William “Wild Bill” Yeats

William “Wild Bill” Yeats
Pat Lynch
and Nick
The greatest poet
the world has EVER
• My man won the Nobel Prize in 1924 for literature
• Together with Lady Gregory he founded the Irish
Theatre, which was to become the Abbey Theatre, and
served as its chief playwright until the movement was
joined by John Synge.
• Irish Senator in the 1920’s
• Although a convinced patriot, Yeats deplored the hatred
and the bigotry of the Nationalist movement, and his
poetry is full of moving protests against it
• His recurrent themes are the contrast of art and life,
masks, cyclical theories of life (the symbol of the winding
stairs), and the ideal of beauty and ceremony contrasting
with the hubbub of modern life.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
A shape with lion body and the head of
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
a man,
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and
about it
Wind shadows of the indignant
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
desert birds.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst The darkness drops again but now I
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at
The Second Coming! Hardly are
those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert
That twenty centuries of
stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare
by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its
hour come round at last,
Slouches towards
Bethlehem to be born?
• Because of its stunning, violent imagery and terrifying
ritualistic language, "The Second Coming" is one of
Yeats' most famous poems; it is also one of the most
difficult to understand.
• The first stanza describes the conditions present in the
world (things falling apart, anarchy, etc.),
• The second stanza describes conditions that a
monstrous Second Coming is about to take place, not of
the Jesus we first knew, but of a new messiah, a "rough
beast," the slouching sphinx rousing itself in the desert
and lumbering toward Bethlehem.
“When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi”
"spiritus mundi" (literally "spirit of the world") is a reference to
• The
Yeats' belief that each human mind is linked to a single vast
intelligence, and that this intelligence causes certain universal
symbols to appear in individual minds.
This shows how Yeats believes in a greater power
• “A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know“
• Yeat’s uses clear imagery to describe a sphinx
• The sphinx is a symbol of death and bad luck.