The two Irelands of “The Lover tells of the Rose in his Heart”

Within Yeats poem “The Lover tells of the Rose in his Heart” , the speaker presents two distinct visions of Ireland in images meant to evoke a modern, Anglicized nation in contrast to and lacking the essence of the true Ireland found in the natural, eternal world. The modern nation is presented in specific, short images of                                                     “The cry of a child by the roadway, the creak of a lumbering                                                                   cart,                                                                                                                                                                                          The heavy steps of the ploughman, splashing the wintry                                                                    mould”(2-4).                                                                                                                                                                       These images present disjointed elements of the natural world, a child and the winter ground, reacting violently with a cry and splash in response to modern presences such as a roadway or the steps of a laboring ploughman. The structural form of the poem creates division and isolation within these images to parallel the fragmenting power of modern, regimented existence. This is in contrast to the easy flow of the speakers description of the true, essential Ireland  expressed when he states                                                                                          “I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll apart,                                                            With the earth and the sky and the water, re-made, like a                                                                   casket of gold”(10-13).  The speaker hungers, a base instinct of desire that ascribes to Irish sentimentalism, to construct the physical formation of a green knoll out of the “the wrong of unshapely things”(8) or the immaterial constructions that taint the image of Ireland in attempts to assimilate its essence to an English pragmatism. The images here present an interconnected union between nature and the speaker. The structure of this section also fragments segments of verse yet the emphasis of the natural Irish essence, “a casket of gold” is more rewarding than the  “cart” or “mould” of modern Ireland. Please comment if you see any other structural devices or images that support or challenge my interpretation!

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