When You Are Old
By William Butler Yeats
About the Author
William Butler Yeats was known as a Romantic/Modern era poet who was also a playwright and nationalist. His poetry is heavily influenced by Irish mythology and his proud nationalism can be shown in his writing. Yeats was said to be one of the main driving forces behind the Irish literary Revival in the late 19th century. He later served two terms as and Irish senator.
When You Are Old by William Butler Yeats, read by Colin Farrell
When you are old and grey and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
In this stanza the setting is described by describing the subject as "old and grey and full of sleep". The last part of the stanza transitions to the next by changing the topic to what he once was.
How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true, But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
This stanza represents the man in the past tense and how he used to be. Repetition can also be found when he talks about how the man "loved" multiple things.
And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
The last four lines are about how the man lost his love and is now hidden among the stars. This can be related to his loss of passion with age.