An Irish Airman Foresees His Death - W B Yeats
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  • 1. An Irish Airman Foresees His Death W B YEATS
  • 2. I know that I shall meet my fate Somewhere among the clouds above; Those that I fight I do not hate, Those that I guard I do not love; My country is Kiltartan Cross, My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor, No likely end could bring them loss Or leave them happier than before. Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, Nor public men, nor cheering crowds, A lonely impulse of delight Drove to this tumult in the clouds; I balanced all, brought all to mind, The years to come seemed waste of breath, A waste of breath the years behind In balance with this life, this death.
  • 3. BACKGROUND TO POEM
    • Written as an epitaph for Major Robert Gregory
    • son of W.B.Yeats's friend , Lady Gregory,
    • Joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, and he became Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur in 1917.
    • Gregory earned a Military Cross 'for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.' 
    • He died tragically at the age of thirty-seven when an Italian pilot mistakenly shot him down.
  • 4. AN IRISH AIRMAN FORESEES HIS DEATH
    • Impending death – it is inevitable
    • Many soldiers/pilots entered the war knowing they would never return
    • Sense of helplessness
  • 5. I know that I shall meet my fate Somewhere among the clouds above; Those that I fight I do not hate, Those that I guard I do not love; IRONY What was Ireland’s political stance/position during WW1?
  • 6. My country is Kiltartan Cross, My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor, No likely end could bring them loss Or leave them happier than before. Kiltartan Cross – Gregory residence in County Galway, Ireland METONOMY
  • 7. Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, Nor public men, nor cheering crowds, A lonely impulse of delight Drove to this tumult in the clouds; Catalogue of reasons why soldiers traditionally fight
  • 8. I balanced all, brought all to mind, The years to come seemed waste of breath, A waste of breath the years behind In balance with this life, this death. Irish Nationalism vs British Rule