“Coole Park, 1929” is a thirty-two-line poem composed of four stanzas. William Butler Yeats wrote the poem to honor Lady Augusta Gregory (1852-1932). Lady Gregory was an important playwright and cofounder of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre; she also received many Irish writers as extended guests at her elegant estate, Coole Park, in western Ireland. There they were surrounded by great natural beauty and were free to spend uninterrupted days writing their poems and plays. Coole Park represented an oasis of calm and beauty that contrasted sharply with the poverty that existed in Ireland during the first three decades of the twentieth century.
The poem is written in the first person. Yeats meditates upon the many visits he and other writers had made to Coole Park, where the aged Lady Gregory is now dying from cancer. At first reading, “Coole Park, 1929” can be interpreted simply as an extended compliment to Lady Gregory, but at a more profound level it is also a lyrical meditation on death and dying. The inclusion of the poem in Lady Gregory’s 1931 memoir Coole was especially appropriate because in this work, which dealt largely with the architecture and gardens of Coole Park, she wrote eloquently about the intense grief she had experienced after the deaths of so many family members and friends who used to visit the estate.
In the first stanza Yeats speaks of the flight of a swallow. A swallow is a migratory bird that does not stay...
(The entire section is 585 words.)