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What message does the poet want to convey through the poem, "A Prayer for My...

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japneet | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 26, 2009 at 8:01 PM via web

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What message does the poet want to convey through the poem, "A Prayer for My Daughter"?

I want to know this through explanation of important lines.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 26, 2009 at 9:28 PM (Answer #1)

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In the poem 'Prayer For My daughter' by William Butler Years the poet has two main messages to convey.

His daughter's future love.

'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. '

(The poet is thinking about unrequited love here. His own sweetheart never returned his love for dozens of years. Maud Gonne - a beautiful society lady never really had to do anything except be pretty to attract attention - including Yeats misguided love. Yeats hopes his daughter will be pretty but no so much that it will ruin her personality or anyone else's life.)

Political activism and a future fraught with danger:

'Have I not seen the loveliest woman born
Out of the mouth of plenty's horn,
Because of her opinionated mind
Barter that horn and every good
By quiet natures understood
For an old bellows full of angry wind?'
(Yeats saw Maud Gonne as throwing her life away on a dangerous cause (Irish freedom from England) and perceives that in following it she and her friends threw out much that was good. He hopes his own daughter will attract a man from a family who still adheres to those customs and social niceties that have value in terms of keeping society civilized.)

 

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