Probably a final observation or two. Yeats was well aware of dance as an element of Hindu metaphysics or religion, and quite unhappy with what he had been given of Western European Christian metaphysics and religion. “Played the taws” is probably most easily read as a use of “taws” as the string-like whip employed to keep a rapidly spinning toy top whirling; if the top is heavy enough and the taws grippy enough with rubber or some glabrous surfacing, the top will not tumble but merely speed up when whipped expertly, though it might wander around on the floor. Yeats seems unsatisfied here with the attractive sensory surface of experience, and even with his occult “presences” that psychologically or actually (he was sure) visited him and helped him write poetry (he said). He uses imagery of regression to prebirth existence to describe his desire for Maud Gonne — a desire reawakened (he says) by witnessing the variety of resemblances to her among school children (not so remarkable), and pitches the poem to posterity by framing its setting as an interior monologue in a “long” schoolroom that would include me. Yeats has no resolution to his dazzlement beyond the ancient Athenian gripe about the world as “whirl”. Surface; sensory sexual “honey”; his self-generated or occult-generated “presences”: all perplex him (married as he was) as he meditates on his desire for, or infatuation with, a woman who could never live up to his fantasies. But still he thinks he loves her.
My sophomoric B+ paragraph on “Among School Children”.
Last edited by Allen Tice; 09-12-2018 at 05:36 PM.
Reason: all my life I’ve been making typos