W.B Yeats has portrayed images of Irish Nature (One of the major themes) in his early poem such as
"THE brawling of a sparrow in the eaves,
The brilliant moon and all the milky sky,
And all that famous harmony of leaves,
Had blotted out man's image and cry"- The Sorrow of Love
We also find that W.B Yeats had a passionate love for his country and its nature. He has used different places of Ireland as the titles of his poetry- "The Lake Isle of Innisfree", "The Wild Swans At Coole" etc.
One of the most important things that he is probably an 'Escapist ' like John Keats. He also longs for leading a peaceful life out of the materialistic and busy city. He has portrayed grandeur beauty of the nature to show nature as a place where peace lies. He has also portrayed the wild images of the nature which reflect something violent. Acknowledging Yeats' portrayal of two aspects (Peace and violent) through the description of nature we can compare him with William Blake. The collection of poems "Songs of Innocence (1974)" and "Songs of Experience (1794)" are developed through the innocence to experience. The images of nature used in the "Songs of Innocence" (The Echoing Green)are different from the images of the "Songs of Experience" (Tyger). Similarly, we find the use of images of the poem ""The Lake Isle of Innisfree (1880 )" is different from "The Second Coming (1919)".
Actually nature plays the most important role in the development of poetry.
I have found an excellent document on - Nature Themes in Keats's â€œTo Autumnâ€ and Yeats's â€œThe Lake Isle of Innisfreeâ€ (retrieved from- http://hubpages.com/hub/Nature-as-an-Escape-or-a-Force-of-Change-Keats-Innisfree-Yeats
Nature as an Escape or a Force of Change
â€œTo Autumnâ€ by John Keats and â€œThe Lake Isle of Innisfreeâ€ by William Butler Yeats both feature speakers who harbor great affection for nature; their major difference lies in the speakersâ€™ perceptions of what nature is. To Yeatsâ€™s speaker nature is a calm inactive location; to Keatsâ€™s speaker nature is an awesome, ever changing, active force.
Yeatsâ€™s â€œThe Lake Isle of Innisfreeâ€ is presented as the wistful daydream of an escapist speaker who wishes he were in nature but is not. To this speaker nature is an extremely satisfying place to relax; he finds it relaxing because he believes nature to be a passive inanimate, but still thoroughly pleasant, location. This passivity and unchanging state is important to the speaker because the bustle and constant change is why he long to be out of the city.
Yeats has laid â€œThe Lake Isle of Innisfreeâ€ out in three four line stanzas; each stanza is composed of three lines of hexameter followed by a concluding line in tetrameter. The poemâ€™s short length is perfect for a wistful daydream and its fairly simple meter helps the calm tone of the poem. The rhythm also helps give the poem a relaxed feel. The simple abab rhyme scheme and lack of anything but full rhymes gives the poem a relaxed pattern without the hiccups a half rhyme might give a reader.
Yeats quite deftly uses his choice of words to control the tone, sound, literal meaning, and figurative meaning all at the same time. To Yeatsâ€™s speaker nature is passive; one of the main ways this is revealed to the reader is the total absence of action verbs referring to nature or any of its elements. Yeatsâ€™s nature seems to do little but exist. The phrases discussing nature accentuate its relaxing qualities without acknowledging any others, and the sounds of the poem are equally uniform in their omission of any but the most relaxing sounds. This idealized view of the world is a natural hallmark of the mental refuge of someone who wishes to escape from their current circumstances.
