Adam's Curse- Y.B. Yeats

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W.B. Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland. He was a lonely and unhappy boy, because of which he began to day dream and write escapist poetry. Yeats grew up as a member of the former Protestant Ascendancy at the time undergoing a crisis of identity. In 1889, Yeats met Maud Gonne, then a 23-year-old heiress and ardent Nationalist. Gonne had admired "The Isle of Statues" and sought out his acquaintance. Yeats developed an obsessive infatuation with her beauty and outspoken manner, and she was to have a significant and lasting effect on his poetry and his life thereafter. Maud Gonne’s political beliefs clashed with that of Yeats’ and perhaps that’s why she never committed herself to him. The unhappiness Yeats’ felt at Maud Gonne’s refusal to marry him underlies many of his poems. In the poem, Yeats describes the difficulty of creating something beautiful. The title alludes to the Original Sin and banishment of Adam from the Garden of Eden into a life of toil and sorrow. Addressing his beloved, Maud Gonne, the speaker remembers sitting with her and “that beautiful mild woman, your close friend”, Maud Gonne’s sister at the end of summer, discussing poetry. He remarked then that a line of poetry may take hours to write, but if it does not evoke the desired response from the reader, the poet’s work has been useless. The poet said that it would be better to “scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones ,”for to write poetry is a task harder than these, yet less appreciated by the “bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen” of the world. The “beautiful mild woman”—whose voice, the speaker notes, is so sweet and low it will cause many men heartache—replied that to be born a woman is to know that one must work at being beautiful, even though that kind of work is not taught at school. The speaker answered by saying that since the fall of Adam, every fine thing has required “laboring.” He said that there have been lovers who spent time...
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