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The Second Coming Summary The poem begins with the image of a falcon flying out of earshot from its human master. In medieval times, people would use falcons or hawks to track down animals at ground level. In this image, however, the falcon has gotten itself lost by flying too far away, which we can read as a reference to the collapse of traditional social arrangements in Europe at the time Yeats was writing. In the fourth line, the poem abruptly shifts into a description of "anarchy" and an orgy of violence in which "the ceremony of innocence is drowned." The speaker laments that only bad people seem to have any enthusiasm nowadays. At line , the second stan!a of the poem begins by setting up a new vision. The speaker takes the violence which has engulfed society as a sign that "the "econd #oming is at hand." $e imagines a sphin% in the desert, and we are meant to think that this mythical animal, rather than #hrist, is what is coming to fulfill the prophecy from the &iblical &ook of 'evelation. At line (), the vision ends as "darkness drops again," but the speaker remains troubled. *inally, at the end of the poem, the speaker asks a rhetorical +uestion which really amounts to a prophecy that the beast is on its way to &ethlehem, the birthplace of #hrist, to be born into the world. Lines 1-2 Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

The falcon is described as "turning" in a "widening gyre" until it can no longer "hear the falconer," its human master. A gyre is a spiral that e%pands outward as it goes up. Yeats uses the image of gyres fre+uently in his poems to describe the motion of history toward chaos and instability. In actual falconry, the bird is not supposed to keep flying in circles forever, it is eventually supposed to come back and land on the falconer-s glove. .Interesting fact/ falconers wear heavy gloves to keep the birds from scratching them with their claws.0

Line 3 Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;


The "notion" that "things fall apart" could still apply to the falcon, but it-s also vague enough to serve as a transition to the images of more general chaos that follow. The second part of the line, a declaration that "the centre cannot hold," is full of political implications .like the collapse of centrali!ed order into radicalism0. This is the most famous line of the poem/ the poem-s "thesis," in a nutshell.

Lines 4-6 Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

These three lines describe a situation of violence and terror through phrases like "anarchy," "blood1dimmed tide," and "innocence 2. . .3 drowned." .&y the way, "mere" doesn-t mean "only" in this conte%t, it means "total" or "pure."0 4verall, pretty scary stuff. Also, with words like "tide," "loosed," and "drowned," the poem gives the sensation of water rushing around us. It-s like 5oah-s flood all over again, e%cept there-s no orderly line of animals headed two1by1two into a boat. 6hat-s Yeats referring to here7 Is this a future prophecy, the poet-s dream, or maybe a metaphor for Europe at war7 There-s really no way to be sure 8 Yeats doesn-t seem to want us to know too much.

Lines 7-8 The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

6ho are "the best" and "the worst"7 4ne way of deciphering them is that Yeats is talking about "the good" and "the bad." &ut he doesn-t use those words in the poem, and these lines are a clue as to why not. *or one thing, if "the best lack all conviction," can they really be that good7 &elieving in something enough to act on it is kind of what being good is all about. 4n the other hand, "the worst" have all the "intensity" on their side, which is good for them, but definitely not for everyone else. Think about that time you dropped your lunch in the cafeteria and all the people you hate laughed really hard, and all your friends were too embarrassed to do anything about it. According to Yeats, Europe after the war is kind of like that. Things are so messed up that you can-t tell the good and the bad apart.

Lines 9-10 Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second oming is at hand.

5otice how these two lines are almost e%actly the same. This is where the speaker tells us what he thinks is going on, but the repetition means that he-s maybe not so sure and is slowly trying to figure things out.

It-s a revelation, he says, which is when the true meaning of something is revealed. 5ot only that, but it-s a revelation according to the most reputable source for these kinds of things/ the &ook of 'evelation. Apparently, all this violence and moral confusion means "the "econd #oming is at hand." According to the &ible, that means #hrist is going come back and set everything straight, right7 6e-ll see. *or now, the poem is about to take another turn.

