“Sailing to Byzantium”: Where, or What, is Yeats’s Country?
My freshman Literature and Composition class was discussing Yeats’s strange, beautiful, and very intellectual poem, “Sailing to Byzantium.” (Click here to read it first.) We were just starting on the first stanza, tackling these lines:
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.