Yeats Typical Dramatic Lyric Fragment in Mythological Romances

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      The statement is more apt for Yeats’s earliest poems than his later poems. Tinie, like any great poet, Yeats elevates private grief into a general sorrow and exposes the intensity of personal emotion without vulgarity. But the statement fails to take in to cognizance the rich symbolism and complex ideas interwoven into the poetry of the later period. Yeats was, indeed, gifted with a rich myth-making imagination.

      In his early poetry, Yeats used old myths simply as stories for his narrative-verse. The Stolen Child, for instance, uses the myth of ferries taking away the human babies from this world of weeping. But in his later poetry, for instance, The Second Coming or Easter 1916, myth is not simply “re-created” but a new myth is formed by Yeats. Old myths are transformed or modified to suit his purpose. In Easter 1916 the impression is created as if some mythological figures are coming out of the dead past to take part in the activity of the present. In The Second Coming, the Biblical myth is used most effectively to communicate the horror of the future. This cannot be called “mythological romance” but myth related and made relevant to hard contemporary situations. Leda and the Swan concentrate his whole sweeping conception of history into a gigantic myth that is his own creation, for though the figures come from ancient chronicles and legend, the pattern they are set in gives them a fresh significance.

University Questions

“Yeats most typical poem is a dramatic lyric that behaves as though it were a fragment in mythological romance.” Discuss.

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