That the night come By W.B.Yeats



She lived in storm and strife,
Her soul had such desire
For what proud death may bring
That it could not endure
The common good of life,
But lived as ’twere a king
That packed his marriage day
With banneret and pennon,
Trumpet and kettledrum,
And the outrageous cannon,
To bundle time away
That the night come.

An inevitable comparison of the poem is with the so called metaphysical poetry of John Donne and his school where the treatment of a metaphor is almost similar. The similes there compare a concrete thing with an abstract one or an abstract one with another abstract one..

Here an abstract idea of a soul with a desire for what death may bring is compared to another abstract idea of a king who packed his marriage day with a lot of pomp and sound.She lived in storm and strife and her soul is filled with a desire for what proud death may bring with the result she could not endure the common good of life. Just like the king who filled his marriage day with a lot of sound and fury ,signifying nothing. That included the outrageous cannon.

Why does she do this,neglecting the common good of life? Just to bundle time away/ that the night come.

Interesting words/usages are “proud death”(remember ,death be not proud!), “storm and strife” (storm is external,strife internal), “endure” (surprising usage, not in the sense of put up with but to go through (dure) the experience without its affecting us),“the common good of life” (one does not endure the common good of life but here one merely goes through it-the common good is what others perceive as good),”packed” (the king filled his marriage day with a lot of sound and fury), “the outrageous cannon” (outrageous because the marriage day is celebrated as if it was the marriage ceremony celebrated with music and fireworks-imagine an old king doing this),“bundle time away “ (an exquisite image within the image-In death one gathers up time in a bundle and puts it away preparing for the night’s coming)