William Butler Yeats

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Please provide an analysis of the poem "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven," by W. B. Yeats.

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Although Yeats’ “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” is a very brief poem, it is also imaginatively rich and literally colorful. While the title describes the speaker in the third person (“He”), the poem itself presents him in the first person (“I”). For the first four and a half lines, the speaker is the only person presented; his experiences and perceptions are emphasized.

We can tell from the opening that he is not only imaginative but is also capable of appreciating beauty. In both senses, he is a Romantic, as his detailed word choices suggest. For example, he doesn’t speak merely of “the sky” but rather of “the heavens” (1), a far more imaginative and evocative word. Significantly, however, he does not speak of “heaven” (which would imply a conventional religious sensibility) but rather of “the heavens,” suggesting either a perception of the sky’s beauty or an ability to conceive of a beautiful, imaginary realm.

The speaker’s imaginative ability...

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