Lines 11-13 The Second oming! "ardly are those words out #hen a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight$ somewhere in sands of the desert

"o maybe we-re not saved. The words ""econd #oming" seem to have made the speaker think of something else, so that he repeats the phrase as an e%clamation. It-s like, "Eureka9" It makes him think of a "vast image out of Spiritus Mundi." To know what this means, you have to know that Yeats was very interested in the occult and believed that people have a supernatural connection to one another. It-s in the same ballpark as telepathy or a psychic connection, but not +uite as kooky as those other things. It-s more like we-re all connected to a big database of communal memories going back all the way through human history, which we can get in contact with when we-re feeling truly inspired. :iterally, Spiritus Mundi means "spirit of the world." The speaker, through his sudden, revelatory connection to the world, is given access to a vision that takes him "somewhere in the sands of the desert."

Line 14 A shape with lion body and the head of a man,


$ere, he is describing the sphin%, a mythical beast "with lion body and the head of a man." You might have seen the picture of the ancient sphin% in Egypt/ it-s pretty famous. &ut Yeats isn-t talking about that sphin%, per se. $e-s talking about the original, archetypal symbol of the sphin% that first inspired the Egyptians to build that big thing in the desert, and which is now inspiring him.

Lines 15-17 A ga%e blank and pitiless as the sun, &s moving its slow thighs, while all about it 'eel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

In these lines he describes the sphin%-s e%pression and what it is doing. &y calling its ga!e "pitiless," he doesn-t mean "evil" or "mean1spirited." In fact, the sphin% really seems to have an inhuman e%pression that is as indifferent as nature itself. It is "blank," statues+ue, and incapable of having empathy with other humans. This might not tell us much, but now we know that the sphin% doesn-t ;ibe at all with the way most people think of #hrist. In other words, this ""econd #oming" doesn-t seem to have at lot in common with the descent of #hrist from $eaven as described in the &ook of 'evelation. 5or does it seem to be in any big hurry to get here, as it moves "its slow thighs." &ut, strangely, this slowness only seems to add to the suspense and terror, like <ichael <yers chasing =amie :ee #urtis in the movie "alloween. Even the birds are ticked1off, or "indignant," but it-s not clear why. Their circling is similar to the gyres of the falcon from the beginning of the poem, but from what we know about desert birds, like vultures, when they fly in circles it-s often because they think something will die soon.

Lines 18-20 The darkness drops again; but now & know That twenty centuries of stony sleep #ere ve(ed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

The vision from Spiritus Mundi ends as "darkness drops again," like a stage curtain, but it has left the speaker with a strong prophetic impression. $e knows something that he didn-t before, namely, that this strange sphin% is a symbol that will bear on the future. Thinking outside the poem, it-s safe to say that he is talking about Europe-s future, and perhaps the world-s in general. 6hat e%actly does the speaker claim to "know"7 "Twenty centuries" refers to roughly the amount of time that has passed since the "first coming" of #hrist. &ut we have already seen that the "econd #oming is not going to be anything like the first. Although >,??? years seems like a long time to us, Yeats compares it to a single night of an infant-s sleep, which is suddenly "ve%ed to nightmare by a rocking cradle." The cradle reinforces the image that something has recently been "born," and its motion also serves as a metaphor for social upheaval.

It-s interesting that the infant doesn@t wake up because of the rocking. It instead begins to have nightmares, much like the recent nightmares afflicting European society, whose long history amounts to no more than the first stages of childhood. It-s the terrible two-s of an entire continent.

Lines 21-22 And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards )ethlehem to be born*

The ob;ect of Yeats-s vision, which was formerly symboli!ed as a pitiless sphin%, is now described as a "rough beast" on its way to &ethlehem 8 the birthplace of #hrist 8 "to be born." The "slouching" of this beast is animalistic and similar to the slow gait of the sphin% in the desert. It sounds more than a little menacing. Yeats is using the birth at &ethlehem as a metaphor of the passage of this malevolent beast from the spirit world 8 Spiritus Mundi 8 to the real, everyday world, where its effects will be visible to everyone. &y phrasing these lines as a +uestion, Yeats tantali!es us with all the possibilities of what he might be describing. In the time since Yeats wrote the poem, the beast has been interpreted as a prediction of everything bad that the twentieth century has wrought, particularly the horrors of 6orld 6ar II/ $itler, fascism, and the atomic bomb. It is the "nightmare" from which society would not be able to awake. 4f course, Yeats would not have known about these specific things. $owever, he did seem to have a sense that things were still getting worse while most people around him thought things were getting better. "ome readers have thought that the birth at the end was an ironic vision of the Antichrist, an embodiment of evil as powerful as #hrist was an embodiment of goodness. 4thers believe that the beast, even though it is described as "rough," might not be evil, but merely a manifestation of the kind of harsh ;ustice that society as a whole deserves. In other words, things have become so violent and decadent that Aod-s only solution is to deploy his all1purpose cleanser. The following notes are only a partial analysis of BThe "econd #oming-, but they try to show how the poem is linked with the Yeatses- "ystem. "ee also the comments in Aeometry about the notes which Yeats himself wrote. .&f you are a student and wish to use or cite them, please do, but avoid plagiarism by attributing them.0

