The Yeats • • William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland on June 13, 1865. Parents were John B. Yeats and Family • Susan Mary Pollexfen Yeats had three siblings: Susan, Elizabeth, and Jack. • John B. Yeats, William’s father, was a lawyer by trade and left it to become a painter. His mother came from an affluent Irish family. • All of his sibling pursued artistic careers. His brother was a painter and his sisters were involved in the arts-and-crafts movement. • John B. Yeats was a Republican and influenced his son’s later beliefs. Yeats’s mother was raised by a loyalist. • The Yeats family were AnglicansA portrait of WB Yeats by his living in a deeply Catholic Ireland.John B. Yeats done in 1900
Moving and • The Yeats family moved to London when William was very Education • young. His mother Susan introduced him to Irish folklore. • Yeats never went to school until he was eleven at a grammar school in England. • His family moved back to Ireland where he attended high school. • His mother introduced her children to County Sligo. Sligo became a very important place to Yeats both spiritually and in his later career. • Yeats attended an art school,Light Green: Republic of Ireland but left it after two years to Pink: Northern Ireland pursue becoming a writer. Dark Green : County Sligo
Yeats pursued writing with a The Poet • passion and took many different approaches and interests that he expressed in his work. • Yeats is primarily seen as a modernist. • Yeats was not only a poet, but a playwright, an essayist, a social critic, and a short story writer. • His greatest influences were the great English Romantics; namely, Shelley, Spenser, and Blake. • Attempted to mix English and Irish culture while being a notable Republican. • Took a special interest in Irish folklore, the occult, and the oriental. • Yeats died in France on January 28, 1939.Yeats in 1911 by George Charles Beresford
Sailing to Byzantium (1928) O sages standing in God’s holy fire That is no country for old men. The young As in the gold mosaic of a wall, In one another’s arms, birds in the trees Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre, – Those dying generations – at their song, And be the singing‐masters of my soul. The salmon‐falls, the mackerel‐crowded seas, Consume my heart away; sick with desire Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long And fastened to a dying animal Whatever is begotten, born, and dies. It knows not what it is; and gather me Caught in that sensual music all neglect Into the artifice of eternity. Monuments of unageing intellect. Once out of nature I shall never take An aged man is but a paltry thing, My bodily form from any natural thing, A tattered coat upon a stick, unless But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing make For every tatter in its mortal dress, Of hammered gold and gold enamelling Nor is there singing school but studying To keep a drowsy Emperor awake; Monuments of its own magnificence; Or set upon a golden bough to singAnd therefore I have sailed the seas and come To lords and ladies of Byzantium To the holy city of Byzantium. Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
The structure of ―Sailing‖ isBreaking Down • sophisticated and concise. the Poem Its verse form is called “Otta Rima”. • Otta Rima’s verse style is related to the fact that each stanza has eight lines. • The Otta Rima’s rhyme scheme is “a-b-a-b-a-b-c- c”. • The poem is styled in iambic pentameter where there is an accent on every second beat of the syllables used in that line. A Byzantine Mosaic
Yeats and the Motifs • ―Sailing to Byzantium‖ was of “Sailing to published in 1928. Yeats was old and was afraid he was becoming temporal as his Byzantium” inevitable end approached him. Age and immortality play a big part in the poem. • The world around Yeats was changing as the old world slipped into the new. • The material nature of the physical is often contrasted with the eternity of the metaphysical. Yeats studied the occult all his life hoping to unite himself with something more than the temporary world around him. • The mysticism of Byzantium binds together Yeats interests in mysterious esotericism and the beauty of the distant orient. Yeats in 1933 by Pirie MacDonald, six years before his death
The First Two Stanzas First Stanza Second Stanza ―That is no country for old men‖— This stanza reflects specifically on The poem opens boldly. The aging as the speaker compares speaker in the poem makes a an old man with a scarecrow. conclusive statement about the The scarecrow is described as physical Eden the poem begins worn and tattered; but, by adding the word “unless”, the in. speaker seems to offer another The speaker states in the first line choice other than this vagabond of the first stanza that this poem state. This choice being sailing to will be about old age. Byzantium. Yeats contrasts an Eden-like The metaphysical singing of the vision of a bountiful place with soul is contrasted with the first visions of age and physical stanza’s birds physically singing. This implies the immortal soul decay and death. sings out inside the aging body.
The Last Two Stanzas Third Stanza Fourth Stanza The sages invoked in the first line The Speaker imagines escaping the physical world and his aged body of the stanza are mystics and and becoming a jeweled bird masters of esoteric knowledge, made to amuse Byzantine knowledge that Yeats himself emperors. studied and tried to understand. Yeats invokes many things over and Fire has powerful symbolism in this over again in this poem. The physical singing of birds in the first stanza. The sages stand in the stanza has become metaphysical holy fire of God and the Speaker as the speaker dreams of asks for his heart to be consumed becoming the golden and jeweled in a sacrifice. bird. Age is also brought up again. The By leaving the birds in the trees in the old world and becoming a bird heart is “fastened to a dying himself in the next, the speaker animal” while the immortal soul creates a sense of unity in his quest begs for eternity. for immortality and meaning.
BibliographyText Based Sources:• http://literature.proquestlearning.com/quick/displayItemById.do?origin=toc&PubID=kno& QueryType=reference&ItemID=EALKN129+pqllit_ref_lib• http://www.online-literature.com/yeats/• http://www.gale.cengage.com/free_resources/poets/bio/yeats_w.htm• http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/william-butler-yeats• http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/117Media Based Sources:• http://www.youtube.com/user/SpokenVerse?feature=watchPicture Based Sources• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Butler_Yeat_by_George_Charles_Beresford.jpg• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Butler_Yeats_by_John_Butler_Yeats_1900.jpg• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Butler_Yeats.jpg• http://www.123rf.com/photo_12444627_a-byzantine-mosaic-depicting-a-bird-on-the-floor- of-the-great-basilica-in-the-ancient-city-of-heracl.html• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Island_of_Ireland_location_map_Sligo.svg