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Yeats’s Poetry

William Butler Yeats

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”

Themes, Motifs and Symbols

“Adam’s Curse”

Summary

The poet declares that he will arise and go to Innisfree, where he will build a small cabin “of clay and wattles made.” There, he will have nine bean-rows and a beehive, and live alone in the glade loud with the sound of bees (“the bee-loud glade”). He says that he will have peace there, for peace drops from “the veils of morning to where the cricket sings.” Midnight there is a glimmer, and noon is a purple glow, and evening is full of linnet’s wings. He declares again that he will arise and go, for always, night and day, he hears the lake water lapping “with low sounds by the shore.” While he stands in the city, “on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,” he hears the sound within himself, “in the deep heart’s core.”

Form

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is written mostly in hexameter, with six stresses in each line, in a loosely iambic pattern. The last line of each four-line stanza shortens the line to tetrameter, with only four stresses: “And live alone in the bee-loud glade.” Each of the three stanzas has the same ABAB rhyme scheme. Formally, this poem is somewhat unusual for Yeats: he rarely worked with hexameter, and every rhyme in the poem is a full rhyme; there is no sign of the half-rhymes Yeats often prefers in his later work.

Commentary

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” published in Yeats’s second book of poems, 1893’s The Rose, is one of his first great poems, and one of his most enduring. The tranquil, hypnotic hexameters recreate the rhythmic pulse of the tide. The simple imagery of the quiet life the speaker longs to lead, as he enumerates each of its qualities, lulls the reader into his idyllic fantasy, until the penultimate line jolts the speaker—and the reader—back into the reality of his drab urban existence: “While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey.” The final line—“I hear it in the deep heart’s core”—is a crucial statement for Yeats, not only in this poem but also in his career as a whole. The implication that the truths of the “deep heart’s core” are essential to life is one that would preoccupy Yeats for the rest of his career as a poet; the struggle to remain true to the deep heart’s core may be thought of as Yeats’s primary undertaking as a poet.

More Help

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The Second Coming

by nataliadelina, January 24, 2013

The Second Coming has many biblical references within the poem in my point of view. It talks about ideas from the book of revelations. In revelations an angel "opened an abyss"(Revelation 9:2) in which Yeats describes a "widening gyre"- a deep and bottomless pit. The bible also describes the world in its last days filled with: "abomination filled with desolation)". Yeats also discribes a world filled with chaos: "falcon cannot hear the falconer, anarchy, innocence drowned, best lack all conviction, blood- dimmed tide, and passionate intensit... Read more

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Yeats help

by marnie94, April 11, 2013

This might give you a bit of context...

http://marnielangeroodiblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/poetry-makes-nothing-happen/


Good luck, and please follow!

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1 out of 2 people found this helpful

Terrible Explication

by rosetastoned, August 05, 2013

This is a terrible explication. I would be foolish to attempt to add to this inane conversation.

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7 out of 31 people found this helpful

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