The poetic career of Yeats is longer than that of Words worth or Tennyson. His poetic genius during this long period was in a sate of continuous growth and maturity. His later poetry shows distinct marks of advancement over the earlier one. It should, however, be borne in mind that there is no opposition or contradiction between the early and the later phases. His poetry as a whole displays an organic development and the later poetry with all the maturity is but a consummation or fruition of his earlier one. Celebrated critics like Kenner and Untercker have also endorsed the view that there exists a continuity, a trend of gradual development n Yeats’s poetic genius. Hence the efflorescence of his later poems may be traced to the budding of his genius during the early phase.
However, this evolution of his poetic genius shows a process of show transition. This transition was ever an abrupt one. This process was a long and elaborates one and Prof Scott James has pertinently pointed out that it is in effect semblance with the Greek drama which prominently exhibits a beginning, a middle and an end. Now for the purpose of bringing this organic development in to foes, his poetic career may be divided in two following four stages:
It is gratifying indeed to trace this development of his genius and to study the growth and evolution of his poetry in respect of form and content, tone and technique. In the early poetry or during Celtic Twilight period, Yeats appears to be escapist. The poet is found to emulate the pre-Raphaelites and the Romantic poets. Indeed to his early poetry we discern clear marks of Per-Raphaelite colour and romantic imagination. The poet escapes from the harsh reality and sordidly of the mundane world into a pulsating dream-world of Irish legend, my theology and folklore.
|Wikipedia: William Butler Yeats|
The poems composed during thus last phase are ironical and tragic. A note of pathos, irony and poetry of this last phase. But all these were calculated to cover up the intensity of his suffering, the frustration and tragedy of life. But the poet retained the command over his materials all through. Up to the end he was in the fullness of his powers. But with the passing away of time, the poet was gradually becoming an isolated entity, immune from the complex world around him. The poet was pathetically conscious of this deplorable isolation, of the lonesome existence which lay heavy on him: