Study Guide

Adam's Curse The Beautiful, Mild Woman

By William Butler Yeats

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The Beautiful, Mild Woman

  • The speaker sits with two women—one is his love interest and the other is her friend, whom he introduces in line 2 as the "beautiful, mild woman." For a poem that bemoans the lack of "fine" things that take work to produce, the woman represents someone who still appreciates both. She speaks in line 16, drawing a comparison between the work that goes into poetry and the work that goes into physical beauty, which she describes as a "labour." She remains quiet for the remainder of the poem, falling silent as the others do at the mention of love. By drawing attention to her lovely, pleasant qualities, though, Yeats uses her as a symbol of beautiful things that require work to produce, but that also fall prey to the passage of time.

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