I swear my laptop hates me so I’m having to do this one at a time (oh my.) so here it is, September 1913 by W.B. Yeats!
September 1913 is a contemporary poem written by W.B. Yeats from the collection “Responsibilities”. The poems name changed from being originally written as “Romance in Ireland” to show how hard-hitting these events in 1913 we’re; before the war began.
The first stanza of September 1913 explains how religion is a ‘waste of time’, by saying that all were “Born to pray”, not praying voluntarily.
The essence of greed from the Catholics is also shown in the poem, explaining how the Catholics were responsible for the apathy of the Irish,
The tone of the poem in the first stanza is very much mocking towards the Catholics; and also very ironic. Yeats has wrote this in a “You all go to church but you’re:”
“Drying the marrow from the bone”
tone. He also mentions the Catholics ‘draining’ the money from the Irish by using “And add the half pence to the pence” as the third line in his poem.
“What need you, being come to sense” directly speaks to the audience, this being middle-class ‘greedy’ workers creating a greater impact than third-person narrative would.
There are many devices used, however the main device used in this prom is rhetorical question. For example the first line of the poem “what need you, being come to sense”. The first stanza is also both bitter and angry, with mocking tones. For example; “Shivering prayer”, these adjectives with informality showing anger and Sardonic language.
The rhyme scheme throughout the poem is alternate line (ABAB) maintaining a spiteful but conversational tone. Yeats also mentions that they should be born to fight as opposed to being born to pray, and also a reminder of contrast (“O’Leary in the grave”).
O’Leary was an activist, a strong fatherly figure… However Ireland’s now weak, contrast to O’Leary but the same in the regard of the “Old Ireland” being dead and now weak. There are 8 lines in each stanza, showing consistency and stability not only in Yeats’ life, but also in Ireland as a whole.
Yeats is also trying to stop the Catholics from being interested in themselves; instead he wants them to focus on Ireland, their nation. “Of a different kind” shows that as they are only interested in themselves, they are alienated from the others in Ireland and even from Ireland itself (as though they don’t belong there)
During the first and second stanzas, more rhetorical questions are added, drawing the reader back with heavy punctuation beneath enjambment. Along with this, Yeats is asking the audience “They were fighting, why aren’t you?”; this also shows that he preferred the older generation as they fought, cared, they were classed as a different ‘adulatory’ breed brave for fighting and were heroes of the past, also showing his bitterness and anger for the Catholics. By using the following quotation:
“Gave their life for us”
Yeats is also saying that the Catholics aren’t doing anything for about nothing and are hiding behind religion whilst selling the souls of the people, which he also mentions.
“They have gone around the world like wind,”
The above quotation explains how those that fought became eradicated/ scattered, sent out and forgotten as they aren’t metaphorically here any-more (simile) and have been left behind, in a tone of ‘you’ve gone and took the bravery of Ireland with you’
Each stanza is simple with a ‘to-the-point’ meaning. This is monosyllabic, Yeats also showing how all the nations have been ‘hit’ by what’s happened.
“Was it for the wild geese spread
The grey wing upon every tide;
For this that all that blood was shed,
For this Edward Fitzgerald died,
And Robert Emmett and Wolfe Tone,”
The first five lines of the third stanza show how each leader died in vain, solely forgotten. The wild geese spreading shows the Irish Immigration, exiled to Spain, Australia, the USA, carrying on the Irish Cause; supporting people of their country.
The wild geese also included those who couldn’t fight for their country due to their Catholicism.
Edward Fitzgerald, Robert Emmett, and Wolfe Tone all fought for nationalism/ the Catholic cause. This then brings us back to the second stanza where it states what they did to fight yet it is wasted, forgotten about. He states this in the tone of ‘We should behave like Rob, O’Leary, Wolf, Edward, if they came back they’d be disgusted. They’re safe, they can’t witness the apathy of the Irish’.
There is also Romanticism in this stanza; stating that they fought for a cause, leaving them there as they’ve moved on as Ireland is being forced to. However, Yeats is also explaining how their souls have lived on, and how these heroes should still be praised, their life running through others after them.
“You’d cry, ‘Some woman’s yellow hair”
The following quotation is a Personification of Morde Gonne; a freedom fighter of the country.