BThe "econd #oming- was written in =anuary ( ( , according to what Aeorge Yeats told 'ichard Ellmann .The &dentity of +eats0, and first appeared in The ,ial and The -ation in 5ovember ( >? and then in book form in Michael 'obartes and the ,ancer .( >>0. =on "tallworthy has analysed the drafting process of the poem in )etween the .ines .and the

drafts also appear in the #ornell series, Michael 'obartes and the ,ancer0, showing how Yeats originally referred to &urke, Citt and the Aermans on the 'ussian border, but these details were removed and much of the poem-s power derives from its prophetic generalisation and vagueness. In this it has &iblical resonances from the Crophets of the 4ld Testament, with its dismayed view of the current state of the world and its foreboding about what will come. The opening image derives from the "ystem and the widening gyre, an historical movement or trend that started at the birth of #hrist, is figured as a falcon-s towering. In the "ystem, this gyre is accompanied by a diminishing gyre which reaches its minimum at the same time as the first reaches its widest e%tent, which may therefore be linked to the Btwenty centuries of stony sleep-, these gyres have the inevitability of the tides, and like them are connected to the <oon and its phases. In the symbol of the falcon, the falconer represents control but stands at the lowest point of the gyre-s ape%, so that, as the falcon towers higher, it can no longer hear the controlling centre. This leads to the stark, simple statements BThings fall apart, the centre cannot hold-. Indeed, much of the power of the opening section derives from the simplicity of its language, as well as the accumulation of symbols and images, which proceed with an oneiric logic through a single sentence/ falcon-s gyre widening, disintegration, anarchy, tide of blood, drowning of ceremony of innocence, weakness and passion. The word B<ere- means both pure and only, and the first section further emphasises the generality and absoluteness of the situation with words such as Beverywhere- and Ball-. The B<ere anarchy- which is loosed .by whom70 like a plague or scourge then becomes a tide dimmed by blood, recalling the bloody seas of the 'evelation of "t =ohn, the flood from the mouth of the serpent and the vials of wrath .'ev )/), (>/(D, (E/(1F0. The phrase BThe ceremony of innocence- is linked to a poem from later in ( ( , BA Crayer for my Gaughter-, where the poet asks B$ow but in custom and ceremony H Are innocence and beauty born7-, here the phrase suggests a vague image of whatever the reader-s imagination summons .perhaps white cloth or candles70, which is then engulfed in the crimson of the multitudinous seas. The view then moves to society and the abstract groupings of its best and worst/ the best are paralysed by lack of conviction, while the worst are fired with Bpassionate intensity-, possibly linked to the red tide of anarchy. Yeats is constantly wary of the into%icating or brutalising effect of fanaticism and hatred, both in himself and others, and especially in the conte%t of the struggle for Irish independence, the Easter 'ising and the #ivil 6ar/ see, for e%ample, "Easter ( (E" ."eptember ( (E0, "4n a Colitical Crisoner" .=anuary ( ( 0, "A Crayer for <y Gaughter" .=une ( ( 0, "<editations in Time of #ivil 6ar" .( >(1>I0, especially the last two parts, JI and JII, "'emorse for Intemperate "peech" .August ( I(0. The repetitions and echoes of the first section .BTurning and turning-, Bloosed . . . loosed-, Bfalcon . . . falconer. . . fall-0 are emphasised at the beginning of the second section/ B"urely some revelation is at hand, H"urely the "econd #oming is at hand. H The "econd #oming9- The phrase used in the drafts was Bthe second birth-, but in the final version the idea is linked far more clearly to the "econd #oming of #hrist, and this is reinforced by the mention of &ethlehem in the last line. Yet if this is a second coming, it is not the second coming of #hrist envisaged in 'evelation or the Aospels .see <att >F, <ark (I0.

