“Why should I blame her that she filled my daysWith misery, or that she would of lateHave taught to ignorant men most violent ways,Or hurled the little streets upon the great,Had they but courage equal to desire?”(Lines 1-5)
These are opening lines of W.B.Yeats’s lyric No Second Troy. The poem is about Maud Gonne whom the poet loved intensely but could not marry. The present lines contain the poet’s observations on her nature and function particularly in regard to the simple Irish masses and he himself.
The poet refers to his own intense love for Maud Gonne and his marriage proposal to her. But she sternly turned down him and thereby made him all miserable. Of course, the poet does not want to blame her for her hard and cruel dealing with him. He also does not propose to blame her for her recent incitement of the simple ignorant poor Irish men to the violent uprising against the British power. With her zeal and boldness, she was capable of provoking those simple thoughtless Irish populace of the very humble life to stand against the mighty British force. That was, no doubt, for the noble cause of freeing their land from the British occupation. Those unfortunate, much provoked simple Irish folk had the ardent desire to emancipate their land, but lacked enough force and pluck to accomplish the same.
Yeats here speaks quite feelingly of Maud Gonne. He is not at all critical of her, despite her refusal of his love. Even he does not find fault with her for leading the Irish people to the disastrous Easter Uprising of 1916. Of course, Yeats does not seem to support her stand without the proper evaluation of the capability and resources of the poor simple Irish masses, who were no match to the mighty British imperialistic power.