"Parnell's Funeral and Other Poems" from "A Full Moon in March"
Edited by David R. Clark
The manuscripts transcribed and reproduced in this volume of the Cornell Yeats were written from spring 1933 through December 1934. "Parnell's Funeral and Other Poems" is the third section of W. B. Yeats's book A Full Moon in March (1935), following the two plays A Full Moon in March and The King of the Great Clock Tower.
David R. Clark's introduction relates biographical events to what the manuscripts show about the chronological order in which the poems were written. The poems, which illuminate such facets of Yeats's life as the poet's flirtations with fascism and Hinduism and his concern, at age sixty-eight, that his poetic powers were waning, are presented in the order in which they appeared in A Full Moon in March.
Of the twenty-one poems here, eighteen are called songs. Only "Parnell's Funeral" itself is un-songlike, a somber and powerful declaration made by a Parnellite. Each poem is accompanied by comments on its content and its manuscripts. Ninety-nine illustrations show Yeats's handwritten drafts, typescripts, and revisions. Because of the poems' exotic references, a long section of the introduction provides relevant material from Yeats's letters and commentary and an independent analysis of each poem. Early in his career Yeats, with his fellow poets in the Rymers' Club, had "taken delight in poetry that was, before all else, speech or song, and could hold the attention of a fitting audience like a good play or a good conversation." Throughout "Parnell's Funeral and Other Poems," Yeats's desire for a direct lyrical urge is evident.