In line four of â€œThe Lake Isle of Innisfreeâ€ a glade is described only as â€œbee-loud.â€ Anyone who ever raised honeybees knows that the buzz of bees is a constant sound it rarely changes volume or pitch suddenly. A constant hum such as this is perfect for the speakerâ€™s bastion of relaxation. The closest the speaker comes to attributing an action verb to an element of nature is in line six where â€œthe cricket sings.â€ Normally singing would count as an action verb but in this case the fact that it is a cricket song takes away from the sense of motion or activity. Like the buzzing of bees, the chirping of crickets usually occurs when hoards are all making the exact same sound at the same time. Crickets will continue to make this same exact sound far longer than it takes for the human brain to classify it as background noise and tune it out. â€œlake water lappingâ€ in line ten also falls into this category. It will occur all day every day in exactly the same way unless a boat drives by. The lapping of water on the shore is significant as well because it is traditionally symbolic of relaxation. Sounds like the buzzing of bees and the lapping of water on the shore are so stereotypically calm and relaxing that people even buy CDs with recordings of them to relax, Yeatsâ€™s speaker was essentially doing this generations before technology would have allowed him to.
Line seven states that â€œmidnightâ€™s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glowâ€ people certainly appreciate things that glimmer and glow however most things which are described as such are things such as gems and jewelry; inanimate objects which serve no purpose other than to be looked at. This message of the skyâ€™s inactivity is also indicated by their verb; is. In a way the Lake the speaker visits in his mind is free cheap art; it doesnâ€™t need to be anything but pleasant when he looks at it.
Line eight contains what seems to be the poems most deliberate use of diction. A straightforward summary of the line would say something along the lines of, â€œin the evening songbirds can be heard flying around.â€ Instead Yeats writes, â€œevening full of linnetâ€™s wings.â€ In this way he manages to say what he wants about the night without the use of any action verbs that would break the calm inactive pattern elements of the natural world follow in the poem. â€œFlyingâ€ must be avoided because its denotation is most certainly active and energy consuming while its connotation is, if anything, more inappropriate. Instead of using an action verb Yeats uses a basic being verb and the adjective full whose connotations and denotation coincide perfectly with the wistful relaxing tone of the poem. Something flying is using a lot of energy to go somewhere and will be tired afterwards. When someone is full they have just eaten and tend to be sleepy; they donâ€™t need to do anything. Also worth mentioning is the fact that even though Yeats mentioned a songbird he did not mention a songbird singing which, while pleasant, is energetic, lively, and fleeting and thus off limits in this speakerâ€™s one person vacation home.
There are some action words used in the LakeIsle of Innisfree, â€œI will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,â€ (1) and, â€œa small cabin build there.â€ Arise, go, go, and build are thus the first four verbs used in the poem. All of these first verbs have definite active energetic connotations and the repetition of go emphasizes them even more. All of this energy belongs to the speaker, demonstrating that the speaker does not simply wish for a place where nothing happens. Rather the speaker longs to be somewhere where he alone controls and instigates activity. After quickly going to Innisfree and changing things to suit himself the speaker needs to do nothing, which makes it the idea location for an escapist fantasy.
Both Yeats and Keats show great affection for and appreciation of the idea of nature, their difference is in how they perceive that idea. In â€œThe Lake Isle of Innisfreeâ€ nature took on the form of a place; the lake isle and its surroundings. In â€œTo Autumnâ€ nature is perceived in the season autumn. This difference in what aspect of nature is focused on by the two speakers is responsible for the wildly different toneâ€™s and style.
As a force elements of nature work as bringers and instruments of change as well as subjects of it. In light of this Keatsâ€™s poem shows autumn powerfully and energetically changing the world until it too changed. Something so powerful was destroyed by the same force it was an instrument of.
â€œTo Autumnâ€ is composed of three 11 line stanzas of iambic pentameter. Each stanza has the same ababcdedffe rhyme scheme. Thematically the poem is also divided into three parts; each of which discusses a significantly different stage of autumn. The separation of the stanzas clearly sets these three sections of the poem apart emphasizing the differences between each stage of autumnâ€™s progression. The fixed form and identical rhyme schemes make it easier for the poem to maintain the awed sensibility of Keatsâ€™s speaker. The repeating form also makes the contrast between the tone and topics of the three stanzas starker than they otherwise would be. Like a control group in a scientific experiment the difference in tone between two things is easier to see if everything other than the tone is the same. Another benefit of the repeating form is that the stages of autumnâ€™s affect on the poem almost parallel the effects of the season on the world; the exact same location can look beautiful and colorful at autumnâ€™s beginning yet look ugly as sin by the end of the season.
