INTRODUCTION TO W.B. YEATS-
William Butler Yeats was born on 13 June, 1865 in Sandymount, Republic of Ireland and spent many years of his life in England. Yeats is considered as one of the most important poets in the world of English and Irish literature. The major genres that his works revolve around are romance, Irish culture, folklore and mythology.
THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS-
“The Song of Wandering Aengus” by Yeats is a beautiful composition belonging to the romance genre. The poet employs vivid imagery and mythology that also contribute to the poem’s magnificence.
SETTING OF THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS-
The poem is set near a lake where the protagonist, Aengus is shown fishing. The last stanza of the poem portrays Aengus nostalgically remembering the past and hence, there is no physical setting.
POETIC DEVICES IN THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS-
“And when white moths were on the wing,”
“I went to blow the fire a-flame,”
“It had become a glimmering girl”
“Through hollow lands and hilly lands,”
“Through hollow lands and hilly lands”
“And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,”
The protagonist of the poem is the speaker himself, Aengus.
STYLE OF THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS-
“I went out to the hazel wood, (A)
Because a fire was in my head, (B)
And cut and peeled a hazel wand, (C)
And hooked a berry to a thread; (B)
And when white moths were on the wing, (D)
And moth-like stars were flickering out, (E)
I dropped the berry in a stream (F)
And caught a little silver trout.” (E)
SUMMARY OF THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS-
The protagonist of the poem, Aengus, is the speaker himself. Aengus says that he went out to a land where hazel trees go because he had a “fire” inside his head, an urge that was pulling him towards this place. Aengus than cuts and peels a branch from the hazel tree, shapes it in the form of a wand and sticks a berry on it, as a bait for fishes. And when the stars started filling the night sky, Aengus dropped the berry in the stream and caught a fish “a little silver trout”. Aengus tells that after catching the fish, he laid it on the floor and went to start the fire when he heard a rustling noise and his name being called. Aengus turns to find that the fish he had caught had turned into a ‘glimerring girl’ with ‘apple blossom’ in her hair. This beautiful girl again calls Aengus by his name and runs into the woods, disappearing in the night air. Now, Aengus tells us that a lot of time has passed since that incident happened, he has now grown old but has never stopped wandering around the globe in search of that girl. He is determined to find out where the girl has vanished and once he finds her, he promises to kiss her lips and hold her hands. Aengus imagines walking in green pastures with her, holding her hands for ages and ages, under the moonlight and the sun.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS-
This poem is a beautiful composition by Yeats and the poem’s magnificence lies in its mythological element. Aengus, the god of love and beauty, has been portrayed as an ordinary man in the poem. According to the legends, Aengus fell in love with a girl who then turns into a swan. Yeats, in this poem is revising the old folktale, here, a traut turns into a girl, leaving Aengus enamoured hsi whole life.
TONE OF THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS-
The tone of the poem is calm, soothing and quiet. The pleasantness highlighted by the beautiful imagery is accompanied by the undertone of a soothing tone.
“The Song of Wandering Aengus” by W.B. Yeats is a beautiful poem that reminds the readers of the magnificence of mythology and the legends of love.
Contributor: Radhika Goel