A Prayer for My Daughter: the Poem

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A PRAYER FOR MY DAUGHTER
The poem by WB Yeats portrays how a father, blessed with a daughter, prays for the future happiness and wellbeing of her. The poet hopes that instead of growing up to be a woman of immense beauty, his daughter should be blessed with attributes of a virtuous and a great soul. She should be well-mannered and full of humility rather than being strongly opinionated, to avoid any intellectual detestation that could drown her in misery. The prayer for his daughter beyond its personal scope is a prayer for the evolution of a culture and human society based on values of decency and courtesy, magnanimity, innocence and ceremony. It is a prayer for the whole world. The poem begins with a vivid picture of a storm brewing in the seas. The storm is symbolic of the turmoil going on in the apprehensive poet’s mind regarding his newly-born’s future in a world marked with bloodshed and violence. Between his daughter and the raging seas, there stands ‘one bare hill’ and ‘Gregory’s wood’ which might not thwart the storm from reaching the hapless child. The poet is naturally worried as he senses the gale striking the tower and ‘the arches of the bridges’. In his mind, the storm presages the future years of his daughter arriving in a ‘frenzied’, delirious agitation, mounting from the ‘murderous innocence of the sea’. As a father, the poet wishes beauty for his daughter but not in such voluptuousness to engross the others to distraction or make her vain. He knows that people of immense superficial beauty consider beauty to be an end in it itself. They are blindfolded by their overwhelming beauty when the behold themselves ‘before a looking glass’, lose their ‘natural kindness’ and become inadequate to make the right choices in life.They are often lonely souls unable to respond to ‘sincere love’ or ‘find a friend’. The poet does not aspire his daughter to be bereft of kindness. He shudders at the thought of her daughter turning out to be another Helen of...
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