The poem moves from generality to a vision e%perienced in the first person, which "tallworthy characterises as Bthat most common Yeatsian pattern of an ob;ective first movement passing into a more sub;ective second movement- .)etween the .ines, >F0. An image emerges from BSpiritus Mundi-, the world-s creative and active mind .cf. Anima Mundi, the world1soul0, which recalls a vision that Yeats himself e%perienced when the Tattwic symbol of *ire was pressed to his forehead by <athers .Au ()D1)E0. $ere, however, the figure is not a Titan emerging from ruins, but a figure in Bsands of the desert- like the "phin% at Ai!a, which is itself probably an image of solar deity, BA shape with lion body and the head of a man-. .It is worth noting that the sphin% was regarded in the Aolden Gawn as a combination of elemental forces, particularly the B"phyn%- of their Enochian magic, and with this appearance represents the combination of *ire and Air, or :eo 2lion3 and A+uarius 2human3 2see '/, ED ff.3, possibly therefore linked with the coming age of A+uarius.Knote0 &ut Yeats deliberately does not call it a sphin%, describing rather than naming it, and another source of the symbol-s inspiration was slightly different/ in the Introduction to The 'esurrection he notes how, at around the time of writing 0n )aile1s Strand .( ?F0, BI began to imagine, as always at my left side ;ust out of the range of sight, a bra!en winged beast which I associated with laughing, ecstatic destruction-, noting that the beast was BAfterwards described in my poem "The "econd #oming."- .2( I I, 34l I>0. The "phin% also appears, named in another poem from ( ( , BThe Gouble Jision of <ichael 'obartes-, where it takes on the Areek female form, BA "phin% with woman breast and lion paw-, and it is possible that Yeats associated the term more fully with the murderous in+uisitor of the 4edipus myth, since the name literally means strangler. In BThe Gouble Jision- the "phin% is one of the Bheraldic supporters guarding the mystery of the fifteenth phase- .A3 ) >?L0, at which a new religious dispensation starts, and symbolises the con;unction of =upiter and "aturn which presides over the start of an antithetical dispensation .see below, for more on this poem, see BThe Gouble Jision of <ichael 'obartes-0. The image of BThe "econd #oming- is no heraldic emblem but moves, its pitiless inhumanity reflected from its human head, and the reeling of the desert birds echoes the falcon-s towering at the opening of the poem. The Bslow thighs- emphasise its physicality and almost se%ual aura. At this stage the vision ends, but the poem-s speaker then moves on to a conclusion/ Bnow I know-. 6hat he knows, however, is couched in the most gnomic terms/ BThat twenty centuries of stony sleep H 6ere ve%ed to nightmare by a rocking cradle-. Aiven Yeats-s idea of the two1thousand1 year cycles, one of which started at #hrist-s birth, we have an appropriate period .though the first printing in The ,ial had Bthirty centuries-, the drafts and all later versions have Btwenty-0, but who is the sleeper7 is it the stony sphin% or the world7 Elsewhere, Yeats refers to the representative of the antithetical tincture as B4ld 'ocky *ace- .BThe Ayres- 34 DEF, ( IE1IL, possibly the Gelphic 4racle or "helley-s Ahasureus, see - ID 0 and it is possible that he saw the ancient polytheistic past associated with the antithetical as having lain in stasis during the cycle of monotheism, associated with its opposite, the primary. The antithetical awaits revivification, like Bmummy1wheat- which will sprout when it is sown again, and its dormancy has been a kind of stony sleep which might well regard the ascendancy of its opposite as a nightmare .see the Tinctures0. The rocking cradle appears to allude to the baby =esus, yet #hrist is almost never pictured as lying in a cradle, rather the beasts- manger, so that in some respects Yeats divorces the nightmare-s stimulus from =esus and it may be linked to the B&abe- of BThe <ental Traveller-, who is reborn in a reversing cycle of victimage, which Yeats links to the reversing cycles of A 3ision and the birth of a Bchild or era- .A3 ) >DL M >LL0. The final

