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In Memory of W.B. Yeats
In Memory of W.B. Yeats
by W.H. Auden

In Memory of W.B. Yeats Analysis

Symbolism, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Curiouser and Curiouser This poem is all about free styling. No, wait. It's actually all about unrhymed hexameter. Or, um, maybe rhyming couplets?OK, we're just messing with you. Our poet is just r...

Speaker

Quite frankly, our speaker has a whole lot in common with the poet himself. (Auden, we mean, not Yeats.) Like Auden, our speaker is very invested in Yeats's poetry. Like Auden, he's a little bit sk...

Setting

Technically, Yeats died in a hospital. We know this because, well, the first section spends a good bit of time talking about the mundane details of dying in a hospital. But that's really the borin...

Sound Check

Remember how you used to write those love letters to that cute girl (or guy) who sat across from you in fifth grade? (Don't worry, we won't tell.) It probably took you at least seventeen drafts be...

What's Up With the Title?

Well, "In Memory of W.B. Yeats" is about as traditional as an elegiac title can be (and this is an elegy, a poem written in memory of a deceased person). It brings to mind another uber-famous (and...

Calling Card

Formal DexterityRhyming? No problem. Perfect metrical patterns? Check. Free-wheelin', easy-on-the-tongue formlessness? Got that, too. In case you were wondering, Auden was a master of form. Yeats...

Tough-o-Meter

(5) Tree LineTo make this poem easy, you only need to know two key things: 1) William Butler Yeats was a super-amazing poet; and 2), there's a long tradition of writing poems (called elegies) about...

Trivia

Auden was close friends with Tolkien (of Lord of the Rings fame). He was a big fan of the little folk as well. Read what he had to say about Frodo Baggins in the New York Times review of Lord of...

Steaminess Rating

GC'mon, folks, have some respect for the dead! OK, Yeats did indeed have a pretty intense love life, and we do hear about the parishes of pretty women that surround him. But that's another story fo...

Allusions

Historical ReferencesWilliam Butler Yeats (title, 44, the whole poem, really)The Irish Independence Movement (35-36)The build-up to World War II (47-50)

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