Study Guide

Adam's Curse Poetry and Love

By William Butler Yeats

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Poetry and Love

  • Poetry is hard, argues the speaker in the first stanza; line 6 refers to the necessity of "stitching and unstitching" in order to make the lines perfect. But it can't look like it was hard work. In line 5 the speaker says that a poem must look like it was created with "a moment's thought." The same goes for love, he argues, which he focuses on in the second stanza. The speaker thinks it should be a labor, one that requires study and memorization. In the old days, lovers with "high courtesy" would "sigh and quote with learned looks" from "beautiful old books" (25-27). Love's work is similar to the work that poets do, and the speaker's respect for both is echoed throughout the poem.

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