"To the Rose upon the Rood of Time" is poem by W. B. Yeats that was published in The Rose in 1893. The poem is one of many early Yeatsian lyrical poems which utilize the symbol of the rose.
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served two terms as a Senator of the Irish Free State. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others.
Various folk cultures and traditions assign symbolic meaning to the rose, though these are seldom understood in-depth. Examples of deeper meanings lie within the language of flowers, and how a rose may have a different meaning in arrangements. Examples of common meanings of different coloured roses are: True love (red), mystery (blue), innocence or purity (white), death (black), friendship (yellow), and passion (orange).
The poem has twenty four lines, written in fairly regular iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is aabbccddeeff gghhiijjkkaa, and the use of the rhyming couplets give the poem its euphonic feel.Poetry Archive
Iambic pentameter is a type of metric line used in traditional English poetry and verse drama. The term describes the rhythm, or meter, established by the words in that line; rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables called "feet". "Iambic" refers to the type of foot used, here the iamb, which in English indicates an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. "Pentameter" indicates a line of five "feet".
A couplet is a pair of successive lines of metre in poetry. A couplet usually consists of two successive lines that rhyme and have the same metre. A couplet may be formal (closed) or run-on (open). In a formal couplet, each of the two lines is end-stopped, implying that there is a grammatical pause at the end of a line of verse. In a run-on couplet, the meaning of the first line continues to the second.
Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days! Come near me, while I sing the ancient ways: Cuchulain battling with the bitter tide; The Druid, grey, wood-nurtured, quiet eyed, Who cast round Fergus dreams, and ruin untold; And thine own sadness, whereof stars, grown old In dancing silver-sandalled on the sea, Sing in their high and lonely melody. Come near, that no more blinded by man's fate, I find under the boughs of love and hate, In all poor foolish things that live a day, Eternal beauty wandering on her way. Come near, come near, come near—Ah, leave me still A little space for the rose-breath to fill! Lest I no more hear common things that crave; The weak worm hiding down in its small cave, The field-mouse running by me in the grass, And heavy mortal hopes that toil and pass; But seek alone to hear the strange things said By God to the bright hearts of those long dead, And learn to chaunt a tongue men do not know Come near; I would, before my time to go, Sing of old Eire and the ancient ways: Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days.
This section possibly contains original research . (October 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The symbol of the rose in "To the Rose upon the Rood of Time" is firstly one that is constant, binding past and present through its spiritual and romantic referents. Stephen Coote notes that the rose on the rood was a symbol worn around the neck of those belonging to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: the "female" rose is impaled upon the "male" cross. The union of these two elements was intended to help the wearer transcend beyond the physical and into the spiritual: "the rose could also be seen as intellectual, spiritual and eternal beauty impaled upon the world and suffering with mankind as transcendence becomes immanence."
The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time, and various connotations can be found alongside each other.
Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.
A rood or rood cross, sometimes known as a triumphal cross, is a cross or crucifix, especially the large Crucifixion set above the entrance to the chancel of a medieval church. Alternatively, it is a large sculpture or painting of the crucifixion of Jesus.
As a symbol of constancy, the rose is also the symbol of Yeats's undying love for Maud Gonne, as well as the symbol for Ireland herself as a homeland, suffering and dying on the cross, beautiful, tragic, hoping for resurrection. Although Ireland suffers, she remains eternally beautiful, an unchanging factor that transcends time. Whatever the referent, or referents, the permanence of the rose is clear, as it is the "Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days" (line 1). In order for Yeats to tell of the great Celtic heroes, the rose must come near, presumably because the rose has witnessed and embodied the sufferings of the people long past (line 2).
Maud Gonne MacBride was an English-born Irish revolutionary, suffragette and actress. Of Anglo-Irish descent, she was won over to Irish nationalism by the plight of evicted people in the Land Wars. She also actively agitated for Home Rule.
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Resurrection or anastasis is the concept of coming back to life after death. In a number of ancient religions, a dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects.
Furthermore, the rose is invited to: "Come near, that no more blinded by man’s fate,/ I find under the boughs of love and hate,/ In all poor foolish things that live a day,/ Eternal beauty wandering on her way" (lines 9-12). "Eternal beauty" is the rose, personified at the end of the stanza, or at the very least made female; however, the word "eternal" is the word to note. The rose always was, and is, and will be forever on the "Rood of Time.
In poetry, a stanza is a grouped set of lines within a poem, usually set off from other stanzas by a blank line or indentation. Stanzas can have regular rhyme and metrical schemes, though stanzas are not strictly required to have either. Even though the term "stanza" is taken from Italian, in the Italian language the word "strofa" is more commonly used. There are many unique forms of stanzas. Some stanzaic forms are simple, such as four-line quatrains. Other forms are more complex, such as the Spenserian stanza. Fixed verse poems, such as sestinas, can be defined by the number and form of their stanzas. The term stanza is similar to strophe, though strophe sometimes refers to irregular set of lines, as opposed to regular, rhymed stanzas.
