The Lake Isle of Innisfree
By W. B. Yeats
Analysis of the poem
§ The poem ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ is composed by William Butler Yeats who is an Irish poet, one of the most sparkling gems of 20th century literature. He is renowned for his mastery and skilful handling of imagery.
§ The tone of the poem is admiring as the poet admires the beauty of nature. It is composed in the style of a musical and rhythmic poem as it is a lyric. The poem is divided in three quatrains (stanza of four lines). They rhyme as well.
§ This poem composed by W. B. Yeats describes the poet’s yearning/longing to go to nature and live a peaceful life as he is fed up of his tedious routine and mundane life. This beautiful nature poem gives a call to return to nature.
§ The theme is reflected in the central idea of the poem that nature adds immense joy to our mundane life and tedious daily routine. The theme of the poem highlights that a cool and peaceful environment brings boundless bliss to our life.
§ A very significant message is conveyed through the poem that we need to visualise and respond to the beauty of the nature.
§ Using Imagery Yeats has been successful in making the people visualise a beautiful and peaceful place surrounded by the bounties of nature. Pen pictures of honeybees, crickets, linnets, glimmering midnight and lake water create a yearning in their hearts to go back to nature.
§ It brings poet’s childhood memories and takes him to the place similar to which he may have spent his childhood. It also brings back our experiences and memories related to foggy morning, hot noon, beautiful and colourful evening and starlit night.
Summary / Synopsis
· The poem opens with the scene of a beautiful place with greenery all around. The poet wants to relax and enjoy as he is completely fed up and sad due to his busy and mundane daily routine.
· In the beginning itself the poet gives an idea of what will he do when he reaches Innisfree. The use of the word ‘will’ proclaims his promise to himself. He says that he will make a small hut in an open place surrounded by greenery. Not only this, he will make a hive of honeybees. He will also grow plants and vegetables such as beans. This way he will live a happy, healthy and peaceful life.
· The poet will get peace in such beautiful place where misty morning, sound of crickets, hot noon, colours of linnet’s wings in evening and starlit midnight will make his hut an abode of heavenly peace.
· Standing on a pavement by the roadside the poet hears the lake water lapping by the shore and producing low sound. This sound leaves a great impact on the poet as it strikes the core of his heart. He recalls the place where he used to live and play in his childhood. He feels frustrated to find himself surrounded by polluted environment and noisy surroundings. Thus, he decides to go the lake island of Innisfree and spend the rest of his life for always.
· Towards the end the poet brings out the central idea of the poem that we need to bid goodbye to busy city life full of hustle and bustle and return to nature.
The theme is reflected in the central idea of the poem that nature adds immense joy to our mundane life and tedious daily routine. The theme of the poem highlights that beautiful nature and peaceful environment brings boundless bliss to our life.
A very significant message is conveyed through the poem that we need to visualise and respond to the beauty of the nature. We must respect nature and follow the rules of nature. It is advisable to live in the proximity of nature and enjoy the bliss that life is.
The poem is set in an imaginary place similar to the place where the poet may have spent his childhood and his boyhood memories get reflected in that place. Probably, the poet wants to relive his happy and carefree childhood as he is fed up of his busy and strenuous life and hubbub of city.
ABAB, CDCD, EFEF
Dominant use of Imagery in whole poem (almost all lines)
I will arise and go now – Refrain
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree – Repetition
I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping – Repetition
A hive for the honeybee – Alliteration
Live alone in bee loud glade – Alliteration
Lake water lapping with low sound – Alliteration
I hear it in deep heart’s core – Alliteration
And a small cabin build there - Consonance
I hear it in deep heart’s core – Assonance
Or on the pavements grey – Assonance
Dropping from the veils of the morning – Assonance
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree – Polysyndeton
Dropping from the veils of the morning – metaphor
for peace comes dropping – Personification
And live alone in the bee loud glade – oxymoron
Lake water lapping with low sound – Onomatopoeia
Questions – Answers
Q1. Innisfree is a simple and natural place full of beauty and peace. How does the poet contrast it with where he now stands?
Ans. The poet is standing on a pavement by the roadside while he decides to go and live in Innisfree. The real place where he stands is a complete contrast to island of Innisfree. Grey pavement is a symbol of busy city life whereas Innisfree stands for the bounties of nature. The poet feels frustrated to find himself surrounded by polluted environment and noisy surroundings. Thus, he decides to go the lake island of Innisfree and spend the rest of his life for always. He yearns to bid goodbye to busy city life full of hustle and bustle and return to nature.
Q2. Do you think Innisfree is only a place, or a state of mind? Does the poet actually miss the place of his boyhood days?
Ans. W. B. Yeats himself has told that when he was a young lad in the town of Silgo, he wanted to live in a hut on an island in Lough Gill called Innisfree in County Silgo. This island is not only a place. It represents his state of mind as he never been to the island but he always yearned to live in such a place surrounded by all the bounties of nature. The town of Silgo where he spent his boyhood has left a deep impact on his mind so he creates a beautiful picture of that place using his imagination. It very well proves that he misses his boyhood days.
Video on Lake Isle of Innisfree
Video on Lake Isle of Innisfree