August 16, 2009

Sailing to Byzantium

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--Description: 20th C, Yeats W.B., Aging, Fantasy, Life--


I
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
---Those dying generations---at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.

II
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

III
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

IV
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

W. B. Yeats

Especially liked by @maudy103.

--Did You Know: (13 June 1865–28 January 1939) Yeats was an Anglo-Irish poet and dramatist and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years Yeats served as an Irish Senator for two terms. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and along with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn founded the Abbey Theatre, and served as its chief during its early years. In 1923, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature for what the Nobel Committee described as "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation;" and he was the first Irishman so honored. He studied poetry in his youth, and from an early age was fascinated by both Irish legends and the occult. Those topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and those slowly paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser and Percy Bysshe Shelley, as well as to the lyricism of the Pre-Raphaelite poets. From 1900, Yeats' poetry grew more physical and realistic.

--Word of the Day: jocund\JOCK-uhnd; JOH-kuhnd , adjective:
Full of or expressing high-spirited merriment; light-hearted; mirthful.
Quotes:
His careless manners and jocund repartees might well seem incompatible with anything serious.
-William Prescott, History of the Conquest of Mexico

--Quote of the Day: The great critic...must be a philosopher, for from philosophy he will learn serenity, impartiality, and the transitoriness of human things.
-W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up, ch. 60, 1938

--French Word of the Day: la philosophie, (noun f.) toute connaissance par la raison

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