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...sucks and I'm going to delete then next meta anything that I see. Instead, consider this:
The Sorrow of Love
by W.B. Yeats
(first printed version, 1892)
The quarrel of the sparrows in the eaves,
The full round moon and the star-laden sky,
And the loud song of the eversinging leaves,
Had hid away earth's old and weary cry.
And then you came with those red mournful lips,
And with you came the whole of the world's tears,
And all the sorrows of her labouring ships
And all the burden of her myriad years.
And now the sparrows warring in the eaves,
The crumbling moon, the white stars in the sky,
And the loud chaunting of the unquiet leaves,
Are shaken with earth's old and weary cry.
(final version, 1925)
The brawling of a sparrow in the eaves,
The brilliant moon and all the milky sky,
And all that famous harmony of leaves,
Had blotted out man's image and his cry.
A girl arose that had red mournful lips
And seemed the greatness of the world in tears,
Doomed like Odysseus and the labouring ships
And proud as Priam murdered with his peers;
Arose, and on the instant clamorous eaves,
A climbing moon upon an empty sky,
And all that lamentation of the leaves,
Could but compose man's image and his cry.
Yeats' revision of "The Sorrow of Love"
Making explicit the reference to the Odyssey in line 12 is the most obvious change that Yeats made in his revision of "The Sorrow of Love," but beyond that, he reworked the entire poem, disambiguating several images and wordings that had created a muddy and confusing, albeit poetically attractive, total effect.
The first line shows this. In the 1892 version, there are sparrows, plural, and their brawling in the eaves is part of the noise that obscures the cry that is perhaps the central idea that this poem examines. Sparrows are proverbially petty, being worth but two (or two and a half, depending on whether you trust Luke or Matthew more) pennies. Their dispute becomes more vulgar as a "brawl" rather than a "quarrel," and Yeats averts the possible misunderstanding of their importance by removing a second reference to the sparrows in line 9. This poem is not about sparrows, and their fighting is not so dignified as to be called "warring" as it was in the old line 9, or even "quarrelling." It is a mere brawl, and in keeping with this diminishment, Yeats made it the "brawling of a sparrow;" a single miserable one, rather than at least a few of the poor things. Yeats kept them (or it) "in the eaves" because the eaves are an edge, a borderland, where uncared-for parasites like sparrows, or strangers, may take shelter without actually inhabiting the house that the eaves belong to. They lee of the eaves is a kind of no man's land, and Yeats was fascinated with places like that.
"Eaves" can also be punned as "eves" or evenings, especially for one hearing the poem rather than reading it, evoking another Hermetic borderland, the twilight, and making a nice transition to the moon and the night sky. The full moon was a special symbol in Yeats' language, being the climax of the "urge to incarnate" and, critically, an unattainable reserved zone only for "works of art and purified spirits." Take all together, "The Sorrow of Love" is a gestating poem, increasing, and striving upwards, which is one reason "arose" is used a second time in the later revision. But has not arrived yet, and in its bitter homage to the labors of Odysseus, the whole point is to glorify the ironically doomed journey, not the destination. So the moon being "full round" is a clear blunder, looking back from the point of view of Yeats' fully-formed symbolic structure. "Brilliant", yes, for it is waxing and probably on the very cusp of fullness, as befits "heroes, lovers, [and] artists" (Ellman 136), but to say that state has arrived is to subvert the whole poem.
The sky becomes "milky" rather than "star-laden," freeing us from any notion that the leaden burden of stars will so overtax the structural integrity of the sky as to bring it down on our heads. Instead we may think of the milky way, of course, and of mother's milk, in keeping with the sense of gestating towards creative birth that man, or Odysseus, or Yeats, to be specific, is laboring at. The suggestion of white color also complements the red of the muse's lips and points to the package of love, birth and death symbols that are color-coded red on white.
Yeats is enumerating some what is blocking out the cry, starting with the trivial sparrow and stepping up in importance to the moon and stars, and then to the all-encompassing song of the leaves, the pastoral lyrics of the dead Arcady. The original version undercut this rising by calling the song "loud," not exactly a complement, and the faintly praising "ever-singing." Will they ever shut up? So to keep with the ascending mode established in the first two lines, the song is now a "famous harmony," the first adjective not carrying any negative connotation and not contradicting the surmise that fame is the consequence of quality, and the second being purely complementary.
So all these things, from small to great, conspire to suppress a cry that is of the earth to be sure, but not actually Earth's cry. Later environmentalists with their Gaia mythology and perhaps some affinity for George Lucas' Force would be comfortable in thinking this is nature crying out, but Yeats makes clear that what he meant was the cry of man, an earthly, not heavenly being, who eternally strives to be seen, to have an image, perhaps a monument to his existence, and who cries out in his eternal, futile striving.
Losing the accusatory "and you came" second person address to Helen, or Maud, Yeats more neutrally simply narrates in the third person that this muse, who sympathetically mourns man's pain, and that she is the proximate cause of all this grief. But he corrects the second accusation of fault by saying that it is her that makes the world, that is, this arena of our struggle, seem great. And now he is unmistakably talking about the striving of Odysseus and Priam. Having to work to figure that out can make the reader think that is the end of it; that the point of the poem is to connect his particular striving with the mythic. But by coming out and saying it, we then keep looking for more. What is Yeats saying about the connection between his, and man's, struggles, and the classic lifelong battle?
The girl arose, the moon is climbing, and distracting brawls about nothing crowd the periphery. The ambiguity of the moon being "curd-pale" is gone, and the repetitive, and not very helpful at this point, image of the stars being white is gone. The sky is empty, so don't look up there for your answer. Again, the poetic immortalizing of this sad fight is added to this set of images, and the really important thing, "man's image and his cry" is underscored. This girl, this muse, is what creates, "composes," for struggling man his all important image, his monument. And it is her creative power that is even required to give birth to the cry of suffering that is brought forth in response to this endless labor.
What would we be without her? It isn't that we can compare ourselves to Odysseus and Priam. It is that even Odysseus and Priam, like Yeats, have this mournful-lipped girl to thank for our ability to come into being and mark our existence.