Change is Changelessness
“An Analysis of William Butler Yeats”
Life is full of change, it is the natural order of things, without change life would be at a standstill, without cause, just an empty world. Change is how new ideas arise, how things become better or worse, without it we wouldn’t be here on this earth. In opposition, there is also a world of changelessness, it is the only thing that remains constant in our lives, there is always change and that gives us the allusion of changelessness. Things are moving so fast that they seem to be standing still as a car flying down the road at sixty-five miles an hour, without the background we wouldn’t be able to tell of the movement. Each of these famous poems by Yeats express this view of the world in their own different stories His first being, “When You Are Old” a poem to a lost lover, in his past that he want to speak to her future person. Next there is the peace searching for him in, “Lake Isle Innis free” where he goes to escape the cities constant change, and his poem written at the same place, “The Swans at Lake Coole” as he watches the seemingly eternity living swans live forever. He finishes with the greatness of, “The Second Coming” where he strictly talks about what the human nature is losing, religion as in “Sailing to Byzantium” whereas the relation of changelessness would be the greatest ending to a life, instead of living that life over again. William Butler Yeats, has a fantastic way of expressing the opposition of the two mediums in life, Change and Changelessness.
Initially, in the first text, “When You Are Old” Yeats expresses how no matter what you are now, there will be change. “When you are old and gray and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look, Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;” (Page 1140 Lines 1-4). This specific poem is about a past lover, who he was completely enthralled with, who also broke his heart. He is writing to her future self about how she needs to look back and him and feel regret for leaving him. He expresses the change in her body from the decaying of her fairness to an old body, that no matter how she would have changed, he would have been there because he loved her for who she was, not how she looked. Yeats tells her to dream of how things could have been should she have stayed with him, beauty or not.
Changelessness is what the great Yeats was searching for when he wrote this poem, “Lake Isle Innisfree”.
he wanted to get away, “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, and evening full of linnet’s wings.”(Page 1141 Lines 5-8). The city was moving way too fast for him, there was way too much change going on in such a short time that it astounded him, he needed to find a peaceful place to sit down and relax. Coming from the busy...