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« The story of a kind of long but exceedingly entertaining poem to which I link (and something about speaking of Doubt on Speaking of Faith) [Jennifer Michael Hecht][ | Main | When Bad Lines Happen to Good Poems [by Laurence Goldstein] »

January 14, 2009

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Men never loved women without her beauty.

That is not the moral of the poem. It's that we love each other for those things we find attractive in other people. Sometimes it's yellow hair, sometimes a sense of humor, but without it love is not possible. Thus the idea that you can be unlovable and still be loved is impossible. It is futile to want such a thing-- to make oneself ugly or radically different and expect the feelings of love to remain unchanged.

Either that, or Yeats believed no man every loved a brunette.

I think it is that men will never unconditionally love a woman (save a daughter) - the physical attractiveness, attraction, SEX, always is a factor.

I've seen lost very homely women who are happily married. The only answer is it must be love.

This is not American. Yeats was Irish, always and forever.

True. Our site is devoted not narrowly to American poetry but to great poetry wherever it comes from, and Yeats was "the king of the cats." -- DL

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