Yeats: The Tower study guide contains a biography of William Butler Yeats, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The speaker decries the absurdity of the contrast between his old body and his young spirit. He feels more passionate and inspired than ever – even more so than when he was a boy and went fishing in the mountains of Western Ireland. Nevertheless, he feels he in memory of wb yeats essay say goodbye to poetry and choose reason instead: it is more becoming to his age.
He walks to and fro atop a castle and looks out over the countryside. Her servant, who knew her wishes well, once cut off the ears of a rude farmer and brought them to her on a covered dish. When the speaker was young, some men spoke of a legendary peasant girl, who was the most beautiful in the area. One drunk man talked of her often, and in the middle of a drinking session got up to seek her out. He mistook the moon for her lovely face, and drowned in a lake.
The man who told the speaker these songs was blind, like Homer. The girl may well be mistaken for the sun or moon, because, says the speaker, she has betrayed all living men. The character was destined to stumble through villages, lamed. When it was the speaker’s turn at cards, he shuffled the pack into a pack of hounds, which then turned into a hare. He must remember a man so distraught that neither love nor music nor clipped ears could make him feel better. This man is a ruined master of the house. Before the house went to ruin, servants dressed for war came to the house.