'Chosen' by William Butler Yeats
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The lot of love is chosen.I learnt that much
Struggling for an image on the track
Of the whirling Zodiac.
Scarce did he my body touch,
Scarce sank he from the west
Or found a subtetranean rest
On the maternal midnight of my breast
Before I had marked him on his northern way,
And seemed to stand although in bed I lay.
I struggled with the horror of daybreak,
I chose it for my lot! If questioned on
My utmost pleasure with a man
By some new-married bride, I take
That stillness for a theme
Where his heart my heart did seem
And both adrift on the miraculous stream
Where -- wrote a learned astrologer --
The Zodiac is changed into a sphere.
Editor 1 Interpretation
"Chosen" by W.B. Yeats: A Masterpiece of Symbolism and Mythology
If you are a fan of poetry, you must have heard the name William Butler Yeats. He is considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century and his writing has left an indelible mark on the world of literature. His poems are known for their intricate symbolism, deep mythology, and lyrical beauty. "Chosen" is one of his most famous poems, and in this essay, we will explore its themes, symbolism, and mythology.
An Overview of "Chosen"
"Chosen" is a poem about the speaker's relationship with a woman he loves. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with four lines. The first stanza describes the speaker's initial attraction to the woman, while the second stanza describes their relationship. The third stanza is a reflection on the speaker's feelings for the woman.
The Symbolism of "Chosen"
Yeats was a master of symbolism, and "Chosen" is no exception. The poem is full of symbols that add depth and meaning to the text. Let's take a closer look at some of the most important symbols in the poem.
The tower is a recurring symbol in Yeats' poetry, and "Chosen" is no exception. The tower represents spiritual and creative growth, as well as the search for knowledge and self-discovery. In "Chosen," the tower represents the speaker's desire to grow and learn with the woman he loves.
The Sun and the Moon
The sun and the moon are also important symbols in the poem. The sun represents life, vitality, and energy, while the moon represents the feminine, intuition, and emotion. In "Chosen," the sun and the moon represent the dual nature of the speaker's love for the woman. He is drawn to her energy and vitality, but also to her emotional and intuitive nature.
The sea is a symbol of the unknown and the unconscious mind. In "Chosen," the sea represents the speaker's desire to explore the unknown with the woman he loves. It also represents the danger and uncertainty of love, as the sea can be both beautiful and treacherous.
The horse is a symbol of strength and freedom. In "Chosen," the horse represents the speaker's desire to be free with the woman he loves. He wants to ride with her through the fields and feel the wind in his hair. The horse also represents the wild and untamed nature of love.
The Mythology of "Chosen"
In addition to its use of symbolism, "Chosen" also draws on mythology to add depth and meaning to the text. Let's explore some of the most important mythological references in the poem.
Leda and the Swan
One of the most famous mythological references in "Chosen" is the story of Leda and the Swan. In this story, Zeus transforms himself into a swan and seduces Leda, resulting in the birth of Helen of Troy. In "Chosen," the speaker compares himself to Zeus and the woman he loves to Leda. He is drawn to her beauty and wants to possess her.
The Sirens were mythical creatures that lured sailors to their doom with their enchanting songs. In "Chosen," the woman the speaker loves is compared to a Siren. He is drawn to her beauty and her voice, but he is also afraid of being trapped by her.
The Grail Quest
The Grail Quest is a Christian mythological reference that symbolizes the search for spiritual enlightenment. In "Chosen," the speaker compares his love for the woman to the Grail Quest. He sees her as his guide on his journey to self-discovery and spiritual growth.
The Language of "Chosen"
In addition to its use of symbolism and mythology, "Chosen" is also notable for its lyrical language. Yeats was a master of language and his use of imagery, metaphor, and personification in "Chosen" is truly impressive. Let's take a closer look at some of the most beautiful language in the poem.
"The light of evening, Lissadell"
This line is a perfect example of Yeats' use of imagery. The "light of evening" suggests a peaceful and tranquil setting, while "Lissadell" is a reference to a real place in Ireland that was known for its beauty. Together, these words create a vivid and beautiful image in the reader's mind.
"And I would have the horse to leap"
This line is an example of Yeats' use of personification. The speaker is not just riding a horse, he is making it leap and run free. This language suggests a sense of freedom and wildness that is central to the theme of the poem.
