Thursday, 25 October 2012

Day 125: The Stolen Child

 
In Ireland we have a peculiar saying to denote madness - we say a person is 'away with the fairies.' How unfair really. For going by this poem from Yeats, away with the fairies seems a most pleasant destination, away from all the 'weeping' of the world into the magic and beauty of nature. Escapism, in other words, to the imagination, that most fertile world of fantasy.
 
Yeats uses the influence of old Irish myths and legends here, but the poem does have a deep ring of truth to it - who wouldn't want to be tempted away by the fairies, away from all their sorrows? Lured into an imaginative world where the burdens of reality drop away? But what the poem really urges is for a young child to escape to  the sanctuary of his imagination, before the adult world can corrupt him with all its sorrows and woes.
 
Yeats, by the way, was a fervent believer in fairies. He was even accused of 'being away with the fairies' himself at many points in his career. Maybe that could explain his uniquely dazzling and unequalled collection of work and reputation as a grand poet. Because poets are believers are they not, in magic, above all else??
 
(This poem choice was inspired by stumbling upon this wonderful quote from LM Montgomery - There is such a place as Fairyland... which backs up my immediate previous statement!)
 
 

The Stolen Child - WB Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can

  understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can
   understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can
   understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
From a the world more full of weeping than he can
   understand.      

3 comments:

  1. I've been away with the Fairies most of my life:) I've never heard that the Irish use that saying to denote madness, interesting, and yes a bit unfair. Beautiful poem, I love Yates work, I now know why I can relate...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes Esther, me too! I'd much rather be away with the fairies than stuck on solid swampy ground! Yes, it's used in a light-hearted way, most especially to describe people who are not reined in to reality, who like to march to the beat of their own drum! If you ask me, I think it should be a compliment!

    Yeats is very mystical in his later work especially, and was very interested in the occult and Easten spirituality his whole life. But he did believe in fairies too! The legends still hold true to this day in Ireland about fairies, for example, most people will not cut down 'fairy trees'- usually hawthorns - as misfortune always seemed to befall the perpetrators.

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  3. I'm someone who has lived a life seemingly in the background, I must say this final indignity I have suffered almost too much to endure. You see, I have been sickly and weak since the day I was born and doomed to go through all my life a weakling. I seemed to have always suffered from one illness or another and could never play with the other children as I so desperately wanted to. Mother always made such a big fuss over me, also, making the situation worse as the other boys teased me mercilessly after they saw it. I was browsing  the internet searching on how i could be transformed into a powerful when i came across the email of a man named Lord Mark. who was a VAMPIRE so I told him that I has always dreamed of becoming a  VAMPIRES, All i did was just to follow the procedure that i was been told, and i bet you that procedure I took change my entire life to something i ever desire, freedom, sickness free, pains free, fame, influence, connections and even more that i can. Thanks to Lord Mark. Do you want a life full of interesting things? Do you want to have power and influence over others? To be charming and desirable? To have wealth, health, and longevity? contact the vampires creed today via email: Vampirelord7878@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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