Summary and Critical Analysis of the poem The Lake of Innisfree by W.B.Yeats

The poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree expresses the poet’s desire to go to Innisfree which is a small island in a lake on Lough Hill in Ireland. He wants to go there to live a simple, lonely, and peaceful life close to nature avoiding busy city streets.

In the first stanza, the poet expresses his desire to go to Innisfree and to live there in a lonely cottage made of clay and wattles. He will feed on honey and beans, and hear the murmur of bees. In the second stanza, he stresses that he will enjoy the peace there and nature’s charms from morning to midnight. In the final stanza, he describes his urge to go there for the lapping sound of the lake calls him even when he stands surrounded by the busy city life.

Though the poem deals with the individual desire of the poet, its execution is such that it is endowed with a universal significance. To escape from the crowded city in order to enjoy the loneliness, peace, and livelines of the countryside is an eternal desire of man-a desire expressed by poets from the Elizabethan to the modern age. Yeats has given deathless expression to the same universal theme.

The mood of the poem is lyrical and its tone is cheerful. The purpóse behind the composition of the poem is to convey a longing for the freshness and loveliness of nature which cannot be had in busy and oppressive city life. The quality of the theme is romantic in the sense that it wants to excite a sense of wonder for things that are simple and common in nature and are not ordinarily available in crowded cities.

The poem is a lyric consisting of three four-line stanzas, each rhyming abab. The lines combine both iambic and anapaestic metres. The anapaestic speeds up the motion and heightens the urgency of the poet to go to Innisfree while the iambic conveys his steady determination to achieve his object. The diction is simple but impressive; it is also steeped in literary flavour. The stamp of the poet’s creative power is particularly noticeable in such expressions as the following: bee-loud glade, peaces comes dropping slow, the veils of the morning, full of the linnet’s wings, lake water lapping with low sounds, and deep heart’s core.

The poem expresses excellently a longing for a land away from the din and bustle of city life. The small cabin with nine bean rows and a hive in a bee-loud glade with the lake water lapping with low sounds and the passage of time from morning to midnight with soft light and gentle sound recreate in many of us a yearning for a distant and enchanting land in comparison to which our life in a crowded, busy and dull city pales into insignificance. By imaginative and romantic touches the poet succeeds in making us keenly admire the charms of his Innisfree.