The Wild Swans at Coole

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  • The Wilde Swans at Coole
    • Form
      • Has an uneven form. It does contain different types of meter, including iambic pentameter and a rhyme scheme, though not every line has a rhyme. This could link to how the poem is contrasting the beauty of the swans with the speakers old age, and the rhyme scheme could link to his loneliness
    • Context
      • Yeats would often come to Coole park to write poetry. In this poem, he discusses how the park changes overtime.
    • Meaning
      • Stanza One
        • Yeats begins by describing the scenery- "The trees are in their Autumn beauty" but the "paths are dry."
        • The lake "mirrors a still sky" at twilight.
          • Idea of Autumn and twilight are parallel.
        • The speaker counts "nine-and-fifty swans," which is a specific and high number, though it makes us think maybe that one of the swans is missing.
      • Stanza Two
        • Before he has "well finished" the swans "suddenly mount" and fly away.
      • Stanza Three
        • The speaker says that his heart is "sore" because he has been looking upon the swans. This could be because he realises how free the swans are, compared to him or that he is remembering how much has changed in the nineteen years since he started counting the swans.
        • The speaker reveals that "All's changed" since he first came to Coole and heard the "bell-beat" of the swans wings (reference to time again.)
          • He thinks that those were better times, when he wasn't so down-trodden and he "trod with a lighter tread".
      • Stanza Four
        • The speaker tells us that the swans are "unwearied still, lover by lover," meaning that the swans are all "companionable" and make the water more bearable by being with each other
        • There is a comparison between the speaker and the swans in this stanza. While the swans are all in pairs, the speaker is alone and while "their hearts have not grown old", the speakers has.
      • Stanza Five
        • Despite the speaker's admiration of the swans' previous energy, he now relates that they are as "still" as the water beneath them.
        • He KNOWS that the swans are going to leave him some day- he is set on their abandonment and therefore wonders who they will be next to "delight."
    • Themes
      • Time
        • Age
      • Nature
      • Loniness
  • Yeats begins by describing the scenery- "The trees are in their Autumn beauty" but the "paths are dry."


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