Poem lyrics of A Prayer For My Daughter by William Butler Yeats.
Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory’s wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind.
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.
I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour
And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,
And-under the arches of the bridge, and scream
In the elms above the flooded stream;
Imagining in excited reverie
That the future years had come,
Dancing to a frenzied drum,
Out of the murderous innocence of the sea.
May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.
Helen being chosen found life flat and dull
And later had much trouble from a fool,
While that great Queen, that rose out of the spray,
Being fatherless could have her way
Yet chose a bandy-legged smith for man.
It’s certain that fine women eat
A crazy salad with their meat
Whereby the Horn of plenty is undone.
In courtesy I’d have her chiefly learned;
Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned
By those that are not entirely beautiful;
Yet many, that have played the fool
For beauty’s very self, has charm made wise.
And many a poor man that has roved,
Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.
Here, Yeats says “horn” again. He uses it like the way I had thought before. A horn is something to hold fruit. Plenty of fruit. It represents prosperity. There is no obstacle for Yeats’ daughter except Gregory’s forest on a bare hill. By this, Yeats might be talking about the gloom that everyone faces. That is his daughter’s only obstacle, gloom. Yeats himself faces gloom. It all comes from the murderous innocence of the sea. The world is naive, and yet it makes us feel so gloomy. Yet, we are adventurous while we are young. His daughter will be a rose among thorns, more beautiful than all the other maidens. Yeats says this is a sufficient end? Perhaps this is a genetic desire to have one’s genes spread throughout the earth. And beauty is a sufficient means to that end?
Helen, the Greek Helen of Troy, found life flat and dull. But the great Queen (who is that?) being fatherless, could have it her way.
It’s certain that fine women eat a crazy salad with their meat… What a crazy thing to say! What if Yeats’ daughter turned out vegetarian? And what makes salad crazy? Is it unusual?
Hearts are earned by those who are not entirely beautiful. I find this true myself. Beauty is hard to speak to, hard to please. It is not because I do not value beauty. But beauty befuddles. It makes men weak. I can speak easier to beauty when I do not notice it, when I am wrapped up in some academic pursuit. But as soon as sex enters the question, I begin to notice my flaws. I am sexually insecure then. It is difficult to be aware of one’s own beauty, and remain intellectually in one’s highest capacity. For some reason. It is rooted in insecurity. But I have seen people I admire who are beautiful, and aware of their beauty, but not insecure about their mental faculties.
I have realized that beauty of woman befuddles man. But beauty of man also befuddles man himself. This is peculiar.
Is man not supposed to be as beautiful as woman? Does he want to be? The Greeks thought differently. Americans believe women are beautiful, but this is trivial, and sickens me. Women are engrossed with themselves, their own beauty, and men cannot be. Otherwise we are faggots. Someone called me a faggot on YouTube. That does not surprise me. Americans are disgustingly crude, unwise, and unenlightened.
I am rambling. But this is part of my enlightenment. So let me continue to analyze Yeats.
Many a poor man that has roved,
Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes
Yeats’ daughter must be like the women I am thinking of. Men who are poor in quality, poor in manner, poor in class, poor in romance, poor in conversation, think they are beloved by a woman who is all those things. Sometimes I hesitate whether I am one of those men. But I don’t think so. I don’t try to hard to get women, in fact. I think most times I let women come to me. When I do approach a woman, I sometimes am that fool. But as long as I don’t make it sexual then I am fine with myself. I play hard to get in some ways. Usually I am not trying to. At times I have even thought I was post-sexual. But then a enlivening experience brings me back into the fold.
The poor schmuck who thinks Yeats’ daughter loves him is only fooling himself. He depends on women like her to make him feel good about himself.