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Wild swans at coole

Satisfactory Essays
W.B Yeats’s poem ‘The Wild Swans at Coole' (1919) is a self reflective poem, one of the overarching themes of which is the the transience of time. This notion is explored through the persona's witnessing of a flock swans swimming on the lake, a sight he had witnessed 19 years previously during his first visitation. This sight evokes the realisation that the persona has aged and changed dramatically following his last visit to the lake, despite the apparently ageless and eternal nature of the swans themselves. This realisation creates a sense of sadness and loneliness within the persona, who fears the day that the swans no longer return to the lake. This poem is seemingly inspired by the property of Coole that belonged to Yeats' friends Major and Lady Gregory, which Yeats visited often. The melancholy tone of the poem also seems to allude to Yeats' depression when he wrote the poem in 1916 after being rejected by his loves Iseult and Maud Gonne, and to the fact that a number of Yeats' close companions perished in the Easter Rising of 1916.

The temporal setting of the poem is first introduced in the first stanza, where the tranquility and picturesque beauty of nature is captured through the introduction of an Autumn Landscape. Initially, the Autumnal setting of the poem establishes the nostalgic and melancholy tone of the poem, reflecting the poet's personal context. The use of vivid imagery, "the water/Mirrors a still sky", acts to combine the sky and water into a single, endless entity. This feature, along with the introduces the timelessness and eternality of the natural world by capturing the stillness of the heavens and relating it to the Autumn setting the persona is witnessing. However, a central tension is created throu...

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... of melancholy and sadness have created an everlasting image, reflected in the enduring nature of Yeat’s poems, reflecting the notion that it is through emotions and connections that one may obtain a sense of permanence and the eternal.

Overall, WB. Yeat’s poem ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ is reflective of the poet’s personal context, the sorrow of the persona being reflective of the many tragedies in the poet’s life, such as the rejection of his marriage proposals and the death of his friends in the Easter Rising. The poem explores the concepts if the transience of time, contrasting the permanence of the swans with the mortality of the poet himself. However, the poem explores the notion that it is through emotions such as love, shown through the coupling of the swans, that one may create an everlasting image of themselves despite their mortal and impermanent nature.
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