When You Are Old By William Butler Yeats

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“When You Are Old” is a poem that was written by William Butler Yeats in 1891. It is a poem about a person who wants to be remembered by those he loves. It is a story about dreams forgotten and memories long gone. Yeats captured a feeling of longing in this poem that some people may never understand unless they have a relationship that is more to them than any other relationship they will ever have. “When You Are Old” talks about a woman who was loved by a man until he died. It is a story of how a life should be remembered by a person who loved another. “When You Are Old” is about the love of a man for a woman whom he had on a pedestal. He felt this woman was loved by many with a true and deep love and loved by others with a false love. He felt this woman was loved much like people today love celebrities. Yeats wrote about this woman as though he knew her intimately. He asks her to “slowly read, and dream of the soft look, Your eyes had once and of their shadows deep” (Yeats). He wants her to remember how things were in her youth. He wants her to remember her dreams and think of how things were and how they may have been. Yeats is asking her to take her time and day dream about her glory days. In the first lines of the poem Yeats describes this woman as “old and grey and full of sleep” (Yeats). The speaker of the poem addresses his beloved saying that when she is aged she should read a particular book which will remind her of her youth. She will remember the
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