September 1913 - Poem Annotation

An in-depth annoation of W.B. Yeats' September 1913, with an explanation of the context of the poem.

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  • Created on: 26-04-12 09:35
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September 1913 is a poem which is an attack on the employers of Dublin in 1913, when
there was a General Strike, in which all members of the ITGWU were locked out by their
employers, giving rise to a winter of poverty and confrontation in the city of Dublin and
resulting in victory for the employers. It is also suspected to be a commentary on the
refusal of commercial interests to support Yeats' appeal for money to build an Art Gallery to
house the Lane collection.
Yeats believed that Art could inform and educate the population. Was his purpose with this
poem to educate Ireland about their mistakes?
Key Themes: Religion, Ireland, Money/Greed, Revolution.
Blue: Rhyme Scheme
Iambic: A What need you, being come to sense, `Dirty money' ­
possibly for B But fumble in a greasy till metaphor?
clarity + A And add the halfpence to the pence
regularity, B And prayer to shivering prayer, until Cancer treatment?
getting his C You have dried the marrow from the Taking everything
point across. D bone? precious or useful to
Reads like a C For men were born to pray and save: help yourself.
preacher. D Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave. Note the language
An Irish used here. Negative
revolutionary depiction of prayer-
whom Yeats Irish Catholics?
admired. A The special people,
B Yet they were of a different kind, the `better' people
Note not only A The names that stilled your childish play, of Ireland are gone.
the B They have gone about the world like wind,
`romantics' C But little time had they to pray Mocking Irish
(an artistic D For whom the hangman's rope was spun, Catholics: praying
movement)­ C And what, God help us, could they save? and saving instead
but is love D Romantic Ireland's dead and gone, of acting.
gone from It's with O'Leary in the grave. The word `pray' ­
Ireland, too? pun on `prey?'-
preying on innocent
A employees.
Led a rebellion B Was it for this the wild geese spread
against British A The grey wing upon every tide;
rule. Although B For this that all that blood was shed,
he fought to C For this Edward Fitzgerald died, An Irish
save Ireland, D And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone, revolutionary who
Yeats is asking C All that delirium of the brave? died in wounds from
if Ireland is D Romantic Ireland's dead and gone, resisting arrest.
worth saving It's with O'Leary in the grave. Madness
in this poem Irish revolutionary.
A Committed suicide

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B Yet could we turn the years again, to avoid being
this?' A And call those exiles as they were hanged as a traitor.
Go back in B In all their loneliness and pain, The significance of
time: `turning' C You'd cry, 'Some woman's yellow hair the Refrain: to hone
links into D Has maddened every mother's son': in the point Yeats is
Yeats' C They weighed so lightly what they trying to make?
fascination D gave.…read more

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