Доклад опубликован в рамках III Областной научно – практической конференции учащихся на английском и немецком языках «Культурное наследие стран изучаемого языка», посвященной 350-летию Дж. Свифта, 25 февраля 2017.

Рожкова Анна Сергеевна, МАОУ Домодедовский лицей №3
имени Героя Советского Союза Ю.П. Максимова

Руководитель: Бабынина Татьяна Васильевна,
учитель английского языка

They say that reading makes people more intelligent. It does not matter what we read – books about historical events or philosophic thoughts, tales or serious novels, we get knowledge even if we do not try to learn something purposely. While reading, people find answers to their questions and discover different ways how to escape from their problems because they can look at some issues from another viewpoint. We suppose, every poet has his own love drama in his life and as a matter of fact he writes about it. We decided to try to look for some love poems in William Butler Yeats's works. While searching and reading such poems, we realized that lots of pieces of poetry are about unshared love.
So, the main objectives of our study are:

  • to research reasons of writing poems about unhappy love by Yeats;
  • to try to analyze Yeats's love poems;
  • to make an attempt of the translation poems by Yeats into the Russian language.

Irish poetry is considered to be one of the oldest sources of poetry in Europe. Their literature represents various aspects of Irish history and socio-cultural phases reflected through poems. The early phase of Irish poetry was marked with poems retold by writers praising the achievements and worthiness of the king. The medieval phase of Irish poetry was marked with the era of the bards who praised the lord for worthiness and rubbished those who dared go against the king. The Gaelic era represented the decline of the political power of the kings and changes in the world order. Hand-in-hand with the Romantic movement in Europe, cultural nationalism in Ireland gained momentum well-known as the «Young Irelanders». These men were renowned for their contribution to the Irish renaissance.
William Butler Yeats is a famous Irish poet, dramatist and one of the pioneers of the literary world in the 20th century. The son of a prominent portrait painter, he became interested in literature and poetry at a young age. Along with writing he was also deeply inclined towards politics. Yeats served as Abbey Theatre's chief during its early years. In 1923 Yeats was the first Irishmen awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.
The emotional power in many love poems by Yeats is shaped by the one-sidedness. Most of them are dedicated to Maud Gonne. Yeats met her in 1889. He proposed to her five times and she had no use for Yeats's proposals. However, she did have a use for his talents. Gonne would once ask for Yeats's help in London, ending a brief but happy love affair with Olivia Shakespear. Sensing divided loyalty, Shakespear would end the affair and it was shortly thereafter that Lady Gregory would save Yeats from a potentially more tragic end, like the poets of the tragic generation.
Analyzing Yeats's love poems we learned about his emotions to Maud Gonne because she had been the love of his whole life. She got married to MacBride and in all Yeats's love poems written after her marriage we feel how difficult it was for the poet to accept this situation.
In our research work we made an attempt to analyze some Yeats's poems.

«When You Are Old» (1891)

When you are old and grey 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;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars

«Когда состаришься...»

Когда твой блеск волос покроет седина,
Когда состаришься ты, сидя у камина,
Найди старинную на полке книгу
И взором поскользи в страницах до утра.
Прельщала многих ты изяществом своим,
Но искренней любви встречала мало.
И был один, кто в омут взгляда падал,
Он душу странника твою боготворил.
И у камина в этот поздний час
Ты расскажи себе, где чувства ныне,
Любовь скитается в морях или в пустыне,
И в звёздном небе прячется от нас.
(Перевод Анны Рожковой)

In the poem «When You Are Old» an anonymous narrator tells about a former lover and begs to remember her youth and his love for her. The narrator seems to be full of sorrows that she never took advantage of his love for her. He says that he even loved her as her looks began to fade. The speaker says: «And loved your beauty with love false or true». It means that many people loved the woman, but some of those people valued her for her physical beauty only. The next line is about one man who «loved the pilgrim soul in you», probably it is Yeats himself. The phrase «pilgrim soul» refers to Gonne's independent frame of mind. The first and fourth lines rhyme, as well as the second and third ones. Also the meter is an iambic pentameter — this gives the poem a musical quality. The poem is full of gentle images, such as «full of sleep», «nodding by the fire», «slowly read», «dream», «soft look», and «shadows deep». This sets the tone and mood of the poem; it is very soothing to read. This poem is created to keep a young woman from ignoring the narrator and making the wrong decision. The poem is desperately asking Maude Gonne not to let this happen.
Anyway, Maud Gonne once told Yeats that he must thank her for refusing to marry him because some of the best love poems in English literature appeared only due to this. We also made an attempt to analyze and translate into Russian W. Yeats's poem «Old Memory».

«Old Memory» (1904)

O thought, fly to her when the end of day
Awakens an old memory, and say,
'Your strength, that is so lofty and fierce and kind,
It might call up a new age, calling to mind
The queens that were imagined long ago,
Is but half yours: he kneaded in the dough
Through the long years of youth, and who would have thought
It all, and more than it all, would come to naught,
And that dear words meant nothing?' But enough,
For when we have blamed the wind we can blame love;
Or, if there needs be more, be nothing said
That would be harsh for children that have strayed.

«Старые воспоминания»

Приходит к тебе размышленье на ум,
Напоминание старых дум
Говорил о тебе, твоей силе живой,
Способной миры увести за собой.
Хотя королевы в почете всегда,
Лишь ты благородный его идеал.
Не помышляй жить боле, чем век -
Исчезнет когда-то любой человек.
И эти слова принесут тебе боль,
Но вечна, как силы природы, любовь
После в сомнении он замолчит,
И жизнь твою более не омрачит.
(Перевод Анны Рожковой)

In «Old Memory» Yeats attempts to get used to the trauma that he had got because of Maud Gonne's unexpected marriage in 1903. Since they first met in October in 1889, «through the long years of youth», he was «kneaded in the dough». "But enough" he writes and he wants to stop his woe, saying «For when we have blamed the wind we can blame love". It means that it is senseless to accuse forces of nature. Gonne's image as a straying child comports with the reference to wind and love, all being blamelessly wayward. In the final lines we understand that Yeats absolves Gonne, but losing her the author implies his own undiminished tenderness. The first and second lines rhyme, as well as the third and fourth lines. The metrical foot is amphibrach.
Love was one of William Butler Yeats's great inspirations. It was love that kept him moving and developing. But although his feelings were a personal tragedy they also resulted in something positive and beautiful. Yeats managed to deal with all his positive and negative experiences in a productive way.
Having done this research we came to the following conclusions:

  • Yeats love poetry gives us incontestable proofs that there was truly unhappy love in writer's life. In the poems we have analyzed he writes about his unshared feelings to a keen and sage woman.
  • Analysis helps us to understand finesse of Yeats's works better and due to all remarks we have made we tried to make the translations keeping metrical foot, type of rhyme, some tropes and style as it was in the origin.


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