The poem “Adam’s curse” William Yeats is Nostalgic Love poem. It marries philosophy, love and a common religious belief to give a wonderfully crafted poetry. Again, the poetry romances nature, lingering on the night, personifying the moon and the stars and the sky.
The poem was written when William Yeats’ first love called Maud Gonna, went ahead and married another lover of hers. Perhaps, the pain was the reason for the poem, most probable, he must have felt like Adam, when he was chased out of the Garden of Eden that was why he gave the titled to the poem. The poem comes in six irregular stanzas of a rhythm-like couplet. Its plot is a medley of memories of his meeting with his heartthrob, Muad, who was returning from a long journey. There were not alone together at the meeting, there was a third party who is probably a friend. The third person in the poem is the one referred to as the
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend, and you and I …
The poem is rich of symbols. In actual fact, the poem itself is a symbol of the pain of heart break which Yeat must have felt at the loss of the love he once cherished so much. The poem is a memory of one of the sweet time he had spent with his love, which he wished could be brought back and since it can not be brought back, he decided to use poetry to bring it back. So what he could not achieve in real life, he was trying to achieve it with poetry.
We sat together at one summer’s end;
the tone of the poem is that of love, the diction of the poem points this out explicitly. In clear words, Yeats shows that he cares so much about his lover.
I had a thought for no one’s but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
to love you in the old high way of love;
However, married with the love is the tone of regrets, sorrow and pessimism. The Adam’s curse of symbolizes a sign a resignation to the ordained doom as predicted by God The allusion to the biblical story of Adam, shows the tragic nature of fate. The inevitable nature of his regret of not being able to forever have his love for keep. The poem goes philosophical, trying to give a plausible reason to why both of them can be together forever. Yeat claims that since the fall of Adam that, God has cursed man anything man does will be laboured for, thus the reason for the difficulty he is experiencing with his love. Love has now become so hard to achieve that it has been taken apart and become worthless.
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught…Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.
The poem gives meaning to all the struggles of human. It tries to dignify hard work and suffering of human, since they are necessary if man is to achieve anything in life. It embraces the use of the power of imagination to achieve to lot in life.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones and scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
The poem has used a lot of symbols. Many of which are rich in meaning. The Adam’s curse is used to refer to human condition as related to hardship of labor and mortality, like the biblical Adam was cursed to labor till his death. Another of its imagery that reflects a deep thought is the use of religion. Garden of Eden was referred to in the poem. When Adam sinned against God and was sent out of the garden. According to the poem, it was this event that brought about the pain of man today because prior to the curse of Adam, man loved without pain.
Several figures of speeches all used to add beauty to the poem like flowers to a garden are worth noticing. Some of them are the personification in use in qualifying the sky the moon.
….. trembling blue-green of the sky. As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.
Also adding to the aesthetic of the poem is the rime the poet used at the end of most of the lines. He achieved in making poem sound musical.
Summarily the poem, which has a tone of pessimism, for it carries the theme of curse, is rich in symbolism and other strong expressions .The poet ties his fate to the fate of Adam, he shares in Adam’s curse and hence must bear the burden of hardship in all his endeavors if he must achieve great deeds. It has been able to achieve a strong aspiration in the mind of all it readers.
- William Butler Yeats’s Adam’s Curse , Sparknote Literature