'Broken Dreams' by William Butler Yeats
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THERE is grey in your hair.
Young men no longer suddenly catch their breath
When you are passing;
But maybe some old gaffer mutters a blessing
Because it was your prayer
Recovered him upon the bed of death.
For your sole sake -- that all heart's ache have known,
And given to others all heart's ache,
From meagre girlhood's putting on
Burdensome beauty -- for your sole sake
Heaven has put away the stroke of her doom,
So great her portion in that peace you make
By merely walking in a room.
Your beauty can but leave among us
Vague memories, nothing but memories.
A young man when the old men are done talking
Will say to an old man, "Tell me of that lady
The poet stubborn with his passion sang us
When age might well have chilled his blood.'
Vague memories, nothing but memories,
But in the grave all, all, shall be renewed.
The certainty that I shall see that lady
Leaning or standing or walking
In the first loveliness of womanhood,
And with the fervour of my youthful eyes,
Has set me muttering like a fool.
You are more beautiful than any one,
And yet your body had a flaw:
Your small hands were not beautiful,
And I am afraid that you will run
And paddle to the wrist
In that mysterious, always brimming lake
Where those What have obeyed the holy law
paddle and are perfect.Leave unchanged
The hands that I have kissed,
For old sake's sake.
The last stroke of midnight dies.
All day in the one chair
From dream to dream and rhyme to rhyme I have
In rambling talk with an image of air:
Vague memories, nothing but memories.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Broken Dreams by William Butler Yeats: A Poem of Nostalgia and Regret
I stumbled upon William Butler Yeats' poem "Broken Dreams" the other day, and I was immediately gripped by its haunting tone and melancholic imagery. I couldn't help but wonder what inspired Yeats to write such a poignant and introspective work. As I delved deeper into the poem, I began to unravel the layers of meaning and interpretation that make "Broken Dreams" such a timeless and powerful work of literature.
At its core, "Broken Dreams" is a poem about the inevitability of change and the bittersweet nostalgia that accompanies it. Yeats begins by describing a time of youth and innocence, when everything seemed possible and the future was filled with endless promise. He writes:
"There is grey in your hair. Young men no longer suddenly catch their breath When you are passing; But maybe some old gaffer mutters a blessing Because it was your prayer Recovered him upon the bed of death."
These lines perfectly capture that feeling of wistfulness that we all experience when we look back on our youth. Yeats is lamenting the loss of a time when he was young and vibrant, when he still had the power to inspire awe in others.
However, as the poem progresses, Yeats becomes increasingly aware of the passing of time and the inevitability of change. He writes:
"Although I can see nothing That is famous in the world of art, I know that you are held as great In the memory of your heart."
Here, Yeats is acknowledging that the things that once seemed important to him – fame, success, and recognition – have lost their shine. He realizes that what truly matters in life is the memories and experiences that we hold dear in our hearts.
But even as Yeats accepts the transience of life, he cannot help but feel a sense of regret for all that he has lost. He writes:
"The dreamers of the day are dangerous men, For they may act their dreams with open eyes, To make it possible. This I did, and this I dreamed, And this I wished to make."
These lines are particularly poignant because they show Yeats looking back on his life with a sense of longing and regret. He realizes that he had dreams and visions that he never acted upon, and now it is too late to turn back the clock and make them a reality.
Ultimately, I think that "Broken Dreams" is a poem about the human condition – our fears, our regrets, and our longing for a time that we can never recapture. Yeats is reminding us that life is fleeting, and we should appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world before it is too late.
In conclusion, "Broken Dreams" is a powerful and moving poem that speaks to the universal experience of nostalgia and regret. Yeats captures the essence of what it means to be human, with all of our hopes, dreams, fears, and regrets. As I read this poem, I couldn't help but feel a sense of awe at the depth and complexity of Yeats' writing. It is no wonder that he is considered one of the greatest poets of all time.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
William Butler Yeats’ “Broken Dreams” is a classic poem that explores the theme of lost love and the pain that comes with it. The poem is a reflection of the poet’s own experiences with love and heartbreak, and it is written in a style that is both melancholic and beautiful. In this analysis, we will take a closer look at the poem and explore its meaning, structure, and literary devices.
The poem begins with the speaker reflecting on the past and the memories of a lost love. The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as the speaker describes the “dreams” that have been shattered and the “hopes” that have been dashed. The use of the word “broken” in the title of the poem is significant, as it suggests that the dreams and hopes that the speaker once had have been irreparably damaged.
The second stanza of the poem is particularly poignant, as the speaker describes the pain that comes with lost love. The use of the word “sorrow” is particularly effective, as it conveys a sense of deep sadness and grief. The speaker also describes the “lonely heart” that is left behind after a relationship ends, which is a common experience for anyone who has ever been through a breakup.
The third stanza of the poem is perhaps the most beautiful, as the speaker describes the memories of the lost love that still linger. The use of the word “haunted” is particularly effective, as it suggests that the memories of the lost love are like ghosts that continue to haunt the speaker. The use of the word “golden” to describe the memories is also significant, as it suggests that the love that was once shared was precious and valuable.
The fourth stanza of the poem is a reflection on the passage of time and the inevitability of change. The speaker describes how the world has changed since the love was lost, and how the memories of the lost love have become “faded” and “dim.” The use of the word “ghostly” is particularly effective, as it suggests that the memories of the lost love are becoming less tangible and more like a distant memory.
The final stanza of the poem is a reflection on the speaker’s own mortality and the inevitability of death. The speaker describes how even the memories of the lost love will eventually fade away, and how the speaker will eventually be forgotten. The use of the word “dust” is particularly effective, as it suggests that the memories of the lost love will eventually be reduced to nothing more than a pile of dust.
In terms of structure, the poem is written in five stanzas of four lines each. The use of quatrains is significant, as it suggests a sense of order and symmetry. The rhyme scheme of the poem is also significant, as it is written in an ABAB pattern. This pattern creates a sense of rhythm and flow, which is particularly effective in conveying the emotions of the speaker.
In terms of literary devices, the poem is rich in imagery and metaphor. The use of the word “broken” in the title of the poem is a metaphor for the shattered dreams and hopes of the speaker. The use of the word “haunted” to describe the memories of the lost love is also a metaphor, as it suggests that the memories are like ghosts that continue to haunt the speaker.
The use of the word “golden” to describe the memories of the lost love is an example of imagery, as it creates a vivid picture in the reader’s mind. The use of the word “dust” in the final stanza is also an example of imagery, as it suggests the finality of death and the eventual fading away of all memories.
In conclusion, William Butler Yeats’ “Broken Dreams” is a beautiful and poignant poem that explores the theme of lost love and the pain that comes with it. The poem is rich in imagery and metaphor, and it is written in a style that is both melancholic and beautiful. The use of quatrains and the ABAB rhyme scheme create a sense of order and symmetry, which is particularly effective in conveying the emotions of the speaker. Overall, “Broken Dreams” is a classic poem that continues to resonate with readers today.
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