A palinode - a public poem - an apology - retract from view shown in September 1913.
Poem of reflection.
"I have met them at close of day"
- past tense = reflection.
- close of day = end of day.
"Coming with vivid faces - From counter or desk among grey - Eighteenth-century houses."
- vivid = full of life - bright - revolutionaries.
- contrast bright faces with "grey" counters and desks.
- coming from boring jobs but still have vivid faces.
"I have passed with a nod of the head - Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said - Polite meaningless words,"
- sounds regretful.
- repetition of "polite meaningless words" - wished he had said more.
- even when he lingered he didn't say/do enough.
- can't ever say anything meaningful to them now - they're dead.
"And thought before I had done - Of a mocking tale or a gibe - To please a companion - Around the fire at a club,"
- used the meetings as material to mock them later - had been rude about them.
- club = exclusive - not for ordinary workers.
"Being certain that they and I - But lived where motley is worn:"
- certain = strong.
- "they and I" shows serious distinction.
- thought that the ordinary Irish people didn't care for Romantic Ireland + that they were fools.
- "fumble in a greasy till" and "catch cries of the clown" - Sep 1913 + The Fisherman.
- motley = court jester costume.
"All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born."
- all = extreme - doesn't believe anything that he used to.
- stresses almost every syllable - gives the line emphasis.
- have his opinions changed or have the people changed.
- born = personification of the terrible beauty.
- terrible beeauty = beautiful (what he wanted) but dangerous - oxymoronic - reader focuses on it.
"That women's days were spent In ignorant good-will Her nights in argument Until her voice grew shrill. What voice more sweet than hers When, young and beautiful, She rode to harriers?"
- ignorant good will - her heart was…