W B Yeats Ireland has for centuries been

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W B Yeats

W B Yeats

 • Ireland has for centuries been divided along religious lines • Protestants and

• Ireland has for centuries been divided along religious lines • Protestants and Catholics • Protestants have usually been in favour of a union with Britain • Catholics usually support independence

During the 17 th, 18 th, and 19 th centuries • Protestants have been

During the 17 th, 18 th, and 19 th centuries • Protestants have been aligned with Britain and since Britain ruled Ireland for centuries Protestants, although in the minority, were given power • Protestants controlled the parliament in Dublin and maintained enormous economic and political power

 • Not all Protestants had so much power • The ones who did

• Not all Protestants had so much power • The ones who did became part of a group known as the Protestant ASCENDANCY

 • One way of demonstrating their power was to build huge houses on

• One way of demonstrating their power was to build huge houses on estates in the countryside (these became known as the Big Houses)

 • The Big Houses (Yeats refers to them as Ancestral Houses since they

• The Big Houses (Yeats refers to them as Ancestral Houses since they sometimes went back hundreds of years) became the focus of much resentment from the Catholics or poorer member of society

Yeats was from a Protestant family but by the time he lived (1865– 1939)

Yeats was from a Protestant family but by the time he lived (1865– 1939) the power of the Ascendancy had diminished and when he was writing this poem, Irish people had foght a war of independence against the British and were in the middle of a civil war to determine its future

 • Yeats lamented the passing of the power of the Ascendancy but was

• Yeats lamented the passing of the power of the Ascendancy but was also a nationalist so he wanted independence for Ireland. He went on to be a Senator in the Irish Parliament.

 • Meditation in Time of Civil War was written in the summer of

• Meditation in Time of Civil War was written in the summer of 1922. Yeats was living in a Tower in Galway.

 • After the war of Independence a new war was fought over whether

• After the war of Independence a new war was fought over whether to accept a treaty with Britain giving some degree of independence. This is the civil war of the poem’s title. • Yeats supported the Treaty

Ancestral Houses Surely among a rich man's flowering lawns, Amid the rustle of his

Ancestral Houses Surely among a rich man's flowering lawns, Amid the rustle of his planted hills, Life overflows without ambitious pains; And rains down life until the basin spills, And mounts more dizzy high the more it rains As though to choose whatever shape it wills And never stoop to a mechanical Or servile shape, at others' beck and call.

Surely among a rich man's flowering lawns, Amid the rustle of his planted hills,

Surely among a rich man's flowering lawns, Amid the rustle of his planted hills, Life overflows without ambitious pains; And rains down life until the basin spills, And mounts more dizzy high the more it rains As though to choose whatever shape it wills And never stoop to a mechanical Or servile shape, at others' beck and call.

Mere dreams, mere dreams! Yet Homer had not Sung Had he not found it

Mere dreams, mere dreams! Yet Homer had not Sung Had he not found it certain beyond dreams That out of life's own self-delight had sprung The abounding glittering jet; though now it seems As if some marvellous empty sea-shell flung Out of the obscure dark of the rich streams, And not a fountain, were the symbol which Shadows the inherited glory of the rich.

Mere dreams, mere dreams! Yet Homer had not Sung Had he not found it

Mere dreams, mere dreams! Yet Homer had not Sung Had he not found it certain beyond dreams That out of life's own self-delight had sprung The abounding glittering jet; though now it seems As if some marvellous empty sea-shell flung Out of the obscure dark of the rich streams, And not a fountain, were the symbol which Shadows the inherited glory of the rich.

Some violent bitter man, some powerful man Called architect and artist in, that they,

Some violent bitter man, some powerful man Called architect and artist in, that they, Bitter and violent men, might rear in stone The sweetness that all longed for night and day, The gentleness none there had ever known; But when the master's buried mice can play. And maybe the great-grandson of that house, For all its bronze and marble, 's but a mouse.

Some violent bitter man, some powerful man Called architect and artist in, that they,

Some violent bitter man, some powerful man Called architect and artist in, that they, Bitter and violent men, might rear in stone The sweetness that all longed for night and day, The gentleness none there had ever known; But when the master's buried mice can play. And maybe the great-grandson of that house, For all its bronze and marble, 's but a mouse.

O what if gardens where the peacock strays With delicate feet upon old terraces,

O what if gardens where the peacock strays With delicate feet upon old terraces, Or else all Juno from an urn displays Before the indifferent garden deities; O what if levelled lawns and gravelled ways Where slippered Contemplation finds his ease And Childhood a delight for every sense, But take our greatness with our violence?

O what if gardens where the peacock strays With delicate feet upon old terraces,

O what if gardens where the peacock strays With delicate feet upon old terraces, Or else all Juno from an urn displays Before the indifferent garden deities; O what if levelled lawns and gravelled ways Where slippered Contemplation finds his ease And Childhood a delight for every sense, But take our greatness with our violence?

What if the glory of escutcheoned doors, And buildings that a haughtier age designed,

What if the glory of escutcheoned doors, And buildings that a haughtier age designed, The pacing to and fro on polished floors Amid great chambers and long galleries, lined With famous portraits of our ancestors; What if those things the greatest of mankind Consider most to magnify, or to bless, But take our greatness with our bitterness?

What if the glory of escutcheoned doors, And buildings that a haughtier age designed,

What if the glory of escutcheoned doors, And buildings that a haughtier age designed, The pacing to and fro on polished floors Amid great chambers and long galleries, lined With famous portraits of our ancestors; What if those things the greatest of mankind Consider most to magnify, or to bless, But take our greatness with our bitterness?

How might the house represent : v. The past v. Culture v. Escape

How might the house represent : v. The past v. Culture v. Escape