September 1913 W.B Yeats (form, context, quotes,links)

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  • September 1913 (Responsibilities 1914)
    • Form
      • Ballad, has a clear chorus "Romantic Ireland's dead and gone, its with O'Leary in the grave"
      • Simple ABAB rhyme scheme, as sometimes simple structures and strong rhyme carry political messages better.
      • Also, in the third stanza, as Yeats becomes more desperate, the rhyme scheme is compounded.
      • iambic tetrameter = ordered,  references philistine nature
      • use of enjambment shows passing of time
    • Context
      • More naive than later poems such as Among School Children
      • Expresses Yeats’ frustration over how violence is not the way forward, however peaceful Ireland is ‘with O’Leary in the grave’ and all that is left is violence.
      • O'LEARY - O’Leary was last bastion of man who had no sense of self-interest. He happily went into exile, but was not interested in making a martyr of himself as some of the Easter 1916 people may have done
      • the best prayer is action
      • Edward Fitzgerald – one of the leaders against the 1798 revolution against the British. Died during the revolution.
        • 1798 rebelion - all Irish patriots
      • Robert Emmet – in 1805, he lead a small uprising in Dublin. He was hanged for it.
      • Wolfe Tone – sailed to france in 1798 to try and bring back a small french army to help Ireland. He was arrested, but committed suicide the day before he was due to be hanged.
      • O'leary -"there are things that a man must not do to save a nation"
    • Links
      • "Was it for this the wild geese spread"–  ‘wild geese’ is a metaphor for the Irish men who went abroad to fight wars for other nations
        • diaspora -- spreading out
      • ‘dried the marrow from the bone’ and literally sucked the life out of Ireland, left it brittle – this can be compared to Leda and the Swan, ‘before the indifferent beak could let her drop’, the swan has taken all that it needs from Leda and has no care for her now, much like Britain taking even ‘the marrow’ in Ireland and then leaving.
      • What do the middle class Irish care about? Money? Their God? Yeats sarcastically says ‘God help us’ to poke fun at the middle class. ‘The halfpence to the pence’, in Irish mythology you pay 1/2 pence in the after life – they are saving up for death! Yeats is saying sacrifice your soul and save Ireland, after all as said in ‘The Cold Heaven’ the is only ‘sent out naked on the roads’.
      • The poem personifies ‘Romantic Ireland’ in the form of O’Leary, Fitzgerald, Emmet and Tone – they epitomise the Irish spirit that Yeats believed in, the one of myth and legend such as in ‘The Stolen Child’
    • Quotes
      • Cathleen Ni Houlihan --You’d cry, ‘Some woman’s yellow hair / has maddened every mother’s son’
        • The play centers on the 1798 Rebellion. The play is startlingly nationalistic, in its last pages encouraging young men to sacrifice their lives for the heroine Cathleen ni Houlihan, who represents an independent and separate Irish state.
          • Context
            • More naive than later poems such as Among School Children
            • Expresses Yeats’ frustration over how violence is not the way forward, however peaceful Ireland is ‘with O’Leary in the grave’ and all that is left is violence.
            • O'LEARY - O’Leary was last bastion of man who had no sense of self-interest. He happily went into exile, but was not interested in making a martyr of himself as some of the Easter 1916 people may have done
            • the best prayer is action
            • Edward Fitzgerald – one of the leaders against the 1798 revolution against the British. Died during the revolution.
              • 1798 rebelion - all Irish patriots
            • Robert Emmet – in 1805, he lead a small uprising in Dublin. He was hanged for it.
            • Wolfe Tone – sailed to france in 1798 to try and bring back a small french army to help Ireland. He was arrested, but committed suicide the day before he was due to be hanged.
            • O'leary -"there are things that a man must not do to save a nation"
      • "what need you" -- trying to write Irish-sounding poetry in English; here succeeding in  both sounding Irish and criticising the Irish simultaniously

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