Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Rose

W.B. Yeats – ‘Easter 1916’ College

Contrary to the optimistic nature of the title, “Easter 1916”, Yeats’ poem speaks of death, sacrifice, rebellion and politics. It is not often that Yeats deals with the subject of the Irish Independence movement. The only other expressly political poem he wrote was “September 1913”, which also dealt with the Irish Independence Movement. Thus, the topical rarity of the poem, written by an almost politically disinclined Yeats, simply begs the reader for close analysis.

 

Firstly, Yeats uses iambic tetrameter and iambic trimester in the poem.  The rhyme scheme of the poem alternates rhyming lines in an ABAB form as well.  Yeats varies the structure in order to emphasize the importance of the poem's content and significance.  In stanza 1, Yeats uses a mixture of iambic tetrameter and a trimeter rhythm to bring out the subtle discord in the Irish population. The lines, “I have met them at the close of the day /Coming with vivid faces /From counter or desk among grey/ Eighteenth-century houses” (lines 1-4) are written in steady iambic tetrameter as is the most of the stanza. However, certain lines which Yeats slides subtly in the middle such as “Or polite meaningless...

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