek, then, for this is also sooth,
No word of theirs -- the cold star-bane
Has cloven and rent their hearts in twain,
And dead is all their human truth.
Go gather by the humming sea
Some twisted, echo-harbouring shell.
And to its lips thy story tell,
And they thy comforters will be.
Rewording in melodious guile
Thy fretful words a little while,
Till they shall singing fade in ruth
And die a pearly brotherhood;
For words alone are certain good:
Sing, then, for this is also sooth.
I must be gone:there is a grave
Where daffodil and lily wave,
And I would please the hapless faun,
Buried under the sleepy ground,
With mirthful songs before the dawn.
His shouting days with mirth were crowned;
And still I dream he treads the lawn,
Walking ghostly in the dew,
Pierced by my glad singing through,
My songs of old earth's dreamy youth:
But ah! she dreams not now; dream thou!
For fair are poppies on the brow:
Dream, dream, for this is also sooth.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Song Of The Happy Shepherd: A Celebration Of Innocence And Imagination
William Butler Yeats is a poet renowned for his use of symbolism, mythology, and mysticism in his works. "The Song of the Happy Shepherd," a poem from his collection "The Rose," is a testament to his poetic prowess. In this poem, Yeats celebrates the innocence and imagination of childhood, a theme that resonates with readers of all ages.
The poem opens with the image of a "happy shepherd" who is "singing in the valley" as he tends to his flock. The use of the word "happy" immediately sets the tone for the poem- it is a celebration of joy and contentment. The shepherd's song is described as "wild and sweet" and it fills the valley with its melody. This imagery creates a sense of peace and tranquility- it is as though the whole world is at peace with itself.
As the poem progresses, the shepherd becomes a symbol of childhood innocence. He is described as being "barefoot" and "laughing" which are traits that are often associated with children. The shepherd's innocence is further emphasized by the fact that he has "no thought of sorrow." He is completely absorbed in the moment, reveling in the beauty of nature around him.
The shepherd's song also plays a significant role in the poem. It is not just a simple tune, but rather a reflection of his imagination and his connection to nature. The song celebrates the beauty of the world around him, from the "green woods" to the "golden stars." Yeats uses the shepherd's song to show us how the imagination can transform even the most mundane things into something extraordinary.
In the second stanza, Yeats introduces a contrast to the idyllic scene of the valley. He describes the "sad-faced men" who live in the city and are "carried beyond their desire" by the "cursed weight" of their lives. This image creates a dichotomy between the innocence and simplicity of the shepherd's life and the complexities and sorrows of modern life.
The contrast between the shepherd and the city-dwellers is further highlighted by the imagery used to describe them. The shepherd is free-spirited and unburdened, while the city-dwellers are weighed down by their possessions and their worries. The shepherd's song is described as being "wild and sweet" while the city's noises are described as being "harsh and shrill." This contrast emphasizes the beauty and simplicity of the shepherd's life, while also highlighting the ugliness and confusion of the modern world.
As the poem concludes, the shepherd's song becomes a rallying cry for all those who yearn for a simpler and more innocent life. The final stanza describes how the shepherd's song is heard by "all the folk in a fiery ring" and how they are all "calling the young lambs." This image creates a sense of community, as though the shepherd's song has brought together a group of like-minded individuals who long for a simpler and more innocent life.
In the final lines of the poem, Yeats uses the image of the "coming of Christ" to create a sense of hope and renewal. The coming of Christ is traditionally associated with the birth of a new era, and in this poem it represents the possibility of a return to a simpler and more innocent way of life.
"The Song of the Happy Shepherd" is a celebration of childhood innocence and imagination. Through the image of the happy shepherd and his wild and sweet song, Yeats shows us the beauty and simplicity of a life lived in harmony with nature. The contrast between the shepherd and the city-dwellers highlights the ugliness and confusion of the modern world, while also showing us that there is hope for a better future.
Yeats' use of imagery and symbolism is masterful in this poem. His ability to evoke the beauty of nature and the simplicity of childhood is truly remarkable. The poem is a testament to the power of the imagination and the beauty of the natural world. It is a timeless work of art that will continue to inspire readers for generations to come.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Song of the Happy Shepherd: A Celebration of Nature and Innocence
William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, wrote The Song of the Happy Shepherd in 1899. This poem is a celebration of nature, innocence, and the simple joys of life. It tells the story of a shepherd who is happy and content with his life, living in harmony with nature and the animals around him. The poem is a beautiful example of Yeats' lyrical style and his ability to capture the essence of a moment in time.
The poem begins with the shepherd singing a song of joy and contentment. He is happy with his life and his surroundings, and he sings of the beauty of the world around him. He is surrounded by nature, and he feels at peace with the world. The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, and it is clear that the shepherd is a happy and contented man.
In the second stanza, the shepherd sings of the animals that surround him. He speaks of the deer that come to drink from the stream, and the birds that sing in the trees. He is at one with the animals, and he feels a deep connection to them. He sees them as his friends, and he is grateful for their presence in his life.
The third stanza is perhaps the most beautiful in the poem. The shepherd sings of the innocence of childhood, and the joy that comes from being young and carefree. He speaks of the children who play in the fields, and the happiness that they bring to his life. He longs to be young again, and to experience the joy of childhood once more.
In the fourth stanza, the shepherd sings of the beauty of the world around him. He speaks of the flowers that bloom in the fields, and the trees that sway in the breeze. He is in awe of the natural world, and he feels a deep sense of gratitude for all that it has to offer.
The final stanza is a celebration of life itself. The shepherd sings of the joy that comes from living in the moment, and of the happiness that can be found in the simplest of things. He is grateful for his life, and he is content with the world around him. He knows that life is fleeting, but he is determined to enjoy every moment of it.
The Song of the Happy Shepherd is a beautiful poem that celebrates the beauty of nature and the innocence of childhood. It is a reminder that happiness can be found in the simplest of things, and that we should take the time to appreciate the world around us. Yeats' lyrical style and his ability to capture the essence of a moment in time make this poem a true masterpiece of English literature.
The poem is also a reflection of Yeats' own life and his love of nature. Yeats was a passionate believer in the power of nature, and he spent much of his life exploring the natural world. He believed that nature was a source of inspiration and creativity, and he often wrote about the beauty of the natural world in his poetry.
In conclusion, The Song of the Happy Shepherd is a beautiful poem that celebrates the beauty of nature and the innocence of childhood. It is a reminder that happiness can be found in the simplest of things, and that we should take the time to appreciate the world around us. Yeats' lyrical style and his ability to capture the essence of a moment in time make this poem a true masterpiece of English literature.
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