William Butler Yeats is an Irish dramatist, author, and poet whose works are mostly classified as lyric and almost belonging to the age of the English romantics. He was a Nobel Prize awardee and one of the founders of the Irish Literary Revival. His works are the utmost expressions of his emotions and opinions and for such they are renowned. They have made Yeats the most influential English-writing poet of the twentieth century (“William Butler Yeats”). In his work, “Adam’s Curse”, which was published in 1902, Yeats exposed to his audience the depths of his mind.
He spoke of his beliefs in beauty, how it may truly be seen, and achieved.
More importantly it explained how beauty is truly understood and appreciated. Typical with Yeats’ other works, the poem has a consistent rhyme and meter. For every stanza, there is a definitive sound that ties all the lines together and makes the lyric piece progress smoothly to its meaning. The rhymes are external mostly by the end of each line and the point of view utilized is first person.
This means that the speaker of the poem is present as the story of the piece unfolds. The speaker is the one who experienced a disturbing occurrence. Also the speaker is the one opining on the given occurrence, the one conveying the writer’s message.
The initial clue as given by the speaker of the poem is in the first stanza, where the speaker was seemingly disappointed by people’s perception of true beauty. He said that he, together with the object of his affection is talking about poetry, and how beauty is created in difficulty. The disappointment set in when he stated that there are people who believe that they know beauty and yet they find artists and poets as lazy people. They do not see the labor that is poured into by creators in their works, yet they claim to know how to appreciate real beauty (Yeats).
In the second stanza, the object of the speaker’s affection agreed with the speaker in saying that beauty needs to be labored upon. Merely admiration is not the basis for knowing true beauty, nor is merely reciting a beautiful poem. This is supported by the succeeding lines where the speaker further pointed that after Adam’s fall, there had not been anything beautiful that was not a result of hard labor. In the example which was given in the poem, the beautiful feeling of love. The speaker indicated that love is beautiful and it is not easily earned. A man needs to work to achieve the love of a woman.
Merely knowing the feeling of love and not taking action upon it is not the true way of appreciating love. Lovers who work for their feelings are the good laborers, while those who keep their emotions are idlers. In the case of artists and poets, which seems to be the trade of the speaker, he who creates beauty by combining words to create an image that can convey a message are the true laborers. The businessmen and merchants who claim that they are lazy have no right to claim that they know the beauty in poetry or in paintings and many other forms of art.
They have no right to attest that a work is of beauty because they do not accept the labor that is behind it. They fail to accept that the secret of beauty is that it never looks like it has been labored upon. Its power is to trap life’s wonders and make it appear at an arm’s reach. This is why it is relaxing and comforting. This is the message that the poem tries to convey. The writer is telling that artists and poets are not idlers. In fact, they have what may be considered as the biggest burden of all. They are to contemplate, imagine, and create a work that can console a sorrowing heart, or bring excitement to a bored soul.
Their task is difficult as they are to hide hardships in their works. It is even worse than computing for the day’s sale. There is nothing routine in it, for routine can destroy its essence. Adam’s curse that made laboring necessary is a curse that is heaviest on an artist’s shoulder and this is what Yeats conveyed in his poetry.
“William Butler Yeats”. 2009. Nobelprize. org. 27 April 2009 < http://nobelprize. org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1923/yeats-bio. html >. Yeats, William Butler. 1902. “Adam’s Curse” the beckoning. com. 27 April 2009 < http://www. thebeckoning. com/poetry/yeats/yeats4. html >.