The Lake Isle of Innisfree, Class 9 English Poem with Explanation, Summary
By Ruchika Gupta
The Lake Isle of Innisfree - Class 9 CBSE English Poem Explanation, Summary, Question Answers, Difficult words
The Lake Isle of Innisfree - CBSE Class 9 English Poem- detailed explanation of the lesson along with meanings of difficult words and literary devices used in the poem. Given here is the complete explanation of the Poems, along with summary. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
By William Butler Yeats
Introduction to the poem
This poem is a lyric. It is a musical poem. It explores the poet’s longing for the peace and tranquility of Innisfree, a place where he spent a lot of time as a boy.Innisfree is the name of a place. It is a very quiet place and that is the reason the poet wants to go there. He had spent his childhood in this place. He has very sweet memories of that place, that is why he wanted to go back to the lake island of Innisfree.
See Video for Explanation and Summary of the Lesson
Poem and Explanation
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
arise: stand up
wattles: twisted sticks for making fences, walls
glade: clearing, open space
Bee loud refers to the sound made by the buzzing of the bees.
‘I’ here refer to the poet William Yeats. He says that he wants to go to Innisfree.Over there, he will build a small room for himself with clay and small sticks which are used to make the walls or the fences of the cabin. As he will need some food to eat also, so he will grow nine rows of beans near his room. Also, he will get the honey from the honey bee hive. He says that the open space, where he will build his room will be full of the buzzing sound of the bees an over there he will live all alone, in peace and tranquility.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evenings full of the linnet’s wings.
veils: a piece of fine material worn by women to protect or hide the face
cricket: an insect related to the grasshoppers but with shorter legs. The male produces a characteristic musical chirping sound.
linnet: a small brown and grey bird with a short beak
glimmer means something which is shining.
In this stanza the poet says that when in Innisfree, he will feel peaceful, and he says that the feeling of peace is felt slowly and gradually. He describes how he would feel peaceful. In the morning time, when it is cloudy, and the view is not very clear, then it will appear as if the morning has worn a veil and has hidden itself. Looking at this scene will make him feel peaceful. Further he says that when the male cricket insect will sing a song, that sound will bring him at peace. Also, at midnight when he will see the twinkling stars in the open sky, their shine will give him peace. In the afternoon, when the sun light will give a purplish glow, it will also give him peace. During the evening, when he will see the linnet bird flying in the sky, then also he will feel peaceful.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear the lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
night and day: all the time
heart’s core: the innermost part of the heart
In this stanza the poet says that now he will stand up and go to Innisfree because all the time, the sound of the lake waters striking the shore repeats in his mind. This sound attracts him towards the lake. Wherever he is – either standing on the roadway or on the grey - coloured pavements, he hears the sound deep in the innermost part of his heart.
Literary Devices in the poem
1.Rhyme Scheme: abab
2.Alliteration: The repetition of a consonant sound in two or more closely placed words is called alliteration. The instances of alliteration in the poem are –
a.‘hive’, ‘honey bee’ - ‘h’ sound is repeated;
b.‘lake’, ‘lapping’, ‘low’ - ‘l’ sound is repeated
3.Repetition: ‘I will arise and go now’ is repeated in stanza 1 and 3
4.Personification: morning is personified
5.Metaphor: clouds are compared to veils
The poet is reminded of his past, his boyhood, when he visited the peaceful Lake Isle of Innisfree. He wants to go there and says that he will live there all alone. He wants to build a small cabin with clay and wattles. He would grow beans and get a honeybee hive for honey to survive on.
The poet describes the peaceful natural surroundings of the lake. He says that the scene of the cloudy mornings, the shining stars, the glowing Sun and birds flying in the sky give him peace. He feels relaxed to hear the pleasant sound of the cricket’s song.
The poet feels the urgency to go to the lake Isle of Innisfree. In the depth of his heart, he can hear the sound of the lake waters hitting the shore. It is as if the lake is calling him. He hears the sound everywhere – either on the crowded roads or the grey – coloured pavements of the city in which he lives. This indicates that he wants to escape from the artificial life of the city into the peaceful surroundings of nature.
Question and Answers
1. What kind of place is Innisfree? Think about:
(i) the three things the poet wants to do when he goes back there (stanza I);
(ii) what he hears and sees there and its effect on him (stanza II);
(iii) what he hears in his “heart’s core” even when he is far away from Innisfree (stanza III).
(i) The three things that the poet wants to do when he goes to Innisfree are as follows –
a) he wants to build a small cabin with clay and wattles.
b) he wants to plant nine rows of beans.
c) he wants to keep a honeybee hive.
(ii) The poet sees the cloudy morning which looks like the sky is wearing a veil. He hears the song of the cricket. He sees the linnet bird flying in the evening sky. The shimmering stars in the night sky and the purplish glow of the afternoon Sun. All these give him a feeling of being at peace.
(iii) Even when the poet is far away from Innisfree, he hears the sound of the lake water hitting the shore in the depth of his heart.
2. By now you may have concluded that Innisfree is a simple, natural place,full of beauty and peace. How does the poet contrast it with where he now stands? (Read stanza III.)
A. The poet describes lake Innisfree as a place full of the bounties of nature. He sees the cloudy sky, the shimmering stars in the night sky, the purplish glow of the afternoon Sun and the linnet bird flying in the evening sky. The sound of the cricket’s song is also pleasing to him. On the other hand, the place where he stands now is an urban place which is devoid of all these beauties of nature. He says that there are roadways and grey – coloured pavements around him.
3. Do you think Innisfree is only a place, or a state of mind? Does the poet actually miss the place of his boyhood days?
A. Innisfree is a place that the poet used to visit in his boyhood. As he lives in the city now, he expresses a desire to go to Innisfree which had peaceful surroundings. This shows his state of mind. Yes, he misses lake Innisfree when he says that the sound of the lake water hitting the shore echoes in the core of his heart.
II. 1. Look at the words the poet uses to describe what he sees and hears at Innisfree
(i) bee-loud glade
(ii) evenings full of the linnet’s wings
(iii) lake water lapping with low sounds
What pictures do these words create in your mind?
(i) We can imagine bees buzzing around.
(ii) the image of linnets flying across the evening sky appears in the reader’s mind.
(iii) These words draw an image and also, create the sound of the lake water striking against the shore of the lake.
2. Look at these words;
... peace comes dropping slow
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings
What do these words mean to you? What do you think “comes dropping slow...from the veils of the morning”? What does “to where the cricket sings”mean?
A. These lines indicate that the feeling of being ‘at peace’ seeps in slowly and gradually. As one sees the cloudy morning which is followed by the pleasant song of the cricket, the poet gains peace of mind. These vibrant sounds and scenes of nature bring a feeling of peacefulness experienced by the poet.