Class 2nd PUC English Textbook Solutions

WHEN YOU ARE OLD – Class 2nd PUC English Textbook Solutions

 CHAPTER: – 6
TOPIC: – WHEN YOU ARE OLD
W.B. YEATS

ANALYSIS   

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
 
Paraphrase:Stanza-1   When  you (my beloved)  grow  old and  your hair turn grey, and  when  you  look  sometimes  near  the  fire  sleepily,  then you should pick up this book that I am writing and read this poem. This poem then would remind you how beautiful you once  used  to  be,  and  how  soft  and  deep  your  eyes  were when you were young.  Explanation  of  difficult  phrases: Nothing  by  the  fire- dozing  as  she  sits  near  the  fire  in  lonely  winter nights. Dream  of-  think  of  the  past  youthful  day  is  in  a dreamy  way. Soft  looks  your  eyes  had  once-  The  poet’s beloved now has soft looks. Her eyes have an enchantment about  them.  They  lend  to  her  face  a  look  of  charm  and sweetness. But they would not always remain so. In her old age, she would only remember these soft looks with regret.   

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;  

 
Paraphrase:Stanza-2  You  will  then  remember  that  many  men  then  loved  you because  of  your  joyful  beauty.  They  loved  you  for  your beauty,  some  with  a  true  love,  others  safely.  But  then  you will also remember that one man loved your soul, and loved you for the sadness of your looks.  Explanation of difficult phrases: Glad grace- During her youth,  his  beloved  has  a  grace  and  a  beauty  that  arises  out of the  joy living. Her youthfulness lends a charm to all her movements. How  many…grace- This  is  to  be  connected with  the  idea  given  earlier-the  beloved  in  her  old  are, remembering her days of youth. The poet tells her how she would then remember her old lovers, who are no more.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.  

 
Paraphrase:Stanza-3  Then, as you bend down near the glowing fire in the grate, you will murmur to yourself that love has left you , and has hidden  itself  far  away  ,  in  lofty  mountains  and  in  starry skies.  Explanation  of  difficult  phrases:  A  bending  down-His beloved  in  her  old  age,  would  bend  down. The  glowing bars-  the  iron  bars  in  the  fire-place  are  glowing  hot because  of  the  fire  burning  in  it. And  bending  love  fled-  The  poet  imagines  that  in  her  old  age  his  beloved  would feel that love has left the world, and lives now in the stars and  the  mountains.  In  other  words,  she  will  feel  the loneliness  of  old  age,  when  all  lovers  will  forsake  her. Paced  upon-walked  upon. And  paced—Overhead-Love no  longer  lives  on  earth,  but  upon  lofty  mountain peaks. And hid—Stars-Love, which visits us, in our youth for  a  while,  rises  up  to  the  stars  and  becomes  one  with them.

SUMMARY  
In  this  poem  the  poet  narrates  how  his  beloved  Maud Gonne  would  grow  old  with  the  passage  of  time.  Her liveliness and youthful energy would vanish and she would pass the time  dozing by the fireside as old people  want to do.  She  would  perhaps  pick  up  the  volume  of  the poet’s Collected Poems, and slowly  go through the  verses wherein the poet has declared his love for her and admired her  graces  and  charms.  She  would  be  reminded  of  the loveliness of her eyes that she once possessed and of their deep  shadows.  At  that  time,  she  might  think  that  many young people loved her for her beauty and youth, but there was  only  one  whose  love  was  sincere  and  genuine  and  it was certainly the poet himself.  The poet loved her not for her physical beauty only, but also loved for her soul. It was the poet among all  others  who could feel for her and love her  because  sorrow  and  suffering  were  depicted  on  her face.  
The perusal of the poet’s love poems would set his beloved thinking  longingly  of the past. She  would then realize the worth  and  importance  of  the  poet’s  love.  With  the realization  she  would  mutter  to  herself  with  anguish  that he was no more alive. He was dead and gone and his soul must  either  be  hovering  among  the  mountains  or  it  must have become part of the galaxy of the stars overhead. The poem presents a portrait of decaying and dying youth and beauty. The poet has referred to it time and again quite passionately  all  through  his  poetic  career.  Maud  Gonne, his  beloved,  was  a  proud  and  headstrong  girl.  The  poem sounds  a  note  of  warning  to  her.  The  idea  is  that  if  she does not reciprocate his love, which is not merely physical, but spiritual too, she  would  have to repent for her folly in her old age. Her youth and beauty would wither and vanish one  day,  and  lovers  who  hover  round  her,  lured  by  her bloom, would desert her one by one. Then she would smart with  a  sense  of  remorseful  agony  for  the  cruelty  and callousness  towards  the  poet.  The  poet  intends  forewarn her.  
The  poem  has  been  written  in  three  stanzas,  each containing four lines. The rhyming pattern is very different and steady written in iambic pentameter, the first stanza is a b b a; the second is c d c d; the third is e f e f.  

