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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

The 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 particular formal t...


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...


The 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, trying to catch some deer or ra...

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...


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

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

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

Shout Outs

"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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