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Born in Dublin, Ireland, on June 13, 1865, William Butler Yeats was the son of a well-known Irish painter, John Butler Yeats. He spent his childhood in County Sligo, where his parents were raised, and in London. He returned to Dublin at the age of fifteen to continue his education and study painting, but quickly discovered he preferred poetry. Born into the Anglo-Irish landowning class, Yeats became involved with the Celtic Revival, a movement against the cultural influences of English rule in Ireland during the Victorian period, which sought to promote the spirit of Ireland's native heritage. Though Yeats never learned Gaelic himself, his writing at the turn of the century drew extensively from sources in Irish mythology and folklore. Also a potent influence on his poetry was the Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne, whom he met in 1889, a woman equally famous for her passionate nationalist politics and her beauty. Though she married another man in 1903 and grew apart from Yeats (and Yeats himself was eventually married to another woman, Georgie Hyde Lees), she remained a powerful figure in his poetry.
Yeats was deeply involved in politics in Ireland, and in the twenties, despite Irish independence from England, his verse reflected a pessimism about the political situation in his country and the rest of Europe, paralleling the increasing conservativism of his American counterparts in London, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. His work after 1910 was strongly influenced by Pound, becoming more modern in its concision and imagery, but Yeats never abandoned his strict adherence to traditional verse forms. He had a life-long interest in mysticism and the occult, which was off-putting to some readers, but he remained uninhibited in advancing his idiosyncratic philosophy, and his poetry continued to grow stronger as he grew older. Appointed a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922, he is remembered as an important cultural leader, as a major playwright (he was one of the founders of the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin), and as one of the very greatest poets—in any language—of the century. W. B. Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 and died in 1939 at the age of seventy-three.
The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (Macmillan, 1933)
The Poetical Works of William B. Yeats (Macmillan, 1906)
An Analysis of the Poem A Prayer for My Daughter by William Butler Yeats
1552 Words7 Pages
"A Prayer for My Daughter" is a poem written by William Butler Yeats in 1919. This poem is a prayer-like poem. And it generally tells about the poet's ideas about his daughter who is sleeping at the same time while the poem is being told. Throughout the poem Yeats reflects how he wants his daughter's future to be. This essay will analyze the poem in three sections: 1- What does this poem mean?, 2- The poetic devices, imagery, rhyming, figures of speech, used in the poem and mood, diction, language, and the structure of the poem, 3- An essay in a feminist point of view titled "What does the poet want his daughter to become?" .
1-WHAT DOES THIS POEM MEAN?
The poet is watching his infant daughter sleep. In the first stanza he starts…show more content…
Related with the third stanza, the fourth stanza refers to Helen herself, who "being chosen found life flat and dull," and also to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who chose her spouse the cripple, Hephaestus. Helen "had much trouble from a fool", the fool is Menelaus, the husband of Helen, whom she deserted in favor of Paris. Whereas Aphrodite suffered from "being fatherless", hence without a father to guide her, Yeats intends to be a guiding father to his young daughter.
The fifth stanza describes the quality that Yeats came to see as at the very heart of civilized life: courtesy. By courtesy he understands a means of being in the world that would protect the best of human dignity, art and emotion. And in his prayer for his daughter he wishes that she will learn to survive with grace and dignity in a world turned horrific. He explains that many men have hopelessly loved beautiful women, and they thought that the women loved them as well but they did not.
In the sixth stanza he hopes that his daughter will be a "flourishing hidden tree", which is not rebel but kind and happy, but contains her happiness within a particular place. And additionally he wants his daughter to be not argumentative and aggressive, or perhaps quite and secure, "rooted in one dear perpetual place." When combined with the previous line, the last line clearly defines his hope fro daughter to live in a victorious life