I.    Answer the following questions in a word, a phrase or a sentence each: –

1.    How is the journey from youth to old age described in the poem?
Ans. The poet describes the period  of  youth as prized with physical  charms,  attractive  eyes,  pleasant  feeling  of  love etc., while as it describes the old age in terms of grey hairs, drowsiness, sorrow, and desolation.  

2.    What does the phrase full of sleep mean?

Ans.  The  phrase  ‘full  of  sleep’  has  a  symbolic  meaning which  means  old  age.  It  indicates  the  natural  drowsiness that  comes  in  human  beings  as  one  grows  old  and approaches death  

3.    How  is  the  poet‟s  love  different  from  those  who  also loved his beloved?
Ans.  The  poet’s  love  stands  different  from  those  of  the other  lovers.  Others  loved  his  beloved  for  her  soft  looks, charming  eyes,  and  physical  beauty.  The  poet  loved  his beloved for her pilgrim soul and inner beauty. His love was spiritual, while as others was sensual.  

4.    What is Maud Gonne reminded of in the poem?
Ans.  Maud  Gonne  is  reminded  of  her  youthful  days  when she  was  charming  and  energetic.  She  is  also  reminded  of her only true love who would love her for her pilgrim soul. Others  love  was  short-lived  while  as  the  poet’s  love  was persistent.  

5.    „But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you‟ Explain.
Ans. The  line  describes  that  there  was  only  one  lover  who loved Maud Gonne truly. He loved her for her inner beauty which  did  remain  intact  for  the  whole  life.  His  love continued  even  when  she  becomes  old  and  ugly  while  as those  whose  love  was false  distanced themselves  when  her physical charms lived its days.

6.    What images does the poet use in the poem?
Ans.  The  poet  uses  following  images  in  the  poem:  grey hair,  full  of  sleep,  nodding  by  the  fire,  deep  shadows  of eyes, sorrow of changing face, glowing bars etc.  

7.    What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
Ans.  The  poem  is  written  in  iambic  pentameter  with  the rhyme  scheme  ABBA  CDDC  EFFE  which  gives  a  steady rhythm to the poem.  

8.    What  does  the poem  infer  about the power of poetry and the written word?
Ans.The  poem  infers  that  poetry  lasts  and  remains  as  a constant  reminder  of  what  was.  The  speaker  suggests  that poetry has the ability to contain a man’s life in its lines and, in turn, to ensure that the life never dies.  

9.    The term “glad grace” is an example of what literary device?
Ans.The  repetition  of  the  ‘g’  sound  suggests  that  it  is  an example of alliteration.  

10.    In  what  ways  is  the  soul,  to  the  speaker,  a “pilgrim”?
Ans.The soul  of the spoken to  is  on a pilgrimage through life.  It  is  in  a  state  of  constant  movement  and  experience, with its ultimate destination, through death, being heaven.  

11.    By  having  love  flee  to  join  the  “crowd  of  stars” overhead,  what  
 
12.    is  the  speaker  suggesting  is  its  role  in life?
Ans.Love  is  described  as  having  a  role  of  protector  and guidance through life for the pilgrim soul.  

13.    What  does  the  speaker  want  his  beloved  to  do sitting by the fire in „When you are old‟?                                                                          
Ans.  To  read  the  book  of  memories  and  remember  her past, sitting by the fire.  

