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Published: 09-12-2019

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To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time: Allusions to the Past, a Message for the Present

In “To the Rose upon the Rood of Time,” the speaker asks the Rose to come near him whilst he sings of old Irish tales, such as Cuchulain’s fighting the sea, the Druid and Fergus, and the Rose’s personal sadness. He again invites the Rose close to him but asks it to maintain a certain distance so as to avoid losing sight of the actual globe. Intending to sing of occasions previous, he addresses the Rose again in the final line. In this poem, William Butler Yeats asserts the importance of locating beauty without having deluding oneself his message is backwards-searching in some of its references and allusions, but is also informed by a timeless however tempered optimism.

By way of the symbol of the Rose, Yeats conveys the beauty of ancient Ireland. He starts the poem proclaiming, “Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days!” (Yeats 1). As a standard symbol of love and beauty, the Rose evokes Yeats’ nationalistic view of Ireland’s past to associate with his homeland that exact same beauty that the flower represents. The Roses’ red and proud qualities also express the pride Yeats’ himself carries for Ireland’s history. However, in describing it as “sad,” Yeats also raises the thought of the duality of the rose’s beauty: the flower represents eternal beauty with its symbolic which means remaining constant and unwavering, however it also hints at the fleeting nature of its beauty due to the short lives of individual roses. Simply because of this, the rose thus represents each constancy and impermanence. This conveys Yeats’ view of Irish culture, with its beauty transcending time whilst its physical existence comes to an finish. He consequently celebrates Ireland’s history yet also mourns its passing, speaking of the sadness of ancient Ireland’s ending. The pessimistic view of the present hence displays his disdain for Ireland’s current state in contrast to the perfection of the previous.

Yeats hyperlinks the Rose to Irish mythology to emphasize the part of the symbol in embodying Ireland’s previous. He references the legends of the mythological hero Cuchulain, the Druid, and Fergus. The mythological figures allude to Ireland’s history and culture that the speaker wishes to recall. In creating the symbol of the Rose with these allusions, Yeats creates a clear association of ancient Ireland with eternal beauty. This connection demonstrates the energy and strength characteristic of Cuchulain and Fergus that Yeats finds in Ireland, but it also recalls their tragic ends that mirror Ireland’s own. Cuchulain accidentally kills his son and, distraught from finding out of his error, tries in vain to fight the sea Fergus, obtaining made a deal with his brother’s widow permitting her son to rule for a single year in exchange for her hand in marriage, finds himself betrayed and at some point exiled. A reminder of not only the greatness of these figures but also of their demise, the allusions create a equivalent duality as that of the Rose: Yeats perceives the greatness of Ireland’s previous as well as the tragic state of its present.

Euphony in the phrases associated with the Rose creates a pleasant, lyrical feeling surrounding the Rose. The very first line of the poem consists of virtually entirely soft sounds, specifically with the repeated euphonic consonant r. The only difficult consonant comes from “proud,” and still an r instantly follows the p to soften it. This establishes from the starting the harmonious sounds associated with the Rose. The alliteration in the 1st stanza further creates euphony, as Yeats describes the “stars… dancing silver-sandalled on the sea” (6-7). Not only are all the words in this phrase euphonious, but the repeated s sound also contributes the general pleasant sound of the poem. The very first stanza also ends with the Rose “wandering on her way” (12). The alliteration in “wandering” and “way” creates euphony by means of both the consonant w and the vowel sounds in the phrase, hence creating the beauty of the Rose and of ancient Ireland to convey Yeats’ loving tone toward Ireland’s history. Furthermore, the structure of the poem, written in heroic couplets with precise rhymes, also creates euphony. The rhythm and rhyme of this structure supply a pleasant regularity that remains consistent throughout the poem. Via euphony, Yeats continues to develop a pleasing, even nostalgic, effect in relation to the Rose and Ireland’s previous.

