Broken Dreams - Annotation

An annotation of W.B. Yeats' Broken Dreams.

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 07-05-12 13:09
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Broken Dreams
This poem was published in 1917, just after Yeats' final proposal to Maud Gonne. At the time, Yeats was
fifty-two, and nearing old age. Themes include religion, aging, death and enduring love. The rhyme scheme is
marked in blue. This irregular rhyme scheme could be expressing Yeats' sense of confusion over the subject
matter. Alternatively, it could be expressing the change of states between heaven and reality: this is
emphasised by the changing stanza states: the whole poem is irregular in structure.
A seemingly A There is grey in your hair. LINK: `Hollow of
negative picture B Young men no longer suddenly catch their breath cheek' ­ Among
of age: `gaffer'. C When you are passing; Schoolchildren.
Conflicts with C But maybe some old gaffer mutters a blessing Begins by
his depictions A Because it was your prayer describing her
of the old as B Recovered him upon the bed of death. (Maud?) in a
superior in D For your sole sake - that all heart's ache have known, seemingly
other poems: E And given to others all heart's ache, negative light,
e.g. `September D From meagre girlhood's putting on then changes
1913, The dead E Burdensome beauty - for your sole sake this to positivity
man that I F Heaven has put away the stroke of her doom, later in the
loved.' Even E So great her portion in that peace you make poem.
though she is F By merely walking in a room. Enduring love: if
old, she still he is talking
has grace and A Your beauty can but leave among us about Maud:
improves the B Vague memories, nothing but memories. has given him
lives of others. C A young man when the old men are done talking heart's ache.
Use of D Will say to an old man, "Tell me of that lady Seems to
enjambment to E The poet stubborn with his passion sang us emphasise the
highlight the F When age might well have chilled his blood.' `wiseness' of the
`vagueness'. old: waiting for
`Some Vague A Vague memories, nothing but memories, your elders to
Utopia: in B But in the grave all, all, shall be renewed. finish.
memory of Eva C The certainty that I shall see that lady Here he
& Con': using D Leaning or standing or walking welcomes
the word vague E In the first loveliness of womanhood, death, believing
in a negative F And with the fervour of my youthful eyes, it will be
light twice. G Has set me muttering like a fool. superior,
`some old because he will
gaffer mutters a A You are more beautiful than any one, be reunited with
blessing. Yeats B And yet your body had a flaw: Maud's youthful
speaks of C Your small hands were not beautiful, form.
heaven, here: D And I am afraid that you will run Did Yeats obey
but does not E And paddle to the wrist the holy law? Is
want Maud F In that mysterious, always brimming lake he afraid of not
made B Where those that have obeyed the holy law going there with
completely G paddle and are perfect. Leave unchanged Maud?
perfect, he H The hands that I have kissed,
wants her as he F For old sake's sake. As if he is
first saw her. accepting
Note the use of A The last stroke of midnight dies. Maud's
enjambment for B All day in the one chair rejection at last:
emphasis of C From dream to dream and rhyme to rhyme I have ranged their
this separate B In rambling talk with an image of air: relationship was
`heaven'. A Vague memories, nothing but memories. a `memory'-

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Broken Dreams
something of
the past, and
never meant to
be.…read more


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