Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Rose

Meaning of the following quotes?

"A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun..."

"Vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle..."

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This alludes to the Egyptian sphinx, "lion body and the head of a man." This unnatural joining of man and animal represents the darkness that creeps in on humanity.