Easter 1916: William Butler Yeats – Summary and Critical Analysis

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Easter 1916 by William Butler Yeats is a ballad about an Irish youthful revolutionary arrangement which got unsuccessful to oust the British rule in Ireland. Something like fifteen hundred individuals took part in this insurgency to seize the administration office building of Dublin on Easter morning, however three hundred of them were murdered on the spot, and more than two hundred individuals were taken as detainee and tormented.


The Irish boat importing weapons from Germany for the arranged assault to the British power was captured by the British armed force a prior week and nothing appeared to be energetic about the revolutionaries for the present. The artist, in the same way as other individuals, had prompted them not to strive for that rash movement and that is the reason he had communicated his scorn for the stupid individuals in this poem. Then again, at the stature of the war, those Irish loyalists had instituted a gallant clash with England to get flexibility for the nation. Along these lines, the ballad is appallingly undecided in its tone and mentality.


In Easter 1916, the artist starts with a feedback of the government officials both living and the individuals who are dead in the late unrest. Yeats was profoundly moved by the gallantry and the suffering of the revolutionaries. He saw the entire Irish scene changed by the deplorability of execution. The legends of the disobedience Pearse, Connolly, Mcdonough and Macbride-all got to be images of courageous affliction.


In the first stanza, the writer talks about the legislators whom he meets at close day in the parliament. The legislators are sitting on the counter without any work around their work area. The artist meets with individuals leaving their homes or work places and welcomes them with a nod of his head and with expressions of unimportant convention without any hugeness. He additionally describes to engross his friendlies at the club a few crazy tit-bit or make somebody the focus of his insult. He is sure that every one of them are existing where life comprise of a mixture of shades like the dress of a jokester. At the same time sublime and unpleasant change happens all of a sudden.


In the second stanza Yeats presents the story of individuals took part in the upset. In a climbing, delightful ladies are become wise. Teachers; Pearse, Thomas Macdonagh and individual foe of the artist John Macbride, the man whom Maud Gonne wedded neglect their distinct parts and battle with a brought together point that of winning opportunity for their nation. They relinquished their lives and Yeats included of them in his tune without preference or spite. The artist commends their passing. Their will to meet demise in a basic reason made them saints, and move Yeats to sing in their honor. Yeats alludes Macbride to an intoxicated, vainglorious brute, who had done most astringent wrong to somebody who was of high repute to Yeats (which implies Maud Gonne). In any case even this man adapted to present circumstances and went to a lamentable respect by his part in the Easter Rising.


In the third stanza Yeats has discussed the individuals who had stand out reason as a primary concern which was the liberation of Ireland from the standard of the English. This had united their hearts. The fixation of the liberation of Ireland made them a constant protest in an universe of progress and flux. The steeds, the riders, the stream, the feathered creatures and mists, all these speak to change and flux. However these stones like men around the flux of things had provided for them the ability to inconvenience the ordinary stream of life, in the same way that the streaming water of a stream is hindered by a stone that lies in its direction.


The last stanza turns to pay tribute to all the dissidents who relinquished their lives and accumulated another period the country’s life. The artist sees that their demise has realized a change in the individuals’ emotions and out of their present grievous excellence has been conceived. Yeats adjusted demeanor of esteem for the Irish revolutionaries and saints demonstrate the extent to which Yeats was touched by their passings. In the end lines of the ballad, Yeats notice the name of the dead as Macdonagh, Macbride, Connolly and Pearse. The green color in the lyric stand for the country shade of Ireland which got predominant now and inevitable days symbolized the effective upset for the liberation of Ireland.


The Poem for your reference:

Easter, 1916

I have met them at close of day

Coming with vivid faces

From counter or desk among grey

Eighteenth-century houses.

I have passed with a nod of the head

Or polite meaningless words,

Or have lingered awhile and said

Polite meaningless words,

And thought before I had done

Of a mocking tale or a gibe

To please a companion

Around the fire at the club,

Being certain that they and I

But lived where motley is worn:

All changed, changed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born.


That woman’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?

This man had kept a school

And rode our wingèd horse;

This other his helper and friend

Was coming into his force;

He might have won fame in the end,

So sensitive his nature seemed,

So daring and sweet his thought.

This other man I had dreamed

A drunken, vainglorious lout.

He had done most bitter wrong

To some who are near my heart,

Yet I number him in the song;

He, too, has resigned his part

In the casual comedy;

He, too, has been changed in his turn,

Transformed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born.


Hearts with one purpose alone

Through summer and winter seem

Enchanted to a stone

To trouble the living stream.

The horse that comes from the road,

The rider, the birds that range

From cloud to tumbling cloud,

Minute by minute they change;

A shadow of cloud on the stream

Changes minute by minute;

A horse-hoof slides on the brim,

And a horse plashes within it;

The long-legged moor-hens dive,

And hens to moor-cocks call;

Minute by minute they live:

The stone’s in the midst of all.


Too long a sacrifice

Can make a stone of the heart.

O when may it suffice?

That is Heaven’s part, our part

To murmur name upon name,

As a mother names her child

When sleep at last has come

On limbs that had run wild.

What is it but nightfall?

No, no, not night but death;

Was it needless death after all?

For England may keep faith

For all that is done and said.

We know their dream; enough

To know they dreamed and are dead;

And what if excess of love

Bewildered them till they died?

I write it out in a verse—

MacDonagh and MacBride

And Connolly and Pearse

Now and in time to be,

Wherever green is worn,

Are changed, changed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born.

Ayan Deb

Ayan Deb

Ayan, the Editor-in-chief of Rhododendron.in is one of the most talented individuals in our board of Authors. He has been the PRO of Sharbari Dutta, the famous bengali Fashion designer. His sense of aesthetics and art oozes out in his writings and in his portraits.
Ayan Deb
Ayan DebEaster 1916: William Butler Yeats – Summary and Critical Analysis

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