+uestion mark makes the last clause ambiguous, since the phrase can be read in two ways/ Bnow I know. . . what rough beast- and @what rough beast7-. The +uestion, though, predominates, since even within the framework of Yeats-s "ystem the future is uncertain/ the broad outline is inevitable, but the Bparticulars are the work of the Thirteenth one or cycle-, which represents the divine .A3 ) I?>0, so that A 3ision itself ends in a series of +uestions. Yeats therefore knows that this coming is of a Brough beast- .another echo of 'evelation, see 'ev (I0, that the beast-s hour has Bcome round at last-, the phrasing indicating the cyclical nature of this hour, and that it slouches towards &ethlehem, but still +uestions its nature. The word B"louches- adds to the sinister aura, with its precise, feline blend of casualness and stalking, but despite the sensuousness of this verb and of the Bslow thighs-, the beast has not yet been born into the physical world. The beast-s birth at &ethlehem links it to the birth of =esus, but &ethlehem is more a symbolic state than a geographical place .like &lake-s =erusalem, for instance0. In the "ystem of A 3ision, Yeats indicates that the coming Avatar, or divine incarnation, because it is antithetical will be multiple rather than single, and he represents the classical predecessor of #hrist in a variety of ways. In one guise, the counterpart is 4edipus, who Blay upon the eath at the middle point between four sacred ob;ects. . . and he sank down soul and body into the earth. I would have him balance #hrist who, crucified standing up, went into the abstract sky soul and body. . . .- .A3 ) > 0. In the poem B:eda and the "wan- .also titled ;ust B:eda-0, however, he sees the rape of :eda by Neus in the form of a swan as the heroic age-s key moment/ BI imagine the annunciation that founded Areece as made to :eda. . . .- .A3 ) >E)0. It is the counterpart to the annunciation to <ary by the $oly Ahost, represented by a dove, and he titles the section of A 3ision on historical cycles BGove or "wan-. :eda-s daughter, $elen, precipitates the Tro;an 6ar and her other daughter, #lytemnestra, kills her husband, Agamemnon/ BA shudder in the loins engenders there H The broken wall, the burning roof and tower H And Agamemnon dead-. It is a form of this classical antithetical annunciation, similar to that of the "wan but different, which will be repeated. The poem-s power of image and language is to some e%tent independent of Yeats-s own ideas, and by using &iblical echoes, both in style and reference, Yeats gives the poem an immediacy, which some of the other poems that derive from the "ystem of A 3ision lack. It draws on the cultural conte%t or schema in which we tend read it, giving e%pression to millennial dread and the feeling that we live in times of unprecedented upheaval, whether or not we actually do. BThe "econd #oming- also has a intrinsic linguistic vividness that is witnessed by the fre+uency with which is +uoted. *rom #hinua Achebe-s novel, Things 5all Apart, to =oan Gidion-s Slouching Towards )ethlehem, almost every phrase in the poem has been used, usually more than once, to entitle a book or an article of greater or lesser impact .there is a collage version of the poem at deuceofclubs.com that uses some of these to build the poem from book1covers, some bits work better than others0. Even relatively small modifications of language weaken it considerably, as is evidenced by =oni <itchell-s generally respectful reworking, B"louching Toward &ethlehem-. Yeats had written in ( ?? that/ BIt is only by ancient symbols, by symbols that have numberless meanings besides the one or two the writer lays an emphasis upon, or the half1score he knows of,

