Broken Dreams

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  • Broken Dreams
    • Context
      • The poem was published in 1917, just after Yeats’ last proposal to Maud Gonne, he was 52
      • John MacBride (Maud’s estranged husband) was already dead (executed in May 1916 for his part in the Easter 1916 rising).
      • ‘rhyme[s]’ are unclear, repetitive and futile -- frustration at use of recycled ideas in his poetry- very meaningless  he has nothing new to say.  his poetry has become useless and insignificant in relation to everything else.
      • R.F. Foster has observed that Yeats’ last offer was motivated more by a sense of duty than by a genuine desire to marry her.
    • Quotes
      • Prosaic language
        • Young men no longer suddenly catch their breath / When you are passing
    • Links
      • There is grey in your hair’     link with    ‘Hollow of cheek’  (Among School Children)Both images of ageing and the decaying of natural beauty
        • importance of permanency. He realises that to know truth and immortality, he has to die
          • ‘But in the grave all, all, shall be renewed’ : ‘gather me into the artifice of eternity’(‘Sailing To Byzantium’)
      • ‘But in the grave all, all, shall be renewed’ : ‘gather me into the artifice of eternity’(‘Sailing To Byzantium’)
      • Death changes everything (reference ‘An Irish Airman foresees his Death’ and ‘Easter 1916’).
      • "Shadows" in ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth... and look forward to the death and the afterlife, being reunited with her former-self, for death releases the physical constraints of age.
    • Form
      • The varying length of the five stanzas stanza help to contribute to the unplanned feeling, and the constantly shifting focus gives an almost stream-of-consciousnessfeel to the proceedings.
        • Use of enjambment -- particularly prominent in his recalling of Maud’s youthful beauty
      • The sibilance (‘sole sake’) reflects the ethereal dream-like quality of the poem. The weary repetition of the ‘s’ sound also creates a despairing tone to the poem.

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