YouTube - It's the End of the World as We Know It (R.E.M)
Born on June 13, 1865 in the seaside village of Sandymount in Dublin, Ireland In 1884 he enrolled in the Metropolitan School of Art, where he published his first works Yeats met friend and lady patron Augusta Gregory in 1894 where his involvement in Irish literary theatre began In 1903 William Butler went on his first lecture tour of the United States At the age of 73 William Butler Yeats died on January 28,1939
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert 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 Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know 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?
Analysis “TURNING and turning in the widening gyre, The falcon cannot hear the falconer;” – sets up the chaos that the wind is so violent the falcon cannot hear its master "The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned." – Yeats shows how the chaos and anarchy is spreading throughout the world “The best lack all conviction, while the worst, Are full of passionate intensity.”– The best people in the world are lacking all conviction and the worst people are fired with intense passion “Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand” – Yeats shows the reality that the end of the world is approaching “The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight”– Yeats talks about an image of the “spirit of the world” that worries him
Analysis “somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man”— “ Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.”– shadows of the birds reel around it “The darkness drops again; but now I know “ – Dark fills the sky “That twenty centuries of stony sleep”– Sphinx has been still for centuries “Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle”– Sphinx’s sleep was interrupted by terror of a baby in a cradle “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,”– Yeats uses the words rough beast to describe a destructive being and that its arrival is coming “Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”– This beasts “slouches” to be born in Bethlehem
Poetic Technique "The Second Coming" is written in very rough Iambic Pentameter However the meter is very loose and there are so many exceptions that the poem is more close to free verse There is no exact rhyming scheme other than the first two rhyming couplets in the start of the poem The other rhymes are very coincidental like “man” and “sun” Allusion Imagery
Does this poem give you hope or make you lose hope for the future of our world? What are three words you would use to describe this poem? What do you think was was Yeats intention to write such a dark poem ?
Bibliography “Explanation of: ‘The Second Coming’ by William Butler Yeats.” LitFinder Contemporary Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2007. LitFinder. Gale. NORTH ALLEGHENY SCHOOL DISTRICT. 12 May 2009