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Turkish Poetry and Literature

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Sailing To Byzantium
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 01 Feb 2008 Fri 12:23 pm

by William Butler Yeats.


That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
--Those dying generations--at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.


An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.


O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.


Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


2.       kafesteki kus
0 posts
 01 Feb 2008 Fri 12:33 pm

Beautiful)))thanx for sharing..

3.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 01 Feb 2008 Fri 12:34 pm

Byzantium in the Imagination of William Butler Yeats
James Haines

Byzantium plays a major role in two mature poems by Irish writer William Butler Yeats (1865–1939): “Sailing to Byzantium” (1926) and “Byzantium”. Though Yeats never visited Istanbul, when travelling through Italy he did see Byzantine church mosaics in Ravenna and Sicily. It is probably from these experiences that the idea of using Byzantium as a symbolic contrast to the Ireland of his day (which he refers to as “no country for old men” in the earlier of the two poems) came to him.

Writing of “Sailing to Byzantium”, Yeats noted that ‘When Irishmen were illuminating the Book of Kells and making the jewelled croziers in the National Museum, Byzantium was the centre of European civilisation and the source of its spiritual philosophy, so I symbolise the search for the spiritual life by a journey to that city’. From Yeats’ letters and prose commentaries, we know that he viewed Byzantium as a sort of heavenly realm which, through its art and architecture, will last eternally. As Yeats himself puts it, Byzantium was a place where ‘religious, aesthetic and practical life were one’, a place where artists and craftsmen ‘spoke to the multitude and the few alike’, a place where he ‘could find in some little wine-shop some philosophical worker in mosaic who could answer all my questions, the supernatural descending nearer to him than to Plotinus even’.

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