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Swans are one of the main subjects which is repeatedly mentioned in the poem, and with the swans movement being presented upon the brimming water, among the stones, are nine and fifty swans" puts emphasis of the movement of swans contrasting with the still settings.
The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me, Since I first made my count" By this we know that the voice in the poem is Yeats himself and the poem represents his experience in Ireland from the last 19 years.
Swans are elegant and graceful creatures, symbols of love. There is an odd number of swans, fifty-nine, implying one has lost a mate. This loneliness of desertion is again seen in the last line of the poem- 'I awake someday to find they have flown away.'
The narrator reflects on the changes in his life as a result of his growing age. He knows that some day he will dye, but the swans will live on. The thought of death establishes a sombre and pensive tone.
The poem The Fisherman is concentrated more o the culture of Ireland. The first stanza suggests how the poet feels about society. He sees the fisherman as a living reality. The fisherman is described by Yeats in terms which make him identifiable, the greyness of his clothes reflects the greyness of the limestone, of the clouded sky and of the sea, his freckled face reflects the stony fields of Connemara, the dappled effect of the stones is analogous with the fisherman's fair skin. Yeats describes the fisherman as being both wise and simple, the attributes he wishes for in contemporary Ireland. From lines 9-12 the poet's wish for such a reality is clearly evident when the contrast between the ideal and the real is quickly outlined.
"The living men that I hate, The dead men that I loved." "The craven man in his seat,(cowardly) The insolent unreprived (mannerly)" He refers to knaves, drunks and cute politicians. Here Yeats is describing the different type of stereotypical men within the Irish culture.
A noticeable change has taken place since the beginning of the poem, now this man is imagined - he is but a figment of the poet's imagination A man who does not exist, A man who is but a dream". At the beginning of the poem he could still be seen-: "Although I can see him still", suggesting that previously he was nearer to being a reality.
The last two lines of the poem suggest that Ireland is cold, although passionate as the dawn, which can suggest that the man who was part of hi imagination was respected by Yeats, although the fact it is part of his imagination makes it cold.
We learn from the poem, being a dream that the information he shared was what he will commit to words, a declaration of intent, to glorify and preserve this image of the ideal Irishman through his art.