14. „Pilgrim Soul‟ means the soul               
(a) which is immortal
(b) that has gone On a Pilgrimage
(c) which is in quest of true love

Ans. (c) which is in quest of true love.                                                                     

II.    Answer the following questions in a paragraph of 80 – 100 words each: –
III. Answer the following questions in about 200 words:  

1.    Whose  love  in  „When  you  are  old‟  is  true  and intense? Explain.                
Ans. It is the Poet’s love that is entirely different from the love exhibited by the other suitors. He admits that there are many suitors trying to court her but he knows for sure that their  love  for  her  is  not  genuine  and  sincere.  He  believes that  they  only  love  the  elegance  and  beauty  of  her  youth which  is  transient.  On  the  other  hand,  the  poet  likes  her inner  self.  He  calls  it  her  pilgrim  soul.  They  will  find  her worth loving only when she is young and beautiful. But as she  grows  older,  and  her  face  shrunks,  depicting  the differences and sorrows faced by her, he will still continue to  love  her  with  all  her  sorrows  as  well.  He  does  so because  he  is  in  love  with  her  inner  self  and  not  merely with her physical beauty.  

2.    How does the speaker  distinguish  his love  from  that of others in the poem „When you are old‟?     
                                                                     
Ans.The speaker distinguishes his love from that of others by  resorting  to  the  depiction  of  contrast  between  physical beauty and inner beauty. When his beloved was young and beautiful many suitors were after her-praising her external beauty  without  caring  for  her  feelings.  Their  love  was transitory  whereas  the  speaker  loved  her  pilgrim  soul.  He was the onlyone who cared for her, reciprocating (sharing) her  feelings,  her  likes  and  dislikes.  He  loved  even thesorrows  of  her changing face. Here,  he  has presented a real contrast between love and infatuation.

3.    „True  love  is  related  to  soul  but  not  to  the  physical beauty‟.  How  is  this  idea  brought  out  in  the  poem „When you are old‟?

Ans.‘When You Are Old’, is a love poem written by W. B. Yeats.  The  poet  addresses  the  lady,  he  loved  in  his  youth. When she grows old, she will be sitting by the fire side and reading  the  book  of  poems  written  by  him.  Reading  the book, she will remember her past, her beauty and the many men who admired her. While all the men loved her for her beauty,  he  loved  her  soul  and  her  soul  searches  for something  meaningful.  She  will  feel  sad  that  love  has vanished  along  with  him.  He  loved  her  for  her  internal beauty.  His  true  love  is  permanent  though  her  beauty  has waned over the years.  

4.    How  is  the  speaker‟s  passionate  love  for  his  beloved brought out in the poem „When you are old‟?                                                                          
Ans.The poet asks his love, who is still young, to imagine a time  when  she  is  past  her  prime  youth.  She  would  then  be an old woman with gray hair and sleepy eyes. When she is in  such  a  state,  he  wants  her  to  read  a  book  of  memories from her youth. As the woman sits beside the fire, nodding her  head  and  leafs  through  her  memories,  she  would recollect  the  ‘soft  looks’  she  once  had  and  the  sorrows  she had  suffered  until  then.  When  she  recalls  her  faded  beauty she would also recall how she was admired by many suitors who were infatuated with her physical charms. At the same time,  she  would  also  recall  how  there  was  one  man  who loved her unique soul which was in search of true love. She would also realize that her true love having lingeredon for a while,  disappeared from the  earth and hid  himself amidst a crowd of stars in heaven.  

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER:  
  The speaker had madly fallen in love.
  But his beloved never responded to his love.
  One  day  she  would  become  old  and  her  hair  would turngrey.
  She would lose the soft look of her deep eyes.
  She would feel drowsy and tired all the time.
  She  would  sit  by  the  fireplace  sleeping  and  warming herself.
  He wanted her to read his book of poems.
  The others loved her physical beauty.
  But he loved her pilgrim soul.
  The poet’s sad soul would hide itself behind the stars.

RECAPITULATION:
The speaker addressing his beloved   
Asks her to read the book when she becomes old   
Asks her to dream of her soft looks   
Others loved her physical beauty   
The speaker loves her pilgrim soul   
He loved her joys and sorrows   
She sits by the glowing bars   
Murmuring about how love fled

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