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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"The Song of Wandering Aengus" by W.B. Yeats: An Analysis


The Song of Wandering Aengus reflects Yeats' study of mythology and mysticism. The first stanza is mostly denotative in meaning, and it tells of a man going fishing for trout. His diction is very descriptive, as shown in the phrase "moth-like stars," and he uses connotation in the line "Because a fire was in my head," which showed the speaker's determination to go fishing.

The second stanza is also mostly denotative, but Yeats makes use of his occult influence by writing about the "glimmering girl," who is a water nymph from the stream the speaker was fishing at. In mythology, there are many water nymphs that live in bodies of water, and Yeats is using his knowledge of such creatures by creating the "glimmering girl" in his poem. He shows that she has powers in the line where she "faded through the brightening air," because no mortal could make themselves appear to fade away.

The speaker is an old man, as he states in the third stanza: "Though I am old with wandering." That line also gives meaning to the title of the poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus, because that is his name, and he is a man that has "wandered," or traveled through many lands, like "hollow lands and hilly lands."

It describes how the man hopes to find the young beauty, and embrace
her youth and her love. The use of the word "wandering" also tells of how the man has aged while searching for the water nymph who called out to him one day while he was fishing. The last three lines show how the speaker hopes to spend the rest of his life in happiness with her, once he finds her. "The silver apples of the moon, the golden apples of the sun" are the days and nights passing by.


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