Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Old Man Traveling & The Stolen Child

As I read The Stolen Child, I couldn't help but think about Old Man Traveling and the similarities between the two of them. Nature is personified in both of them and they each have a refrain that changes in the last stanza.
Come away, O human child!
To to waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For to world's more full of weeping than you can understand
For be comes, the human child, 50
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
From a world more full of weeping than you can understand.
After reading about Yeats, I know he was fascinated with Irish folklore and this poem shows it with the emphasis on the faery leading the child away from home. I think it is interesting that the title suggests that the child was actually stolen, which comes across as more serious and longlasting. Also, he wrote this poem in 1889 which is the year he met Maud Gonne and fell in love with her. In such a happy situation, why does he insist that the world is full of weeping? The whole poem is dreary and references tears and unquiet dreams (lines 34 and 36) but it doesn't make sense at this time of his life.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah,

    After reading your post, I can definitely see the similarities both poems share in that both are making a comment on their society. While Wordsworth chooses a very specific example of the vagrant population to critique, we aren't really sure what Yeats is critiquing. Yes, he's talking about a world full of sadness and suffering, but it is somewhat vague because we don't know whether he is referring to the Irish's wish to be free from the British Empire or if he is speaking personally. Yes, the idea of the changeling is creepy and sinister, but despite his love for Maud, maybe there was some kind of foreshadowing that he would never have her, that their love wouldn't last? I'm guessing around here but I think you bring up interesting points.