Yeats also establishes a level of intimacy with the Rose by means of personification of the symbol. He continually asks the Rose to method him, and he describes it “wandering” (12). In ascribing human qualities to the flower, Yeats highlights the realness of its beauty. In this way, he connects the speaker of the poem with the Rose, bringing them closer to reveal the strength of the Rose’s beauty. Personification consequently emphasizes Yeats’ nationalistic perception of the stunning past of Ireland. Via the motif of time, Yeats creates a prideful however melancholy tone toward the past. He declares the Rose lasts by means of “all my days” and that he finds “in all poor foolish items that live a day / Eternal beauty” (1, 11-12). This indicates the enduring significance of the Rose, which serves as a perpetual symbol throughout his life that will continue to hold which means until the finish of his days. These references to such length of time reflect the lasting meaning of the rose as a symbol of beauty to demonstrate Yeats’ continual enjoy for ancient Ireland. The optimistic tone in speaking of the capacity to uncover this variety of “eternal beauty” also conveys Yeats’ hopeful tone with regards to the try to manifest the past in the present Ireland. He continues to outline Ireland’s “ancient approaches,” with the colon pointing to Cuchulain, Fergus, and the Druid (two). This modifies “ancient ways” to denote Ireland’s mythological heroic tradition, which Yeats views with pride, but also with despondency, understanding that he cannot recreate Ireland’s previous as he wishes.

The repetition of the phrase “Come here” expresses the speaker’s desire to be close to the Rose. He states it twice in the initial stanza, and repetition emphasizes his earlier sentiment to affirm his need for the Rose’s proximity. In the opening of the second stanza though, he repeats the phrase three times in succession, contrasting to the other repetitions of “come near” that happen in isolation. In this line, the phrase signifies a substantial shift in the poem that straight follows, and the repetition of it creates a buildup of intensity in his want for the Rose, till the dash and the exclamation “Ah” counters the original request, causing that passion to swiftly dissipate. The speaker realizes that he can not permit such close proximity to the Rose, that he can no longer delude himself with such an idealistic wish of totally immersing himself in the previous. This development inside the single line reflects the shift in the complete poem from the earlier stanza exploring the beauty of the past to the second 1 examining human mortality. Yeats transitions from a joyful attitude to a much more solemn one as he understands that the Rose can't come also close to him.

Following the realization that the speaker have to maintain a distance from the Rose, the motif of time evolves into 1 of mortality, a reminder of an eventual ending. Yeats delivers information of the “weak worm” and “field-mouse,” which represent typical, mortal beings, as effectively as the “heavy mortal hopes that toil and pass” that directly addresses the bleak mortality of human existence that dashes man’s wishes (16-18). All three represent qualities of the mortal life. In contrast to the triplet to which “ancient ways” refers in the first stanza, they provide only disappointing signs of the mortal reality in contrast to the speaker’s mythological ideals about the past. This creates a disenchanting impact, confronting the speaker with the reality that prevents him from reaching the past.

As the poem ends in a manner almost identical to its first lines in reverse order, this repetition mirrors the movement to the previous the speaker desires to demonstrate the ultimate inability to return to the previous. The speaker as soon as once again asks the Rose to “come near” (22). This time, nonetheless, with the prospect of returning to the past already established as an impossibility, the invitation to method reflects the importance of appreciating the eternal idea of beauty in the temporarily lovely. While these last lines continue to celebrate the past, they do so not due to the fact of the disheartening appearance of the present, but due to the fact of the need to discover beauty in the present. The “sad Rose” now expresses the perpetual conflict among yearning for the Rose and the want to relinquish it. Due to the discussion on mortality, “all my days” now evokes the inevitable end to the human life whereas in the initial line, it offers a far more cheerful outlook on the longevity of human existence. The adjust in punctuation also furthers this shift, as the initial line ends with an exclamation mark while the final line finishes with a period, displaying the contrast among earlier joy and later pensiveness as the speaker accepts that he can never relive the past.

The final line of the poem, as an precise replication of the first excluding punctuation, also demonstrates the speaker’s inability to truly attain his objective, as at the end of the poem, he arrives at the exact same place he began, only a lot more solemn in his wishes. However, the repetition nevertheless conveys the identical love for the Rose present from the beginning. Accepting the limits of reality, the speaker nevertheless continues to see the eternal beauty of the Rose. Therefore, William Butler Yeats asserts the value of locating beauty with out deluding oneself in “To the Rose upon the Rood of Time.” The poem expresses the need to have to appreciate the previous with out looking for to recreate it, to appreciate immortal beauty in the mortal. Warning against the dangers of delusion, Yeats urges a single to uncover the greatness of all that exists in the planet, in spite of what does exist.
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