A Prayer for My Daughter: the Poem

719 Words Nov 11th, 2011 3 Pages
A PRAYER FOR MY DAUGHTER
The poem by WB Yeats portrays how a father, blessed with a daughter, prays for the future happiness and wellbeing of her. The poet hopes that instead of growing up to be a woman of immense beauty, his daughter should be blessed with attributes of a virtuous and a great soul. She should be well-mannered and full of humility rather than being strongly opinionated, to avoid any intellectual detestation that could drown her in misery. The prayer for his daughter beyond its personal scope is a prayer for the evolution of a culture and human society based on values of decency and courtesy, magnanimity, innocence and ceremony. It is a prayer for the whole world.
The poem begins with a vivid picture of a storm brewing
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He cites the example of Queen Aphrodite who, having no guardians to impose restrictions on her chose a ‘bandy-legged smith’ for a husband. This substantiates his statement that women of exquisite beauty are often unpredictable and choose a ‘crazy salad’ to go with their ‘meat’.
He puts forward a slice of his own life as an example of true exquisiteness and charm which his wife exudes. He philosophically remarks that ‘hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned’. Though men often are initially entices by bewitchingly stunning females, it is really the compassion and warmth of the women by which they get enamored in the end. The father in the poet is keen that his daughter should be like a humble tree giving succor and shade to the people when she grows up. She should live a life of constancy deeply rooted to her culture and traditions. Yeats wants his daughter to be like the ‘linnet’ whose songs infuse pure and unadulterated happiness in others. He hopes that she would be like the laurel tree, standing firm on her convictions.
The poet realizes that his mind ,after being enticed by all the beauty that he had been attracted to, has ‘dried up’, become drained of all ideas and intelligence. He realizes that hatred is the worst of all evils. If an individual decides not to succumb to hatred, the no force, however violent and detrimental, can’ tear the linnet from the leaf’. He goes on to give a paradigm of ‘intellectual hatred’ in the form of Maude
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