Study Guide

Adam's Curse Love

By William Butler Yeats

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Ah, love. Though it starts out mildly enough, by the end of "Adam's Curse," the speaker seems pretty heartbroken. He's been reminded of the effects that time has on love, and how few even think "high love" is a worthwhile venture. What's more, the object of his love is there with him, and, well, it doesn't seem to have worked out so well. When the word "love" makes them all fall silent, the speaker contemplates how he felt about this woman, and how their love didn't work out the way he wanted—bummer.

Questions About Love

  1. In the poem, is love an art or a feeling? Is it both? How?
  2. How does the speaker relate poetry to love?
  3. How does the speaker relate love and beauty? Does one incite the other?

Chew on This

The speaker thinks that chivalry, the old "high way of love," is dead. Worse, he has no hope for its return.

Excuse much? The speaker is confusing his desire for the old ways of love with his inability to cope with the passage of time.

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