In the Seven Woods 1904

  • A. Norman Jeffares


Yellow Hair Golden Chain Fine Thing Macmillan Publisher Break Stone 
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  1. p. 132, ‘Adam’s Curse’ dc: probably May 1901 fp: MR, Dec. 1902 That beautiful mild woman: Maud Gonne’s sister, Mrs Kathleen Pilcher And you and I: Maud Gonne and Yeats talked of poetry: see SQ, 328–30, for the poem’s inspiration A line … a moment’s thought: Corinna Salvadori, Yeats and Castiglione (1965), 83–4, considers that these lines — which proclaim the need for poetry, despite the work that goes to its composition and finishing, to seem nonchalant, a spontaneous improvisation — convey the quality of sprezzatura praised by Castiglione in The Courtier (see notes on ‘The People’, p. 560) labour to be beautiful: Maud Gonne told how: I saw Willie Yeats looking critically at me and he told Kathleen he liked her dress and that she was looking younger than ever. It was on that occasion Kathleen remarked that it was hard work being beautiful, which Willie turned into his poem ‘Adam’s Curse’ [SQ] Yeats praised ‘the discipline of the looking-glass’ as heroic (E & I, 270); cf. ‘To a Young Beauty’, p. 242, and ‘Michael Robartes and the Dancer’, p. 281 Adam’s fall: see Genesis 3: 1–6 high courtesy: Yeats thought true love a discipline requiring wisdom; see notes on ‘Solomon to Sheba’, p. 555Google Scholar
  2. p. 137, ‘The Happy Townland’ fp: The Weekly Critical Review, 4 June 1903’ Entitled ‘The Rider from the North’ in ISW, its original title was restored in editions from P (1899–1905) onward. Yeats said that the poem symbolised striving after an impossible idea (radio talk, 1932) the townland: Paradise golden and silver wood: see notes on ‘The Man who Dreamed of Faeryland’, p. 503, and ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’, p. 511 The little fox: Sheila O’Sullivan (YUIT) suggests that the fox is based on a song ‘An Maidrin Rua’ (Irish, the little red fox) the world’s bane: cf. ‘bane’ as used by Blake in ‘Jerusalem’, where God ‘… told me that all I wrote should prove/The bane of all that on earth I love’. Yeats and Ellis, The Works of William Blake, stressed that Blake had his own career in mind in ‘The Monk’ and Milton when he used ‘bane’; they drew attention to lines Blake wrote at Felpham, sent in a letter to Mr Butts: ‘Must my wife live in my sister’s bane/And my sister survive on my love’s pain?’ See also Grace Jackson, Mysticism in AE and Yeats in relation to Oriental and American Thought (1932), 162 golden and silver boughs: see note on golden or silver wood above Michael: the archangel Gabriel … fish-tail … old horn: Yeats described him as ‘the angel of the Moon’ in the Cabbala and thought he might ‘command the waters at a pinch’. EPY, 83, links Gabriel with. Bertrand, La Réligion des Gaulois, with its figures who have human heads and fish-tails, and the ‘old horn’ with one of hammered silver in the National Museum of Ireland in DublinGoogle Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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  • A. Norman Jeffares

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