Yeats revision notes OCR

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Yeats poems
September 1913
Refrain: "Romantic Ireland's dead and gone / It's with O'Leary in the grave."
The refrain reminds us of the tragic death of "O'Leary" and without him all is lost, "dead and
gone". He is also mocking him, as he has thrown his life away as if he did not see that it was
worth it anymore. The repetition emphasises Yeats' passion.
"You have dried the marrow from the bone..." The life has been drained out of him and has
taken strength away from the People. Metaphor.
"All that delirium of the brave..." sarcastic. Diction choice of the word "that" emphasises that
Yeats doesn't understand what went wrong. He is criticising the madness of rash behaviour.
Cathleen ni Houlihan is a mythical symbol and emblem of Irish nationalism found in literature
and art, sometimes representing Ireland as a personified woman. Also a one-act play written
by Yeats in collaboration with Lady Gregory in 1902: "You'd cry `Some woman's yellow hair /
Has maddened every mother's son'..."
Yeats uses the word romantic in his poetry for two of his most famous proclamations, one
involving his political mentor O'Leary and the other honouring his literacy patron and
collaborator Lady Gregory shortly after his estate at Coole Park had been sold to the
government in 1927.
"I was romantic in all" he wrote on the first page of the first draft of his autobiography.
Easter 1916
Refrain: "A terrible beauty is born."
Repetition (Wordsworth's note to `The Thorn'): "Poetry is passion."
"But lived where motley is worn..." He is mocking their naivety by suggesting they wear the
clothes of jesters and that they are foolish for ever thinking they could make a difference.
Throughout the whole of the poem, Yeats emphasises his segregation from the rest of them:
"they and I".
Metaphor for life or for revolution: "He, too, has resigned his part / In the casual comedy."
Yeats is bitter and is treating his life as a joke.
"The stone's in the midst of it all." The "stone" is a metaphor for the rebels, they are heavy
and almost like a weight is pulling them down. The revolution that the rebels are fighting is
more like a burden.
The "rebels" are trying to reach out for their freedom like "the birds" yet ultimately they only
come "tumbling back down again".
Repetition of "minute by minute" illustrates that time is running out and the inevitable is
going to happen.
"We know their dream; enough / To know that they dreamed and are dead."
The Stolen Child
Refrain: "With a faery, hand in hand, / For the world's more full of weeping than you can
understand."

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Page 2

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The poem was written in 1886 and is based on the legend of faeries taking children away
and replacing them.
The plot of the poem is a metaphor for the return to innocence, which is characterised by
childhood.
Nature is used as a representation of freedom and escape: "flapping herons." There is
urgency yet cunningness to this escapism illustrated through the refrain: "Come away, O
human child!"
They are chasing a dream that may not exist: "chase the frothy bubbles." Children always
chase the bubbles.…read more

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Constance Markiewicz was an Irish National Revolutionary, and became the first female
elected to the British House of Commons. She was the first woman to be sentenced to death
but her sentence was changed to imprisonment.
Petrachan sonnet except it is stretched.
Juxtaposition: "But a raving autumn shears / Blossom from the summer's wreath."
Use of caesura is representative of the fate that the sisters come to: "conspiring among the
ignorant.…read more

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How can we know the dancer from the dance?" We're all part of one greater whole,
everyone can dance but not everyone is a dancer but you can't have one without the other.
The ending is ambiguous.
The Cold Heaven
The poem was inspired by strange sky patterns; it is revelatory.
It is romantic in style and prioritises emotion over reason.…read more

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The use of enjambment allows the poem to follow and continue illustrating the escapism and
flow of the water below. It also brings a sense of longing for something more than just "this
wise and simple man".
Juxtaposition of what we long for and what really happens: "What I had hoped `twould
be...and the reality."
Yeats is an observer: "the living men...the dead man...the craven man..."
Repetition of "a man" simplifies our meaning of life and what we set out to do.…read more

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The Man presents death as something welcoming and comforting through the use of the
word "dream". However, the Echo crushes this idea through its repetition, making death
seem more sudden and eerie as opposed to peaceful and welcoming.
The use of alliteration gives a sense of coming to an end: "and all work done, dismisses all." In
the end, everything will be dismissed and ultimately fall victim "into the night".…read more

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Desperation: "But in the grave all, all shall be renewed."
The Cat and the Moon
The poem was published in 1919 and can be interpreted to be a representation of Yeats'
relationship with Maude Gonne.
Yeats is the `Cat' but the `Cat' is based upon "Black Minnaloushe" who was Maude Gonne's
cat.
The use of alternate rhyme gives a nursery rhyme feel to the poem.…read more

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