Essay Title: 

English Literature

April 3, 2016 | Author: | Posted in literature and language

Sailing to Byzantium (1927 ) by William Butler Yeats

The poem Sailing to Byzantium ‘ was written by William Butler Yeats in 1926 , and it was part of a collection called Tower . The title of the poem refers to the ancient city of Byzantium in Turkey that is presently known as Istanbul . It is the first of two poems known together as the Byzantium series . The poem has four eight-line stanzas that are metered in iambic pentameter (Brittanica , Para 2 . The poem is prismatic in nature and viewed in the right angle reveals a spectrum [banner_entry_middle]

of meanings and emotions . It is through the use of many literary devices that the poet is able to convey these multiple meanings . Yeats , drawing from his personal life experiences , effectively dwells on the themes of escape from the world ‘s troubles and a search for immortality . Through his meticulous choice of words Yeats brings out the frustration and intense need for escape and immortality that many people feel in their moments of desperation (Ensminger para 1

The poem opens with the line : That is no country for old men ‘ Thus the poet expresses his deep concern for `old age ‘ while in a subtle manner he also implies that it is a country that is meant for the young and lively things . These youthful things and abundance of life are well brought out by the poet by references to the `the young in one anothers arms ‘ `birds in the trees ‘ `the salmon-falls ‘ and `the mackerel crowded seas (Yeats 2-4 . This is followed by the line Whatever is begotten born and dies ‘ This shows the frustration of the poet at the inevitability of mortality . Yeats rues the fact that the society tends to focus only on the sensual things of the present world and ignores more substantial things such as wisdom and intellect : Caught in that sensual music all neglect /Monuments of unageing intellect (Yeats 7-8

The second stanza begins with the of an old man as “a paltry thing / A tattered coat upon a stick (Yeats 9-10 . These lines seem to reflect the poet ‘s own physical inability and old age . The poet says that the only thing that can give life to such an old man is the ability to sing through his poetry . The poet holds that poetry is the magic potion that can He believes that his poetry can help him to overcome the transience of time and old age . For every tatter in its mortal dress (Yeats 12 )refers to the human body that is suffering from many physical inabilities . The poet reflects that there is no `singing school implying that poetry cannot be taught . It needs to be studied and that is why the poet travels across the seas and decides to arrive at the holy city of Byzantium : the holy city is a sort of paradise that the poet holds in his mind (Kennedy and Gioia 866-67 . Here , the writer uses symbolism . His reference to sailing to Byzantium seems to… [banner_entry_footer]


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