This poem is one of the more famous poems written by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. We’re publishing this poem, because January is William Butler Yeats Month at The Ministry of Poetic Affairs.
In this poem, Yeats tells us about a masked woman. She doesn’t wear just any mask; it is made of burning gold and has emerald eyes.
The mask she wears is there to reveal something. This woman is hiding from something or doesn’t want to let the world see her real self. This is Yeats’ way of telling us, that it is fine to show emotions and there is no need to hide. Showing your true feelings, it is difficult. But it is the best thing to do.
Is there a good reason that this woman hides herself? Maybe it is just self-preservation. Once the mask is off, she will be able to see that the poet is in love with her.
This poem is part of the publication The Green Helmet and other poems. This book was first published in 1910. If you want to read more, then take a look at the website of Project Gutenberg. If you are planning on buying this book, then follow this link.
“PUT off that mask of burning gold
With emerald eyes.”
“O no, my dear, you make so bold
To find if hearts be wild and wise,
And yet not cold.”
“I would but find what’s there to find,
Love or deceit.”
“It was the mask engaged your mind,
And after set your heart to beat,
Not what’s behind.”
“But lest you are my enemy,
I must enquire.”
“O no, my dear, let all that be;
What matter, so there is but fire
In you, in me?”
— William Butler Yeats
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