Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Rose

Yeats' Exploration of the Importance of History in 'September 1913' 11th Grade

September of 1913 was the height of one of the most important trade union disputes in Irish history and the poem "September 1913" is based around this. Yeats was, at the time, a great supporter of the lower classes and attacks middle-class businessmen and Capitalism in general throughout. The use of the phrases ‘greasy till’ and ‘add the halfpence to the pence’ show how shopkeepers were taking in great sums of money and even so, the smallest amounts were counted. There are a number of instances in which Yeats uses the words ‘pray’, ‘prayer’ or ‘praying’, which is obviously a reference to the Church which was an important part of the revolution and protests in Ireland because some people believed they could change the country by simply praying to God and others were certain that the pressure on the government had to be physical. Yeats was a supporter of the latter and shows the hypocrisy of remaining loyal to the Church who encourage everyone to give more money.

Yeats repeats the final two lines of each stanza (with a slight variation on the final stanza) which mention ‘O’Leary in the grave’. This is a reference to John O’Leary, a friend and influence on Yeats after he met him and encouraged him to join the Irish...

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