Romantic Elements in WB or William Butler Yeats Poems or Poetry


William Butler Yeats was one of the famous modern poets and he is considered as a last romantic poet. William Butler Yeats poems are full of romantic elements. There are some romantic traits of romanticism in his poem.

The are anti-classical/Neoclassical, interesting in country life, presentation of common life, love of life and freedom, escapism, predominance of imagination and emotion-Supernaturalism, note of subjectivity, lyricism, simplicity in style.

the Lake Isle of Innesfree

In the poem “The Lake Isle of Innesfree” which is is one of the best poems of William Butler Yeats, Yeats reveals his desire to escape away from the hectic town life to the remote island of Innisfree. He intends to build his own cottage and produce his dailies with his own hands and wants to be entertained by the sweet music of the birds and insects.

He thinks that the rhyme of nature will help him into peaceful sleep. This desire to go in contact with nature is so forceful in him that he can see the place in his imagination. In his mind’s eye, he visualizes the gentle movement of the lake water. The poet says in the following way in this poem:

“I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water tapping with low sounds by the shore”

These lines are evident of the Romantic and mystical quality.

Romantic Elements in WB Yeats Poems

the wild swans at coole analysis

The poem “The wild swans at coole ” is one of the best poems of William Butler Yeats, captures the serene beauty of nature. As the poet says in this poem:

“The trees in the Autumn beauty

The woodland paths are dry

Under the October twilight the water

Mirrors a still sky”

The poet seems to be a Wordsworthian in delineating the beauty of nature. The poet gives us an impressive description of the lake at Cool Park. In a beautiful serene, calm and quite atmosphere, fifty-nine swans perch on the stone of the lake.

Such a scene helps the poet think on the quality of life that the swans posses. One individual swan die but the race remain and continue. Again in a romantic vein, the poet shows his awareness to the harshness of life, as he says of the swans in the poem “The wild swans at coole“:

the wild swans at coole

“Their heats have not grown old;

Passion or conquest, wander where they will

Attend upon them still”

This contrast seems to echo the contrast made by the John Keats in his “Ode to Nightingle” where the poet says: “Thou are not born to death, immortal bird”. John Keats is also quick to find out the fever and fret in human life. Yeats saw the scene of swans nineteen years ago. All this have changed after 19 years.

The poem “The wild swans at coole” remembers his past life and memory. He feels his past romantic days and would like to go back his past experience. So, he wants to be free from noisy and realistic life.

He feels mental agony when he remembers his past romantic agony when he remembers his past romantic life. So, he has to face very difficult life. So he mourns for his loosing youth.

“I have looked upon those brilliant creatures

And now my heart is shore’

In his poetry, Yeats makes heavy use of magic myth and folklore. He also frequently uses figures from Irish history. In “The Wild Swan at Cool”, the subject matter is takes from the Irish Legend where the lovers had been changed swans.

leda and the swan poem analysis

In the poem “Leda and Swan”, he uses the Irish and Medieval myths and legends. He employs Greek myths. In this poem, he tells the story of the sexual interaction between Leda and Zeus who came in the shape of a swan.

William Butler Yeats

Yeats not only describes the story but also relates its significance to the human civilization. The union of Zeus and Leda gave birth to Helen and the subsequent destruction of Troy and death of Agamemnon.

the second coming by william butler yeats literary analysis

Like William Blake, Yeats puts forward his personal notion about history and civilization, expression them in a symbolic term. Thus in “The second Coming”, the poet says in the following ways:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon can not hear the falconer;

Things fall apart, the center cannot hold

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”

Here in the second coming yeats alludes to his idea of decay and destruction of the civilization.

A prayer for my daughter analysis

The poem ” A prayer for my daughter” is one of best william butler yeats poems. However in the poem “A prayer for my daughter”, Yeats shows his respect for the aristocratic notion tradition and custom. The poet was troubled and gloomy about the situation in the western world in the post war period. There was turbulence in the Society.

At this stage, Yeats daughter was born. Yeats is concentrated about his daughter’s future is such a world. He says in the following ways:

“Once more the storm is howling and half lid

Under this cradle-hood and coverlid

My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle

But Gregory’s wood and one bare hill”

This poem also refers to Helen, to Venus, to Aphrodite, to Vulcan and to the horn of plenty. Helen was an extraordinary beautiful woman. The Greek warrior and general Menelaus got married to her because of her beauty.

But her beauty made her so proud that she found here life with Menelaus dull and boring. Subsequently she ran away with a lover who was a Trojan Price named Paris. This causes a bloody war between the Greeks and the Trojans.

Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty and love. She is believed to have emerged from sea foam. Having had no father, she knew no discipline and therefore she was marely led by her whims. Because of her undisciplined independence of spirit, she choose a husband who was most unsuited for her. She got married to the lame god Hephaestus.

Thus Aphrodite’s beauty proved a curse to her because she was unhappy with her husband and developed an illicit love affair with another God. So the poet feels sure that lovely woman eat some crazy Salad with their food, as a result of which they develop some crazy tendency. The poet says in the following ways:

“It is certain that fine women eat

A crazy Salad with their meat

Whereby the horn of plenty undone”

In the light our discussion it is clear to us that william butler yeats poems are full of romantic elements. All the romantic characteristics are very vivid in the Yeats’ poems.

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