Yeats’s The Wild Swans at Coole

800px-William_Butler_Yeats

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  • How does Yeats portray the beauty of autumn?
Ans: In the poem The Wild Swans at Coole Yeats presents a sombre beauty of the autumnal landscape. The trees are leafless and the paths across the wood are dry. The Cole Lake is full of water to the brim. As there is no wind, its surface is so calm that the clear sky is reflected on it.
  • How many swans were there in the Shore of Coole Lake?
  • “I have looked upon those …tread”. Why does the poet say that “now my heart is sore”?
Ans: Nineteen years ago when the poet first visited the lake one day at a twilight of autumn, he saw the swans fly through the air in small circles lover by lover. When they flew away above his head joyously, the whole air was filled with the music of their wings. All this made him happy and content. But now he has grown old in body and soul. He feels bitter and sad at the fact that he now cannot enjoy the sight as he had done in his youth.
  • “Their hearts have not grown old….” Why does the poet say so?
Ans: Standing on the shore of the Coole Lake after a gap of nineteen years the poet feels that unlike himself, the swans have not grown old in body and spirit. Full of youthful vigour they can enjoy paddling through the cold water and winning the hearts of their beloved and mating with them.
  • Why does the poet call the swans “mysterious creatures”?
Ans: As darkness looms large over the surface of the Coole Lake, it seems to the poet that the swans, as if, belong to a different world different from the humans, a world not marked by mutability.


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