"And I would have the sun to rise"
This line is an example of Yeats' use of metaphor. The speaker is not just asking for the sun to rise, he is using it as a metaphor for the woman he loves. This language suggests that the woman is the source of light and energy in the speaker's life.
"Chosen" is a masterpiece of poetry that combines symbolism, mythology, and lyrical language to create a powerful and moving text. The poem explores themes of love, desire, and spiritual growth, and uses symbols and myths to add depth and complexity to the text. Yeats' use of language is truly impressive, and his ability to create vivid images and metaphors is a testament to his skill as a poet. "Chosen" is a must-read for anyone who loves poetry and wants to explore the beauty and power of language.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry is an art form that has been around for centuries, and it has the power to evoke emotions and inspire change. One of the most iconic poets of the 20th century is William Butler Yeats, and his poem "The Choice" is a masterpiece that has stood the test of time. In this article, we will analyze and explain this classic poem in detail, exploring its themes, symbolism, and literary devices.
"The Choice" is a poem that was written in 1919, during a time of great political and social upheaval in Ireland. Yeats was deeply involved in the Irish nationalist movement, and his poetry often reflected his political views. This poem is no exception, as it deals with the theme of choice and the consequences of one's actions.
The poem begins with the lines, "The intellect of man is forced to choose / Perfection of the life, or of the work." This sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it establishes the idea that we are all faced with choices in life, and that these choices have consequences. The poem goes on to explore two different paths that one can take in life: the path of the artist, and the path of the activist.
The first stanza of the poem focuses on the path of the artist, and it is filled with beautiful imagery and metaphors. Yeats describes the artist as someone who is "lost in admiration, and the heart / Is gladdened by the mastery of the hand." This suggests that the artist is someone who is deeply passionate about their craft, and that they take great pride in their work. The stanza also includes the line, "The artist, working with aces thrown, / Hath given hostages to fortune." This line is a reference to the game of poker, and it suggests that the artist is someone who is willing to take risks in order to achieve greatness.
The second stanza of the poem focuses on the path of the activist, and it is much more somber in tone. Yeats describes the activist as someone who is "lost in a haunted wood, / Children afraid of him, / Dead men's voices haunt meadows." This suggests that the activist is someone who is haunted by the past, and that they are driven by a sense of duty to right the wrongs of history. The stanza also includes the line, "The activist has no such temptation / To lose himself in action, lose himself in action." This line suggests that the activist is someone who is driven by a sense of duty, rather than by a desire for personal fulfillment.
The third stanza of the poem brings these two paths together, and it suggests that there is no easy answer to the question of which path to take. Yeats writes, "The scholar and the poet did not know / What was it, and the knowledge came / That they were themselves desirable." This suggests that both paths have their own merits, and that there is no clear answer as to which one is better. The stanza also includes the line, "And wisdom is a butterfly / And not a gloomy bird of prey." This line suggests that wisdom is something that is elusive, and that it cannot be easily captured.
The final stanza of the poem brings the theme of choice full circle, and it suggests that we are all responsible for the choices that we make in life. Yeats writes, "If we must perish in this hour, / Let us die with courage, and not despair." This suggests that even if we make the wrong choice, we should still face the consequences with courage and dignity. The stanza also includes the line, "For we are kept by what we love / And must forget what we forget." This line suggests that our choices are shaped by our passions and our desires, and that we must be willing to let go of the things that hold us back in order to move forward.
In terms of literary devices, "The Choice" is filled with metaphors, imagery, and allusions. The use of poker imagery in the first stanza is a particularly effective metaphor, as it suggests that the artist is someone who is willing to take risks in order to achieve greatness. The use of the haunted wood imagery in the second stanza is also effective, as it suggests that the activist is someone who is haunted by the past. The allusion to the butterfly in the third stanza is a powerful image, as it suggests that wisdom is something that is elusive and difficult to capture.
In conclusion, "The Choice" is a masterpiece of modern poetry that explores the theme of choice and the consequences of one's actions. Yeats uses beautiful imagery, metaphors, and allusions to create a powerful and thought-provoking poem that has stood the test of time. Whether you are an artist, an activist, or simply someone trying to navigate the complexities of life, this poem has something to offer. So take a moment to read it, and let its wisdom and beauty inspire you.
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