William Butler Yeats
William Yeats’ “Adam’s Curse” is a poem that addresses a profound truth of time. Any human accomplishment such as poetry, music, or physical beauty requires much labor and is appreciated by few. He says this through an emotional recollection of a conversation between himself, his lover and her friend. I believe the meaning of the work lays waiting like a net, waiting to catch the reader at surface level. The poem is simplistic in nature, which is quite atypical of Yeats’ poems, yet is considered easily one of the greatest poems he has ever written by critics and scholars.
The title itself is an explanation of the poems meaning. "Adams Curse" is from the Bible, a story when God cursed Adam and Eve for disobeying Him in the garden of Edom. This curse caused Adam to have to labour hard over his work to get any results. for Eve the curse was to give labour when bearing children, so her curse was pain. The title of the poem is the only reference to the Bible story we read.
One reason this poem is considered great is Yeats speaks on the artistic elements of a poem and the challenges it takes to create these elements “For to articulate sweet sounds together is to work harder than all these”. Not only does he speak on this briefly, but he goes on to write two other stanzas which indeed contain sweet sounds of articulation.
He also makes a point to bring to attention the lack of appreciation by “bankers schoolmasters and clergymen” show towards writing poetry. He even says writing poetry is harder than all these. The speaker is revealing an emotion which not only the speaker holds, but the writer of the poem as well. I believe poetry is a link, or a bridge between the reader and the mind of Yeats. Perhaps Yeats felt underappreciated, or perhaps he was mocked for devoting so much life into his poetry.
We know by reading the first stanza that Yeats holds poetry to a high level of expectation. He said if a line of poetry,...
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