Love's Loneliness Poem by William Butler Yeats

Love's Loneliness

Rating: 3.4

Old fathers, great-grandfathers,
Rise as kindred should.
If ever lover's loneliness
Came where you stood,
Pray that Heaven protect us
That protect your blood.

The mountain throws a shadow,
Thin is the moon's horn;
What did we remember
Under the ragged thorn?
Dread has followed longing,
And our hearts are torn.

Kevin Straw 10 August 2012

It seems to me that this poem cannot be explained from within. And that I think is a fault in a poem. A poem which is explicable only, or in part, by reference to history or philosophy etc., or has inexplicable internal inconsistencies or gnomic statements, is an imperfect poem, and bad manners on the part of the poet. There should be in a poem everything needed to understand it.. It may be that there are ideas or words etc. in a poem which are foreign to the reader, but, these explained, a poem should be internally complete. After all, we are reading poetry not history etc. At the same time there is a rhetorical beauty about this poem. Perhaps Yeats was talking to those who would know what he was talking about, and forgot about his wider audience.

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Michael Pruchnicki 10 August 2009

'Love's Loneliness' is the twelfth in a series of twenty-five poems under the collective title WORDS FOR MUSIC PERHAPS (August 19,1931) . The series includes such standbys as 'Crazy Jane and the Bishop, ' 'Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks at the Dancers, ' and 'Tim the Lunatic.' The speaker in 'Love's Loneliness' exhorts 'Old fathers, great-grandfathers' to come to his aid if they have ever experienced the pangs of a broken heart. Is it possible that such forbears long time dead now, either in the grave or approaching the end, can come to protect their offspring, their descendants who suffer here and now! The time has come when the first rush of love has subsided and we linger in dread under the thin shadow of a mountain in the waning moon's light. The one we longed for has changed into a creature we no longer know or understand, and we cannot recall with clarity those earlier feelings. This song is followed by 'Her Dream' and 'His Bargain' culminating in 'Three Things.' A refrain ends each of the three stanzas in 'Three Things' -'A bone whitened and dried in the wind'!

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Darlric John Lotik 10 August 2009

this is a strange poem hard to understand connect it that's all

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Carlos Echeverria 10 August 2012

great-grandfathers shadow remember longing. The words without rhyme provide the reason.

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Michael Pruchnicki 10 August 2008

Sometimes I think about people who post on this site who have no clue nor any interest about poets or poetry, but who seem to assume that their narrow interests should be addressed by the likes of William Butler Yeats! So a reader like Valerie assumes that the poem is 'strange' because she doesn't get it! Of course, the standard response is that she is entitled to her opinion, no matter how uninformed it may be! No matter, I think, she is like so many who post such drivel here and elsewhere - if I don't get it, the poet has failed!

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Adeeb Alfateh 03 February 2020

beautiful poem love begets loveliness loneliness

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Adeeb Alfateh 03 February 2020

love begets loveliness''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

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Lungelo S Mbuyazi 20 June 2018

Nice poem... Thought provoking that leaves the reader with a lot uncertainty...

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Francie Lynch 10 August 2014

Reminds me of Jimmy Fallon when he shares inside jokes with the guest. I know it must be funny because both of them are laughing, and I would too if I got it.

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Liliana ~el 10 August 2014

Widowed, lonely, longing, Days passing without meaning Wondering when again our hearts shall be whole But for now, tearing, shredded, ever so slightly

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William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats

County Dublin / Ireland
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