The poem is settled in the rose, to the point that the poem’s tone is one of sweet, suffering melancholy, a tone that is reaching for the sublime. In the 1890s, says Stephen Coote, Yeats was concerned for the "spiritual regeneration of his people": he felt that a spiritual posture of awe, a posture taken before those things that were excellent, beautiful, and full of grandeur, was necessary to achieve that regeneration. The Oxford Dictionary notes that the etymology of "sublime" renders a Latin root, sublimus, meaning "below the threshold". The sublime, then, is that which is so beautiful it borders on the spiritual or the divine: Yeats poses the rose as a starting point for spiritual regeneration, and surrounds this symbol with the beautiful lyricism, euphony, rhyme and meter which characterizes his early poetry.
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity. It can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, motivation, feelings, and sense of well-being. It may feature sadness, difficulty in thinking and concentration and a significant increase/decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, and people experiencing depression may have feelings of dejection, hopelessness and, sometimes, suicidal thoughts. It can either be short term or long term. The core symptom of depression is said to be anhedonia, which refers to loss of interest or a loss of feeling of pleasure in certain activities that usually bring joy to people. Depressed mood is a symptom of some mood disorders such as major depressive disorder or dysthymia; it is a normal temporary reaction to life events, such as the loss of a loved one; and it is also a symptom of some physical diseases and a side effect of some drugs and medical treatments.
In literature, the tone of a literary work expresses the writer's attitude toward or feelings about the subject matter and audience.
Etymology is the study of the history of words. By extension, the phrase "the etymology of [some word]" means the origin of the particular word. For place names, there is a specific term, toponymy.
The repeated phrase "come near" has the feel of an incantation: the rose's proximity, so close, and yet leaving a space large enough for "the rose-breath to fill", contributes to the feeling of being on the verge of the divine (line 14). The lack of complete and utter communion with the rose gives the poem an air of sweet suffering that seems necessary in order to achieve the sublime.
The suffering in the "sad Rose", however, also lends an anxiety to the poem's melancholy, an anxiety that is supported by the allusions to the Irish heroes, buried interminably in Irish ground and in Irish memory. The Druid, a priest, magician and soothsayer of the ancient Celtic religion, long an extinct specimen of Ireland, is here described with romantic and wonderful qualities: "wood-nurtured, quiet-eyed" (line 4). Yeats mourns the lack of the good in occult religion of the past; furthermore, the mention of Cuchulain and Fergus recalls their tragic ends.
Cuchulain was a mythological hero with an Achilles-like story, an unbeatable warrior defeated because of a small weakness. He was betrayed by his enemies and died at the young age of twenty-seven, or as Yeats puts it, as he was "battling with the bitter tide" (line 3). Fergus, on the other hand, is a common name in Irish mythology, but many of these figures died violent deaths or sung out ages in Ireland. According to Yeats, the Druid "cast round Fergus dreams, and ruin untold" (line 5). Their dismal deaths are indeed cataclysmic, and although the events are muted through allusion only, the sadness of such lost greatness is inherent to the poem.
Yeats sings of "old Eire and the ancient ways", an old Ireland that seems lost forever in the passage of time (line 23). It is safe to say that there is conflicted feeling in this poem, but that the feeling does not overpower the sweetness in the melancholy. The rose upon the rood, after all, has witnessed these events and its constancy, despite its suffering, acts as a central answer to the poem's murmurs of anxiety.
Alternatively, the Fergus to whom Yeats refers may be the character portrayed in the 13th century chivalric romance story, Roman de Fergus. In this sense, especially alongside references to Cuchulain and Druids, the piece could be considered a song of praise for the old world, a nostalgia for the honesty, authenticity and complexity of the past—to the "Rose" lost upon the "Rood of Time". In this way the first verse paragraph is Yeats' appeal for these things to "Come near, come near, come near", but the plea is soon followed by hesitation: "Ah, leave me still/A little space for the rose-breath to fill!/Lest I no more hear common things that crave"; the poet acknowledges the fleeting beauty of the immediate, natural world. The poem continues however, returning to echo the original sentiment, his yearning for lost culture- "But seek alone to hear the strange things said/By God to the bright hearts of those long dead/And learn to chaunt a tongue men do not know/Come near".
Melancholia is a concept from ancient or pre-modern medicine. Melancholy was one of the four temperaments matching the four humours. In the 19th century, "melancholia" could be physical as well as mental, and melancholic conditions were classified as such by their common cause rather than by their properties.
In Irish legend Aibell was the guardian spirit of the Dál gCais, the Dalcassians or Ó Bríen clan. She was the ruler of a sídhe in north Munster, and her dwelling place was Craig Liath, the grey rock, a hill overlooking the Shannon about two miles north of Killaloe. Aibell also had a lover and a magic harp.
Cú Chulainn, also spelled Cú Chulaind or Cúchulainn and sometimes known in English as Cuhullin, is an Irish mythological hero who appears in the stories of the Ulster Cycle, as well as in Scottish and Manx folklore. He is believed to be an incarnation of the god Lugh, who is also his father. His mother is the mortal Deichtine, sister of Conchobar mac Nessa.
