Some of the poems in this volume appeared in The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1912), others in periodicals, while public life stirred Yeats into the passionate speech of the poems written about the Lane Gallery which were published as PWD in 1913. These particular poems reflect his delight in the patronage given by the rulers of Italian Renaissance Courts, with which he compared the attitude of Ireland’s new rich. He weighed the new politicians against the old heroes and found them sadly lacking; in ‘The Fisherman’ he contrasted his hopes for Ireland with the reality. His experience of secret societies, committees, public meetings emerged in bitter political rhetoric: there was a bitterly disillusioned note in the love poetry too; the Celtic trappings were finally, decisively, renounced in ‘A Coat’ and his own ancestors were given mythological significance, while he continued to write love poems, still deeply moved by the beauty of Maud Gonne and, while angered by the way in which the Irish crowd had behaved to him and to her (‘The People’), yet ready to accept her continuing regard for the people as selfless and impressive. These love poems have some gentleness and excitement; they are also compassionate in their evocation of old memories. There are also poems recording intense personal experiences, such as that superb and timeless poem ‘The Cold Heaven’.
KeywordsMiddle Class Trinity College Irish Time Wild Goose Romantic Poet
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