Upon A House Shaken By The Land Agitation: Summary & Analysis

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      This house has been breeding the hawk-like eyes which loved the sun. If this house which has stood for the fusion of passion and precision for a very, very long time, gets ruined, how is that going to do any good to the world at large? At the same time this house has been responsible for giving to its men ‘the sweet laughing eagle thoughts.’ In this house everything that has come from the best quarters has been knit with things coming from the best quarters. If this house falls that will make men who are not so highly placed in society look better and sturdier but those people (who fall short of Yeats’s ideal of the aristocracy) can never match the aristocracy’s gift for governing men and for writing high literature which has high laughter, loveliness and ease as its guiding principles.

Critical Analysis


      Upon a House Shaken by the Land Agitation is a short poem of twelve lines only. It was published in 1910. It appeared in the volume called The Green Helmet and Other Poems.

      It is a poem in which Yeats talks of the implications of the ruin of such a noble and aristocratic house as Lady Gregory’s Coole Park. The poem is centered around a series of questions which have a grave rhythm and a subdued intensity about them. All this is quite in keeping with the mood of the poem which is serious and reflective. At the same time Upon a House Shaken by the Land Agitation is one of the many poems of Yeats which deal with the question of the aristocracy which Yeats valued so much.

Development of Thought

      Yeats sees Lady Gregory’s Coole Park house which he calls ‘this house’ as a symbol of noble passion and as a breeder of minds with eagle-like gaze. As such, the ruin of such a house is not likely to be of any benefit to the world. This house has seen the fusion of passion and precision. The cultural tradition associated with houses like these has been responsible for high-soaring thoughts and laughter and has served as a link between the present and the past. Yeats goes on to say that families which do not have such a tradition behind them just cannot produce men gifted with the power to govern the nation and create high literature mirroring the qualities of the aristocracy-beauty, ease and high laughter.


      Stylistically, Upon a House Shaken by the Land Agitation is a very effective poem. The most remarkable thing about this poem is its subdued intensity and its handling of rhythm with great skill. At the same time the rhyming is also manipulated very well in this poem.

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