Thursday, September 7th, 2017...8:48 pmNoah Fusco

10 Things I Noticed About “Who Goes with Fergus?”

Jump to Comments
  1. Title is a question, which in its structure suggests that the speaker is addressing a group.
  2. Observation 1 is reflected in lines 4-5, where the speaker addresses both a “Y0ung man,” and a “maid.”
  3. The repetition of ‘and’s lends itself towards an anaphoristic parataxical quality.
  4. There’s only two places for full stops in the entire poem: at the question mark in line 3 and at the stanza break.
  5. There are repetitions of words/images across lines: “brood” (6-7), “rules” (9-10), “wood’s woven shade” and “shadows of the wood” (2, 10).
  6. The poem both asks a question (1-3) as well as commands something of the crowd (4-8).
  7. The poem does have a rhyme scheme (abcabc defdef).
  8. The poem is octosyllabic with six line stanzas. Probably iambic.
  9. A lot of nature imagery: “deep wood”, “level shore”, “white breast of the dim sea”, “disheveled wandering stars.”
  10. Juxtaposition of the synecdochous “russet brow” and “tender eyelids” of those who the speaker is addressing against how Fergus becomes defined, associated with the largeness of nature, the expanse of the natural world (“wood”, “sea”, “stars”).


  • Referring to the second point; When we discussed the two people mentioned in this poem, I thought why a young man and a maid? I think it’s because their social status is on two different spectrum. When I think of the early 1900’s, every “young man” is a soldier, or has the potential of being a soldier, or is fighting and in the midst of some kind of war. Then, there’s a maid is also so necessary in any society. So although they reflect different statuses and receive different respects, they are not too apart from one another, especially when it comes to following faith. I think this poem is all about faith and no matter who you are or where you come from, we are all deserving of seeking some kind of faith and that faith welcomes everyone.

  • I found number four here to be surprisingly important to the whole of the poem. Without the line breaks and periods, the poem has a continuous flow toward the end that overwhelms the reader with Fergus’s different domains. Number eight also caught my eye, since the octosyllabic may be intentional in order to make the poem a bit musical, but it is not a perfect iambic poem.

  • I think your sixth observation is a really interesting aspect of the poem. It does speak to a sophisticated nature of Yeat’s poems and his ability to both ask and question an audience. This not only captures the reader’s attention with a question, but also makes them contemplate the meaning of the poem by also being commanded to action.

  • I think your 7th point is very good. Yeats uses a rhyme scheme that is not an ordinary one. With only 2 stanzas and 12 lines in the poem, I find the rhyme scheme to be extremely interesting. It catches the readers eyes while reading the poem because the poem is not long but the rhyme scheme isn’t the normal, ABAB-CDCD,EFEF.

  •   Quadrese' Glass
    September 11th, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Your observation of point four is particularly interesting, the noting of only two moments of breaks (or taking a breath). What do you speculate Yeats is attempting to communicate through this structure?

  •   Professor Seiler
    September 12th, 2017 at 1:07 am

    Nice work, Noah! Picking up on one of your strong points (and one on which none of the other commenters has focused): why is it that the phrasing of the title suggests an address to a group? What am I missing?

  • Are you missing something? I think of “Who Goes with Fergus?” as making more sense if asked to a group (attempting to rally determination, the man looked at the group and asked, staring into every pair of eyes, “Who goes with Fergus?”) as opposed to towards a single person, (the man stared into the maid’s face and asked, “Who goes with Fergus?”) which, now that I write it out, only naturally seems to suggest that the speaker literally wants to know who goes with Fergus, which deflates the question a bit. Does that make sense?

Leave a Reply