Essay about To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time

Essay about To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time

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To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time

To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time displays many of Yeats' techniques used in his early work. In particular is its use of myth and folklore. In many of his poems, particularly his later work, he draws heavily upon Greek mythology. Here he incorporates traditional Irish folklore. To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time perhaps explains to some extent his preoccupation with the spiritual and mystical world. The poem is about the narrator (presumably Yeats himself, as most of his work of this type is written from his point of view, rather than a žctional character's) and his disdain for contemporary life, resulting in his wistful longing to be part of the Irish legends, to be something more than common man.

Yeats uses a red rose to represent the mythological Ireland, beginning the poem with:

Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days!

The rose is used to represent Ireland, but it could also be seen as Maud Gonne, Yeats' always unrequited love. The story of Yeats' relationship with Maud Gonne runs parallel with his relationship with the mythical worlds as described here; that of always being a little beyond his grasp. The similarity is emphasised by the somewhat foreboding atmosphere of the žrst stanza, and the beginning of the second:

Come near, come near, come near - Ah, leave me still

A little space for the rose-breath to žll!

Evidently, whilst Yeats longs to be part of this other world, he has no delusions about it; he can see that it is not without its own dangers and the things are not entirely perfect about it - the same applies to Maud Gonne, who could be a very violent and fanatical person, being embroiled as she was in the volatile Irish politics of the day.


... middle of paper ...

... of other men, ignorant men who do not appreciate the deeper issues of life - and Irish mythology. The žnal line, however, which repeats the žrst, suggests that he will never achieve his goal. However much he wishes for the rose to come near, it can only ever be a wish - another "heavy mortal hope• that cannot be realised. All that happens is that he keeps returning to the beginning, hoping over and over again for his fortunes to change and his dreams to come true; the Maud Gonne inŸuence in the poem is once again prevalent.


To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time illustrates several of Yeats' main concerns during his early work: Maud Gonne, mythology and other worlds and the fallibility of man. This poem uses these as central themes rather than brief, vague references, and is consequently a good example of his use of themes and concerns in his early poetry.


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