The Second Coming
The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats

The Second Coming Analysis

Symbols, 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

Blank VerseThe Second Coming" is written in blank verse, which means that has a consistent meter but no rhyme scheme. With 22 lines divided into two stanzas, it does not appear to follow a particul...


The speaker of this poem is someone capable of seeing things that no one else can see. He is a poet-prophet of sorts. While Europe was setting out to rebuild itself after the Great War had ended, t...


Post-WWI Europe, around 1919The first stanza doesn’t seem to have a definite location. It refers to medieval falconing, so we can imagine a guy calling to a bird in some forest or meadow, try...

Sound Check

Have you ever noticed how different the first and second stanzas sound? Try reading the poem aloud – you can’t fail to notice it. The first stanza sounds super-confident because of all...

What's Up With the Title?

The title refers to the Second Coming of Christ, as predicted in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Bible. This book, also known as the Apocalypse, is one of the strangest, most vio...

Calling Card

Unexplained symbols! The weirder the better. Falcon, sphinx, "rough beast," and Bethlehem: what’s the connection? You figure it out! Yeats isn’t giving any help. This is a trait that ma...


(4) Base CampIts plain language, short length, and exciting subject matter make this poem a favorite of people who usually claim not to "get" poetry.

Brain Snacks

Shortly after the publication of "The Second Coming," Yeats served as a two-term senator for the Irish Free State. (Source)Yeats’s unrequited love for the Irish revolutionary activist and bea...

Sex Rating

GUnless you think "blood-dimmed" tides and sphinxes are sexy.

Shout Outs

Religion"The Second Coming" refers the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament in the Bible, which prophesies the return of Christ after Satan’s reign of darkness.

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