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TRIBUTE/EULOGY/ELEGY TO ROBERT
GREGORY

Published in The Wild Swans at Coole 1919


Joined Royal Air Force Kiltartan Cross
Controversial, ambiguous, withheld until after
war- treason
Ireland remained neutral but soldiers who
enlisted were ostracised upon their return
Irish ambivalence towards World War I
Major Robert Gregory and Yeats relationship
was strained- motivation: for Lady Gregory
Britain organised press gangs to recruit

CONTEXT
Life expectancy of pilots 17.5 flying hours:
training accidents, combat, PTSD
Explores brutal reality, notion of balance,
equilibrium and transcendence
Moment of inevitable impending death,
immortalises persona
Textual integrity: Tight balanced structure
and chiasmus echoes deliberate choice
England postponed Irish Home Rule until
after the war

AN IRISH AIRMAN FORESEES HIS DEATH

I know that I shall meet my fate

Somewhere among the clouds above;

Those that I fight I do not hate,

Those that I guard I do not love;

My country is Kiltartan Cross,

My countrymen Kiltartan's
poor,

No likely end could bring them


loss

Or leave them happier than

Nor law, nor duty bade me


fight,

Nor public men, nor cheering


crowds,

A lonely impulse of delight

Drove to this tumult in the

I balanced all, brought all to


mind,

The years to come seemed


waste of breath,

A waste of breath the years


behind

CONNECTIONS: OTHER POEMS


ARGUMENTS
When You are Old- compare contrast
personal choices and consequences,
transcendence, celestial focus
The Wild Swans at Coole one man
encounters nature, flight, symbolic
of transpersonal struggle,
immutability of nature, will never
grow old, harmony/ balance, sharing
of temporal/eternal moment,
dialogue with himself many others

ARGUMENTS:
1. Recontextualise, reconceptualise
Multiple levels of meaning: individual, Ireland, creative impulse
2.Documents human emotion/experience:
calculated choice, indifference, passion and aesthetics- ARTS
SEARCH FOR BEAUTY, spontaneity like wild swans
3. Impact of historical events on individual lives- WWI, Uprising
Yeats on Robert Gregory: painter, classical scholar, scholar in
painting and modern literature, boxer, horseman, airman, his
very accomplishments hid from many his genius
4. Bridges Romantic: nature, transcendence, transpersonal
Modernist: treason, disillusionment, aircraft/technology

ARGUMENTS

5. Search for human identity found


in reckless impulse
6. Binary opposites :life/death,
sky/earth, love/hate
7.Chooses mortality, will never ageimmortalised
8. Controversy and ambiguity:
treasonous

ARGUMENTS
9. Search for truth in reason and
imagination; eternal rests in human
interactions with environment; beauty is
a shared temporal nd eternal moment,
harmony, balance
10. Multiple visions of Ireland: dilemma,
nationalism, aesthetics
11. Explores sweeping social change:
liberty, moral decline, disillusionment,
conflict, waste of breath

12. Beauty resides in the shared temporal and


eternal moment created by the poet/persona
13. Poet creates beauty in capturing nature
despite human remaining alienated from it
14. Poet brings harmony to mutable nature yet
still sees the reflected light of the sublime
Websites
For rhetoric: drmardy.com virtualsalt.com
For Yeats: shmoop.com
online.literature.com
Most sites with edu

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