When read literally, the poem tells a story of the autumn season. At first autumn and its friend the sun rush to make sure everything finishes growing big enough, plentiful enough, and good enough. In the second stanza the poem tells readers of autumn as a working girl struggling to finish the hay harvest. Finally a literal interpretation of the third stanza tells of the animals singing in celebration of autumnâ€™s accomplishments and mourning over its coming to an end.
In the first stanza â€œTo Autumnâ€ seems to be working franticly. In the first stanza every verb attributed to autumn is an action verb conveying the completion of some task. More specifically these verbs together give the impression of exhaustive effort of every kind. In line 3 the word â€˜loadâ€™ brings to mind awkward heavy objects and the attempts to wrestle them into place. In line five Keats uses bend, a word most often used to describe a strong metal giving way before great force. The word evokes images of the strong man at the circus twisting iron bars with his bare hands. Both load and bend give the reader a sense of the great physical strength and stamina the speaker attributes to autumn. The tasks of autumn are not only physical but mental for in line three he must conspire, something usually reserved for criminal masterminds planning their biggest heist yet. Spiritual effort is also undertaken by our brave hero autumn his loading the tree he has conspired to bend also needs a blessing. Using diction as well as personification evokes the same kind of respect and pity that one would give a single mother of three working multiple jobs. Admiration for someone who is confronted with difficult challenges and overcomes them is a natural human reaction and Keats uses that.
In â€œTo Autumnâ€™sâ€ second stanza, figurative language is used extensively. Autumn is now portrayed as an exhausted female farmer struggling to bring in her crop. This metaphor is very straightforward, the weather and many biological processes begin shutting down but not all and not completely giving the impression that autumn is trying to hold on and continue as it had at the beginning but lacks the power to do so. The final line of the stanza says, â€œThou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.â€ This one line combines its sound, vivid imagery, word connotations, and repetition to perfectly encapsulate the tone of the second stanza. At this point â€œTo Autumnâ€ is different from â€œThe Lake Isle of Innisfreeâ€ because its tone seems tortured rather than by being more energetic. In spite of this the speaker still seams in awe of autumn; its struggle to fight the inevitable seems, if anything, even more noble than the constant easy triumph of the first stanza.
The third paragraphâ€™s tone is the furthest removed from the others. In it autumn has entered its final stage and has all but died and given way to winter. The presentation of autumn as something awesome comes to a climax with its imagery, diction, and sound. The animals of the world come out to mourn and sing. Describing the scene merely as animals singing and crying does not really convey the emotion and image the speaker has painted. Animals do not just sing even creatures as small as gnats mourn in â€œa wailful choir.â€ lambs, a traditional symbol for innocence, bleat from the hills. All of these things happening at once as the harvested bare hills are turned â€œa rosy hueâ€ a color reminiscent of blood. Unlike The Lake Isle of Innisfree, in â€œTo Autumnâ€ the songbird can be heard doing more than flapping in the night; they whistle. Coincidentally â€œTo Autumnâ€ as well as â€œThe Lake Isle of Innisfreeâ€ feature singing crickets. There is a difference however, in terms of what their song adds to each poem. When the crickets in â€œTo Autumnâ€ sing they sing along with a plethora of others, an accompaniment rather than a single note played constantly. The image, the idea of all these animals coming out and loudly singing together is grandiose; a spectacle whose scale can most easily be compared to the opening scene from the Lion King in terms of symbolism and the awe inspired.
In spite of all these differences the poems still clearly belong to the same movement. Though the choices were different the two poems utilize diction in the same fashion, their forms are not too dissimilar considering the diverse range of possible forms. In spite of the wildly different tones both poets felt that singing crickets conveyed their feelings. Most importantly both Yeats and Keatsâ€™s poems above all else display affection for nature.