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Layers of Meaning in 'A Coat'

‘A Coat’ by William Butler Yeats

I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world’s eyes
As though they’d wrought it.
Song, let them take it
For there’s more enterprise
In walking naked.

Let us see how the coat, the overcoat of William Butler Yeats! How the coat Yeats is wearing on! Embroidered with mythologies is the old coat of Yeats. It is but a mythical coat, an old coat. But the fools know it not how the coat has been made, just for wearing them once they think it that the coat is theirs and none can have like this. Whatever be that let them be away with. Let them have their own. We cannot their mentality. Nothing can hide the truth. So, it is better to put it before the naked truth, to lay it bare.

If he writes a song embroidered with Irish and other olden mythologies from top to bottom, packed with, how many to take it in the right perspective? Just suppose you it turns into a coat and they wear it without knowing it, claiming it to be their own, but without giving the credit to. How will you view it? Who has the idea with regard to embroidery work done? How the needle work and the stitches, how the design embossed upon to be sewn with silken and cotton yarns and bespangled?

I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;

The fools catch it otherwise to show off the things in the way that they seem to be the masters of it. Wearing it, they think it within that they are the creators of it, the makers of it, the proud possessors, but the things are not so.

But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world’s eyes
As though they’d wrought it.

So taking this into consideration and coming to terms with, the poet says it that if the things can be as thus, let it be. Let them think so. Let them be away with. The matter cannot remain hidden. The truth will definitely come out. There is more enterprise in walking naked and in feeling the things. The stock never exhausts it; there is always a scope for newer and newer experiences. Just one should have the sense and sensibility to take and create afresh. Inspiration is the main thing. How does one get inspired with? Perception is the main thing, the way you perceive it as the world is never short of. But the pathway is for going on and feeling it alone. If one does not tread on, one may not be aware of the enterprise, the enterprise of life and the world.

Song, let them take it
For there’s more enterprise
In walking naked.

We do not what the under meaning of it. Is it Popean in mocking, A little learning is a dangerous thing?

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring :
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts;
While from the bounded level of our mind
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind,
But, more advanced, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
So pleased at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o’er the vales, and seem to tread the sky;
The eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last;
But those attained, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthened way;
The increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes,
Hills peep o’er hills, and Alps on Alps arise! — Alexander Pope

Is it metaphysical in thought and content? If we see into the Kabirean diction, many of us have worn the coats, how many of us in the right way knowing the embroidery work, keeping the coat intact? The other meaning if we put it as per the Gita the coat gets often changed from time to time and it is a garment of time. The other meaning presents it as a conventional folk song.

A Coat even though is called outwardly a poem made out of mythologies, but inwardly it is a poem of the self and the coat does not remain the same which the fools understand it not as they think it  to be theirs. But to understand the embroidery, mythology work is the main thing. Everybody can wear it when the coat is made, but none knows it who has made it and whose coat is this? How should they wear it?

Yeats is a poet of a mythic base. To bust and deconstruct his myths is to dabble in mythologies and conventional motifs and symbols. To deal with a mythical poet is to expect mythical criticism as for doing justice to and dispensing with and it is not easy to delve deep in myth-making as because one needs to be of the mythical vision and glide.
A mythological coat, a mythological song, how have they been made, embroidered and interwoven which but the craftsmen and artisans may say it well. The mythological coat of Yeats is an old one. Should it be discarded? Should they follow him into the footsteps? The song of Yeats is a mythological song. Should they copy him?

The mythical coat embroidered old conventional song is the beauty of W.B. Yeats as well as the mythic mind of his. A Coat as a poem is mythical no doubt apart from the self talk he does it. There is something which may be from the Bhagavad Gita telling of this human body as the shedding of older clothes and the putting on of newer ones.

William Butler Yeats appals us with his magical coat which is but a song in reality turned into otherwise by the art of Prospero which but Caliban and Ariel know it well. His role here is just like a folk singer or a country impressionist face disguising showman or a songster conventional. No less than a magician he is changing the song into a mythological coat just like as the magicians make the doves and fly them away.

What to say about the love of William Butler Yeats, the Anglo-Irish poet, his folklore, myths, Irish and Indian, Celtic, Byzantine, Hindu, Christian, Biblical, Hermetic and above all Hindu philosophy, culminating in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Gita and other scriptures, the Oriental and the Occult, theosophy and of other orders?


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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Comment Lovely. Nirvana!!

21-Mar-2022 01:12 AM

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