Poem Annotation: In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz

An annotation of Yeats' elegy for Eva and Constance. :) 

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  • Created on: 14-05-12 09:06
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In memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con
Yeats wrote this poem in memoriam (so the form is an elegy) of two of his friends, Eva Gore-Booth
and Constance Markiewicz, who were sisters. He knew them when he was younger. The sisters were
born into rich families but gave it up in order to fight for social justice. Eva was a huge proponent of
the Irish women's rights movement, and Constance was an Irish Revolutionary. She was sentenced to
death after the Easter Rising, but due to public outcry about her being a woman, this was changed to
imprisonment. This poem was published in October 1927.
Key themes include aging, beauty, politics/art, and death. The rhyme scheme is marked in blue. The
rhyme scheme in this poem is irregular and largely used as emphasis for specific points Yeats is trying
to make. The irregular rhyme scheme could also be interpreted as mirroring Yeats' feeling in this
poem: discontent.
Both of these A The light of evening, Lissadell, Lissadell was the
phrases suggest that B Great windows open to the south, home of Eva and
they did not fit in to B Two girls in silk kimonos, both Constance ­ Yeats
their aristocratic A Beautiful, one a gazelle. spent a lot of time
lives; they create an C But a raving autumn sears there as a young
imagery of D Blossom from the summer's wreath; man. He recalls the
something foreign D The older is condemned to death, scene as the start of
and graceful, and C Pardoned, drag out lonely years the poem.
the phrase `one a E Conspiring among the ignorant. Stripped of their
gazelle' conjures the F I know not what the younger dreams ­ beauty by age:
image of something G Some vague Utopia ­ and she seems, metaphor
hunted. H When withered old and skeleton-gaunt, Here we see Yeats'
The use of I An image of such politics. hatred of politics
enjambent here J Many a time I think to seek that reoccurs
highlights their J One or the other out and speak through poems such
beauty. I Of that old Georgian mansion, mix as `Easter, 1916'
K Pictures of the mind, recall when he laments the
L That table and the talk of youth worth of sacrifice for
L Two girls in silk kimonos, both politics. He feels
M Beautiful, one a gazelle. politics killed Eva's
A Dear shadows, now you know it all, Yeats highlights the
B All the folly of a fight idiocy and
Possible link to the B With a common wrong or right. childishness of their
afterlife; when they A The innocent and the beautiful actions through the
were alive they C Have no enemy but time; rhyme here.
thought they `knew it D Arise and bid me strike a match The short nature of
all'? D And strike another till time catch; this stanza makes it
Yeats could be C Should the conflagration climb, seem like a `release'
feeling that this is E Run till all the sages know. or an afterthought to
his fault: for inciting F We the great gazebo built; the main narrative.
rebellion e.g. F They convicted us of guilt; The `great gazebo'
through his poetry E Bid me strike a match and blow. could refer to Ireland
and plays. Does he ­ a smaller structure
feel responsible for on the side of
the sister's deaths? England.
Alternatively, it

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In memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con
Metaphor: blow out could be interpreted
the rebellion? as referring to the
rebellion; `great' ­
think of a gazebo's
beauty ­ but also
easier to destroy
than a house.…read more


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