The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner - Class 12 Heritage of words

The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner      W.B Yeats


 ‘The lamentation of the Old Pensioner’ is an earlier poem revised with a new title. It is composed by an Irish poet and dramatist, W.B. Yeats. The poem presents the poet’s reminiscence of his young life with a contrast of the present state. Owing to the contrast between his youth and the old age, the poet feels more and more miserable, which fills him with rage and the poem ends with a contemptuous expression against time. 
According to the poem, the speaker draws comparison between his delightful past and the miserable present and considers the time being responsible for it because he thinks it has transfigured him into an old man. At present, he is obliged to shelter under a broken tree. On the contrary, he used to enjoy talking about love or politics in every company before the time changed him into an old man. Being lost in reminiscences of the glorious past, the speaker is shocked to see the dreadful present where the mischievous lads and the crazy rascals give him constant troubles. Because of such a shocking contrast, the poet is driven to think of the time with an attitude of blaming it for the change. Thus the lamentation leads him towards contemplation while filling his heart with rage against time.  In the last stanza, he feels humiliated to think of women who pay no attention towards him as he is no better than a broken tree. This humiliation provokes him to end the poem with the expression: “I spit into the face of Time, That has transfigured me.” 
The poem is well-written wit the shifts in subject matter in the three stanzas. For instance, the first stanza deals with reminiscences of the past and the second stanza focuses on the present state with speaker’s contemplation of time whereas the third stanza concentrates on humiliating situation and rage. The refrain in the poem becomes quite significant because it emphasizes the aspect of transfiguration of the speaker and the role played by time. The whole poem is written in the tone of rage. The remarkable quality of the poem is the blend of description and reflection of the poet. The speaker’s reflection over his state changes his mood and tone from one stanza to another. With the content tone of the speaker as perceived in the first stanza gradually turns into more and more violent and furious in the second and third stanzas. The bitter realization about the humiliating state makes the pendulum of the speaker’s mood swing to the other side of the contentment and strike at the tone of fury in the end. Short Answer Questions
1. Why does the old man want to ‘spit into the face of time’? [2058, 2065, 2068, 2069] 2. Mention the three things the old man laments about. Why is he sad about them? [2059] 3. What is the speaker lamenting on? [2062] 4. Explain the title of the poem. [2066] 5. Why is poet angry in the poem? [2067]
Long Answer Questions
1. Write an essay on Youth and Age. [2060]
Glossary: [miserable: painful, contemptuous: showing disrespect reminiscence: to remember or talk about pleasant past, dreadful: fearful, mischievous: slight bad behavior, lamentation: expression of disappointment about something rage: violent anger, humiliated: ashamed, stanza: group of lines forming a unit in poem, ‘paragraph’ of a poem, refrain: to stop yourself from doing something, emphasize: to draw attention, to show that something really needs attention, blend: mix, combine]


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