The Lamentations of the Old Pensioner | Heritage Of Words | Class XII English Summary

The Lamentations of the Old Pensioner

Author:- W.B Yeats

The Lamentations of the Old Pensioner  | Heritage Of Words | Class XII English Summary

W. B. Yeats, the greatest English poet of the 20th century, presents the reminiscences of his eventful young age and contrasts them with his present pathetic old life in the poem, “The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner.”

The title suggests that the poet is a Pensioner. It means he must be very old and is living a retired life. He says whenever he is caught in the rain, he takes shelter under a broken tree. The broken tree can not protect him from the rain. Here, one must note the point that in England it rains during winter. It means he is deprived of a reliable shelter when he needs it most. But it was not always the case with him. When he was young, he used to sit nearest to the fire, which warmed and comforted him. You can’t light the fire in rain outside. It means he had a reliable place to live when he was young. Not only that, the cozy parlor of the poet always used to be full with the livelier company of his friends who talked about love and politics. But today, he misses them as “Time” has taken away all his friends leaving him old and isolated.

He sees some mischievous boys making weapons for some conspiracy. These ‘rascals’ are sure to create chaos in society through some barbarous activities. But the poet is not concerned about the possible anarchy in society. He is sad as time has transfigured him.

The poet laments that time has made him ugly like a broken tree and therefore, no woman shows interest in him. However, the poet consoles himself that “the beauties that he loved” are still fresh in his memory. He holds the “Time” a culprit, who has taken away his shelter, friends, youth, energy, and charm and wants to spit on its face in disgust for his metamorphosis.

Theme:

In the poem "The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner" written by W.B Yeats, the speaker laments the passing of his joyful youth. In the past, the speaker was young and he had a happy life. The poet remembers his youth and laments for the loss of it. So his friends and lovers followed him. He was happy to talk about love and politics. His past life only gives him agony because Time has turned him into an ugly, weak, and useless old man. Neither his friends nor any beauties follow him. He is jealous to see other young people who challenge any conspiracy and evils. So he is angry with Time and wants to spit in its face.      

Interpretation

"The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner" written by W.B. Yeats, presents the speaker's reminiscences of his young life which become more painful when he contrasts his time of youth with his present old age. He laments the passing of his joyful youth.

In the past, the speaker was young and he had a happy life. So his friends and lovers followed him. He was happy to talk about love and politics. His past life only gives him agony because Time has turned him into an ugly, weak, and useless old man. Neither his friends nor any beauties follow him. He is envious to see other young people who challenge any conspiracy and evils. This old man, who is forced away from politics and love, is still tormented by the passions of his youth for women and conversation. He thinks that his greater enemy is Time because it made him old and stole his physical beauty, power, and beautiful lovers. Time stole his youthful vitality, energy, and sexual power. He compares his old stage with the broken tree. Time robbed all his happiness from him because it transfigured him into an ugly, powerless, passionless, deformed, and lonely old man. So, he shows his anger against Time and spits on the face of it.   

Important Exam Oriented Questions & Answers 

 Q1.) Why does the poet show his anger against time?

In this poem The lamentation of the old Pensioner, W. B. Yeats shows his anger against the time because it has given much pain to him. The cruel time has changed him from happy to sad, young to old, and energetic to weak. In the past, he had many friends and beloveds, but the cruel time has made him old and alone. His romantic youth and his happiness are seized by the cruel time. It has made him an old broken tree. Nobody likes to talk to him in his old age due to the generation gap. He could do nothing except to lament for the romantic past in his painful old age. So the poet wants to spit on the face of time. He is very angry with the cruel time.

Q2.) What is the speaker lamenting on?

In this poem The lamentation of the old Pensioner, W. B. Yeats is lamenting for the loss of his romantic youth. He shows his anger against the time because it has given much pain to him. The cruel time has changed him from happy to sad, young to old, and energetic to weak. In the past, he had many friends and beloveds, but the cruel time has made him old and alone. His romantic youth and his happiness are seized by the cruel time. It has made him an old broken tree. Nobody likes to talk to him in his old age due to the generation gap. He could do nothing except to lament for the romantic past in his painful old age. So the poet wants to spit on the face of time. He is very angry with the cruel time. For that reason, he is lamenting for his happy past in his painful old age.

Q3.) Why does the old man want to 'spit into the face of time'?

In this poem the lamentation of the old Pensioner, W. B. Yeats wants to spit on the face of time because the cruel time has changed him an old man from his happy romantic youth. He shows his anger against the time because it has given much pain to him. The cruel time has changed him from happy to sad, young to old, and energetic to weak. In the past, he had many friends and beloveds, but the cruel time has made him old and alone. His romantic youth and his happiness are taken by the cruel time. It has made him an old broken tree. Nobody likes to talk to him in his old age due to the generation gap. He could do nothing except to lament for the romantic past in his painful old age. So, the poet wants to spit on the face of time.

Q4.) Mention any three things the old man laments about. Why is he sad about them?

In this poem, the poet or the old man is lamenting for his romantic past in his painful old age. He remembers his friends, his romantic days and those beauties he used to love them. He laments those things in his old age because he is alone and he has nobody to talk to. He feels like a useless broken tree. His friends used to talk about love and politics. He had many beauties that used to love him much. But now neither a single woman looked at him.

Q5.) Explain the title of the poem.

The title of the poem the lamentation of the Old pensioner is very symbolic in meaning. W. B. Yeats compares his old age with a pensioner, a pensioner from a job, but from his life. He is lamenting for the loss of his youth. It means he laments for the loss of his youth happiness and energy in his very old age. An old man can do nothing except to remember his past. So the title is very appropriate to its theme.

Q6.) Summarize the poem in one sentence.

The poet W. B. Yeats compares his past to his present old age and laments for the loss of youth because the cruel time has made him from young to old and happy to sad.

Q7.) Write an essay on youth and Age

Youth and Age

Youth and age are inseparable things. They are like the two sides of the same coin. Life is a journey from womb to tomb. A person has to cross different phases of life where if he lives a full life. A child of yesterday becomes a young today and old tomorrow. Eventually, he or she disappears from the world and lives in his permanent home, the grave. So youth and old age are two sides of life. They're completely different but inseparable just like two sides of the paper.

Youth is the most interesting and important phase of human life. A person becomes physically healthy and mentally sound in this phase. He or she becomes courageous to do any adventurous (risky) work. Youth is energetic and romantic too, young people keep interested in love and politics. Most of them don’t care about the past and future but try to make the present perfect. They spend a lot of time with friends in entertainment and creative activities too. If they make the best use of this phase, they can make their future bright. We find some young people misusing their time of youth and damaging their future.

Old age is rather a miserable phase of human life. A person becomes physically weak and mentally forgetful. He or she spends much time at home remembering the happy days of his/her youth. He or she expects help from young people to do any work. He or she keeps interested not in romantic love but in family, love, and religion. He or she wants to visit temples and so many other holy places. He or she likes to tell young people the story of young people according to his or her own experiences. However, unlike joyous youth, old age is bitter and painful. So, old people are very much passive, dull, and pessimistic.


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