Emer[ˈẽβ̃əɾ], is an Irish name, in modern Irish Eimhear or Éimhear, daughter of Forgall Monach, is the wife of the hero Cú Chulainn in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. Alternative version in Scottish Gaelic Eimhir,
"Dover Beach" is a lyric poem by the English poet Matthew Arnold. It was first published in 1867 in the collection New Poems, but surviving notes indicate its composition may have begun as early as 1849. The most likely date is 1851.
Táin Bó Cúailnge is a legendary tale from early Irish literature which is often considered an epic, although it is written primarily in prose rather than verse. It tells of a war against Ulster by Connacht queen Medb and her husband Ailill, who intend to steal the stud bull Donn Cuailnge and are opposed only by teenage Ulster hero Cú Chulainn.
Oisín, Osian, Ossian, or Osheen was regarded in legend as the greatest poet of Ireland, and is a warrior of the fianna in the Ossianic or Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. He is the son of Fionn mac Cumhaill and of Sadhbh, and is the narrator of much of the cycle and composition of the poems are attributed to him.
The Ulster Cycle, formerly known as the Red Branch Cycle, one of the four great cycles of Irish mythology, is a body of medieval Irish heroic legends and sagas of the traditional heroes of the Ulaid in what is now eastern Ulster and northern Leinster, particularly counties Armagh, Down and Louth, and taking place around or before the 1st century AD.
The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics (1892) is the second poetry collection of W. B. Yeats.
Kathleen Ni Houlihan is a mythical symbol and emblem of Irish nationalism found in literature and art, sometimes representing Ireland as a personified woman. The figure of Kathleen Ni Houlihan has also been invoked in nationalist Irish politics. Kathleen Ni Houlihan is sometimes spelled as Cathleen Ni Houlihan, and the figure is also sometimes referred to as the Sean-Bhean Bhocht, the Poor Old Woman, and similar appellations. Kathleen Ni Houlihan is generally depicted as an old woman who needs the help of young Irish men willing to fight and die to free Ireland from colonial rule, usually resulting in the young men becoming martyrs for this cause. In the days before the Anglo-Irish War, the colonial power was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After the Anglo-Irish War, Kathleen Ni Houlihan was a figure more associated with the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland, especially during the Troubles.
"Sailing to Byzantium" is a poem by William Butler Yeats, first published in the 1928 collection The Tower. It comprises four stanzas in ottava rima, each made up of eight ten-syllable lines. It uses a journey to Byzantium (Constantinople) as a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Yeats explores his thoughts and musings on how immortality, art, and the human spirit may converge. Through the use of various poetic techniques, Yeats's "Sailing to Byzantium" describes the metaphorical journey of a man pursuing his own vision of eternal life as well as his conception of paradise.
Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey is a poem by William Wordsworth. The title, Lines Writtena Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798, is often abbreviated simply to Tintern Abbey, although that building does not appear within the poem. It was written by Wordsworth after a walking tour with his sister in this section of the Welsh Borders. The description of his encounters with the countryside on the banks of the River Wye grows into an outline of his general philosophy. There has been considerable debate about why evidence of the human presence in the landscape has been downplayed and in what way the poem fits within the 18th century loco-descriptive genre.
Easter, 1916 is a poem by W. B. Yeats describing the poet's torn emotions regarding the events of the Easter Rising staged in Ireland against British rule on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916. The uprising was unsuccessful, and most of the Irish republican leaders involved were executed for treason. The poem was written between May and September 1916, but first published in 1921 in the collection Michael Robartes and the Dancer.
Deirdre of the Sorrows is a three-act play written by Irish playwright John Millington Synge, first performed at the Abbey Theatre by the Irish National Theatre Society in 1910. The play is based on Irish mythology, in particular the myths concerning Deirdre, Naoise, and Conchobar. The work was unfinished at the author's death in 1909, but was completed by William Butler Yeats and Synge's fiancée, Molly Allgood.
"The Wild Swans at Coole" is a lyric poem by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865–1939). Written between 1916 and early 1917, the poem was first published in the June 1917 issue of the Little Review, and became the title poem in the Yeats's 1917 and 1919 collections The Wild Swans at Coole.
"The Lake Isle of Innisfree" is a twelve-line poem composed of three quatrains written by William Butler Yeats in 1888 and first published in the National Observer in 1890. It was reprinted in The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics in 1892 and as an illustrated Cuala Press Broadside in 1932.
Thoor Ballylee Castle is a fortified, 15th century Hiberno-Norman tower house built by the septs de Burgo, or Burke, near the town of Gort in County Galway, Ireland. It is also known as Yeats' Tower because it was once owned and inhabited by the poet William Butler Yeats.
"Night" is a poem in the illuminated 1789 collection Songs of Innocence by William Blake, later incorporated into the larger compilation Songs of Innocence and of Experience. "Night" speaks about the coming of evil when darkness arrives, as angels protect and keep the sheep from the impending dangers.
Althea Gyles was an Irish poet and artist. She is known for her book cover designs, for writers who included W. B. Yeats.