William Butler Yeats




   Analysis of Stanza 5 and 6








                Too long a sacrifice

                Can make a stone of the heart.

                O when may it suffice?

                That is Heaven's part, our part            60

                To murmur name upon name,

                As a mother names her child

                When sleep at last has come

                On limbs that had run wild.

                What is it but nightfall?

                No, no, not night but death;

                Was it needless death after all?







    Amidst all of this change, the stone, (as first presented in stanza four), is a symbol of consistency as it does not move from its position on the bottom of the stream.  In line 57-58, Yeats expresses the heart in a transformation, becoming consistent like the stone.  "Too long a sacrifice"(57) in regards to war, has caused the heart to become a stone, bringing detrimental effects upon the hearts of all men.  When this occurs, the responsibility the world must take is to love each corrupted soul, calling each by name "as a mother names her child when sleep has come"(63).  However, sleep is a metaphor for death and these men die in result of their inability to change among the changing events around them. 









                                                                                                                                                                          Continue to Stanza 6.













Back to index stanza 1  stanzas 2 and 3 stanza 4 stanza 5 and 6
Overall Significance Historical Background Scansion View Poem in Entirety  








                                                                                                                                                                      -Page done by Meredith Bailey