File Addison Essay

4851 Words20 Pages
Yeats A General Introduction to My Work W. B. Yeats, “A General Introduction for My Work” ([unpubl.] 1937) [ Reprinted in Essays and Introductions, London; Macmillan 1961, &c. ] The First Principle A poet writes always of his personal life, in his finest work out of its tragedy, whatever it be, remorse, lost love, or mere loneliness; he never speaks directly as to someone at the breakfast table, there is always a phantasmagoria. Dante and Milton had mythologies, Shakespeare the characters of English history or of traditional romance; even when the poet seems most himself, when he is Raleigh and gives potentates the lie, or Shelley “a nerve o’er which do creep the else unfelt oppressions of this earth,” or Byron when “the soul wears out the breast” as “the sword outwears its sheath,” he is never the bundle of accident and incoherence that sits down to breakfast; he has been reborn as an ideal something intended, complete. A novelist might describe his accidence, his incoherence, he must not; he is more type than man, more passion than type. He is Lear, Romeo, Oedipus, Tiresias; he has stepped out of a play, and even the woman he loves is Rosalind, Cleopatra, never The Dark Lady. He is part of his own phantasmagoria and we adore him because nature has grown intelligible, and by so doing a part of our creative power. “When mind is lost in the light of the Self,” says the Prashna Upanishad, “it dreams no more; still in the body it is lost in happiness.” “A wise man seeks in Self,” says the Chandogya Upanishad, “those [509] that are alive and those that are dead and gets what world cannot give.” The world knows nothing because it has made nothing, we know everything because have made everything. Subject-Matter It was through the old Fenian leader John O’Leary I found my theme. His long imprisonment, his banishment, his magnificent head, his scholarship,

More about File Addison Essay

Open Document