than any highly sub;ective art can escape from the barrenness and shallowness of a too conscious arrangement, into the abundance and depth of 5ature. The poet of essences and pure ideas must seek in the half1lights that glimmer from symbol to symbol as if to the ends of the earth, all that the epic and dramatic poet finds of mystery and shadow in the accidental circumstances of life.BThe Chilosophy of "helley-s Coetry-, 26& )L0. The symbols that he uses here similarly partake of a wider symbolism of Bnumberless meanings- rather than ;ust the ones which are linked to his "ystem and the poem-s immediate inspiration, so that although a knowledge of Yeats-s ideas certainly clarifies elements in the poem, BThe "econd #oming- has no single e%planation. #ommentary/ Yeats starts out with the image of a falcon wheeling about in the sky, far away from the falconer who released it. The bird continues to wheel and gyre further and further away from the falconer. This metaphor stands for the young people who have given up the standards of their parents and grandparents for the new art, the new literature, the new music, and the other novelties of Yeats@ time. The poem was composed in ( >?. There is another interpretation of the falcon1falconer image, and that is the image of the head or intellect as the falcon and the rest of the body and the body sensations and feelings .heart0 as the falconer. This idea is reinforced and repeated later in the poem when Yeats brings in the image of the "phin%, which is a re1 connection of these two components. In the image of the "phin%, the head1intellect isconnected to the body. That is the "phin% isn@t broken apart. The giant sculpture is still intact. The last two lines of the first stan!a are simply a commentary on the times. Yeats says "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." This also suggests a dissociation between the best, which Yeats identifies as head people, the intellectuals, and the worst, whom Yeats associates with the mob who are those who react with passionate intensity not with careful intellectual study and e%pression. In the first stan!a of the poem Yeats gives us the first bird metaphor. In the second part of the poem Yeats gives us the second bird metaphor in the form of "indignant desert birds." These creatures appear to have been roosting on the "phin%, but when the massive beast began to move its "slow thighs" the birds became agitated and took off. The poet shows us the image a little later. The birds are flying around above the slowly moving "phin%. At the start of the second stan!a Yeats calls for a revelation, saying ""urely a revelation is at hand." And Yeats himself becomes the revelator. Yeats is a revelator because he gives us a powerful image for The "econd #oming. This is the image of a "rough beast" which has the head1intellect of a man and the fierce emotions and body intelligence of a beast. *urthermore, Yeats suggests that the body movement of the beast, the "slouching" movement is what is moving the #hrist closer and closer to its "&ethlehem" or birthplace. Yeats adds the image of the head1intellect connected to the body1mind of a beast to the image Isaiah gave as a little child for The <essiah. This makes Yeats a modern revelator or prophet. It@s significant that Yeats describes the "phin% as "A ga!e blank and pitiless as the sun," because spiritual masters are known to ga!e blankly as they transmit "the message" to their disciples. Yeats e+uates this ga!e and this transmission with the "phin%, which he also uses to denote the

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"econd #oming of #hrist. After Yeats presents this brilliant visionary image, he says "The darkness drops again." $is vision ends and he starts thinking again. $e concludes that "twenty centuries of stony sleep 6ere ve%ed to nightmare by a rocking cradle." This is a pu!!ling line, because the rocking cradle suggests the manger where =esus was laid. &ut a manger doesn@t rock unless some animals are ;ostling it about in their movements. And this again suggests that animal body movement figures strongly into this idea of #hrist which Yeats presents in this poem. This poem is a riddle. Yeats ends by asking a +uestion. Throughout the poem there are hints as to what the answer to the riddle is. &ut Yeats doesn@t come right out and give the answer to the riddle. Yeats uses the image of a cat, ie, the "phin% in ;ustaposition with the two images of birds. *irst Yeats presents the broken image of the falcon dissociating from its trainer and master the falconer. Then Yeats presents the broken image of many birds flying around the "phin%. &ut the cat itself is a single whole image. *urthermore, the cat eats birds. The cat is mightier than the birds. The idea of being mighty is amplified by the very si!e of the "phin%. This suggests the power of the process which integrates the human intellect with the animal power of the bodily intelligence of the animal beast. $owever this idea rather conflicts with the conventional #hristian idea that #hrist overcomes the &east of 'evelation. "o Yeats is challenging certain images in conventional #hristianity. 4ne last comment. The image of a great cat, the "phin%, suggests a great independent spirit and heretic leader in Egypt who lived at about (ID?&# and was called "the heretic Charaoh." This man@s name was Akhnaton. The image of a cat fits this man because a cat tends to be very independent minded and determined once its mind is set. The suggestion Yeats is making is that Akhnaton had something important to contribute, which is heretical. 6hen we e%amine Akhnaton we find that he was a lover of nature, of animals, and of children. $e also introduced naturalistic art which is a precursor of Areek science. This may be stretching Yeats +uite a bit, but I thought I should throw it in. In this poem Yeats himself is presenting certain ideas which are heretical and might have offended some orthodo% #hristians.