The Wild Swans At Coole

The poem ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ is written in a very regular stanza form: five six-line stanzas, each written in a roughly iambic meter. The rhyme scheme in each stanza is ABCBDD. The poem has a contrast where the stone is still yet the swan moves and is a modified ballet format tries to include rhyming couplets in an image of perfection. Yeats reflects on his age in the first line, as he is middle aged. The mention of a mirror to heaven in line three. It is spoken in the present tense. He refers to having an incomplete life and about his broken love with Maude Gone. His shattered illusions of love and Ireland are also told of. He emphasises the sorrow and pain of growing older and talks about how it could be the end of his life and time is running out. Originally the third stanza should have been the end of the poem but Yeats redrafted it and extended the poem. He then goes on to talk about time he hasn’t got and uses the techniques of an oxymoron and alliteration. He feels deserted and that he is an oxymoron to the swans he’s watching. He repeats the image of still water and uses monosyllables on a gentle beat and poky syllables to help balance it. The last verse there is a lack of rhyme and rhythm to help isolate and dispel his vision. He ends on a sense of longing and change with a sense of hope. The final verse is about him reflecting and feeling lonely. He ends on a rhetorical question which could interpreted as his lover Maude Gone has ‘flown away’ and left him.


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