The Return Of The Magician

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The Return of the Magician As Professor Pethica notes, Yeats “wrote only a couple of poems in the five years after Maud Gone’s marriage” in 1903. Instead of writing poetry, Yeats “founded the Abbey Theater in 1904” and devoted his energy to “playwriting and theatre management” (Handout). While Yeats the playwright is active, Yeats the poet finally returned in 1903 with The Green Helmet and Other Poems. In my last paper I argued that “Aedh”, “Hanrahan” and “Michael Robartes” are three masks Yeats uses to exert his authorial control. Yeats confronts the notion of “the Mask” more directly in the collection The Green Helmet and Other Poems. In this paper, I wish to show that Yeats who returned in 1908 was intrinsically a different poet when …show more content…

Many poems in the collection feature a speaker who looks back at his old time in introspection disapprovingly. For instance, in the poem “The Coming of Wisdom with Time,” the speaker refers to his old time as “the lying days of my youth” (Norton, 38). A similar sentiment can be found in the poem “All things can Tempt Me,” in which the speaker laments that “a woman’s face”—love, and “the seeming needs of my fool-driven land”—nationalism have once tempted him away from the “craft of verse” (Norton, 40). In the poem “Reconciliation,” too, the speaker recalls that “you” (presumably Maud Gonne) took away the verses that could move readers. Deaf and blind, the speaker “could find / nothing to make a song about but kings, / Helmets, and swords, and half-forgotten things / that were like memories of you” (Norton, 37). In these three poems, the speaker is incapacitated by his love for a woman, for his country, or both. As the speaker of “The Fascination of What’s Difficult puts it, “the fascination of what’s difficult / has dried the sap out of [his] veins, and rent / spontaneous joy and natural content / out of [his heart]” (Norton, 37). These lines summarize Yeats’s torment between 1903 and 1908, when he was tortured by unattainable love and preoccupied with the management of the theater. The speaker does not only reprehend his youth, but also triumphantly declares his return.

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