The Lamentation of a Old Pensioner

August 22, 2017 Politics

Summary W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) is an Irish poet and dramatist. He was a leader of the Irish Renaissance and one of the foremost writers of the 20th century. Yeats is the greatest versatile poet of the century. Yeats was at heart a dreamer, a visionary fascinated by folk-lore, and the superstitions of the Irish peasantry. He was a symbolist poet. His best known collections from the latter period are: ‘The Tower’ (1928), including the poems ‘Sailing to Byzantium ’and ‘Leda and Swan’ and ‘The Winding Stair’ (1929). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for the literature in 1923.

This poem “The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner” (1939)’ is a revised version of Yeats earlier poem ‘The old Pensioner’ (1890). This poem presents the poet’s past memories of his youth which became more painful when he looks at his present state and contrasts his time of youth with his state in the old age. In the first two lines of the first stanza, the poet talks about his present situation and compares his life with the broken tree. In the rest of the other four lines of the first stanza, he talks about his past. He says that when he was young man, he was powerful and the people used to talk to him either about love or politics.

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But now nobody cares him. He is no more powerful and young enough to attract the youths. He splits on the face of the time because the time has transfigured him into this miserable condition. Thus, the poet compares present situation with that of past psychologically. In the second stanza of the poem, the poet draws the contrastive picture of youth and old age. The poet says that the lads (youths) are playing in the field but cruelly they don’t notice the presence of the old man. Some times they behave like rascals which expose the extreme of human cruelty.

These youths do not care the old man (the poet). The old man says that his companions are against the time that has transfigured him into the old age. In the last stanza of the poem, the poet remembers the romantic circumstances of his youth. When he was young, many beautiful girls used to propose him. Many girls used to enjoy talking to him. But now he has become old and either girls or women turn their face towards him. He again compares himself with the broken tree. All the romantic experiences of his past are limited into his memory now. At present, he can’t enjoy as he used to when he was young.

Thus, the poet is furious (angry) against the time that changed him into an old man. Thus, this poem is all about an old retired man (pensioner) who laments on the loss of his youth and its charm. In his retired life the old man is unhappy because he is unnoticed in the society. So, he beautifully as well as symbolically compares his life with a broken tree. Altogether there are three stanzas in the poem. We can find the use of refrain. The poet ends the poem cursing or splitting on the face of the time that is responsible for his present miserable condition.

Questions for further practice: · Why does the poet show his anger against time? · Mention any three things the old man laments about why is he sad about them? · What is the speaker lamenting on? · How and why does the old pensioner lament? · Explain the significance of the refrain in the poem ‘The lamentation of the old Pensioner’? · Write an essay on ‘Youth and Age’ (For further practice go through the textbook questions ‘The Heritage of the Words’- page no. 26) Model Answers 1. What does the poem add to our knowledge of the old man (his character, attitude, circumstance)? The lamentation of Old pensioner” describes the situation of any old person who used to have very romantic life in the past. The speaker is an old man whose past was very romantic. Thought comparison and contrast of past and present, the poem describes various aspects of and old man-his character, attitude, and circumstance. The presentation is realistic and has universal appeal. Old age means approach to death. When one reaches to this stage, no one takes care. The person does not get proper shelter even from the relatives. So his situation is very pathetic.

In such situation, he remembers romantic days. He fined a great difference in between his present and past, which creates anger in him. The happenings in the surrounding like boy’s enjoyment and women’s negligence. When the speaker finds him being neglected, he can’t bear it and gets furious with the factor responsible for it. Eventually he spits at its face. The presentation of setting along with exposition. Retrospection and climax hints that a person becomes hot tempered at old age. When his wishes are not met, he gets angry. The circumstances are not becomes just like a scarecrow at this age.

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