Thursday, September 7th, 2017...7:10 pmolearyc

“Who Goes With Fergus?” Observations

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1.) The tile “Who goes with Fergus?” appears to be a rhetorical question directed at a specific audience that Yeats is trying to reach.

2.) Although Fergus isn’t fully identified, he is described as someone who has “pierced” through the deep woods and danced upon the shore. Further, he has chosen to surround himself with nature and Yeats is opening an invitation for his audience to do the same.

3.)Yeats asks men to lift up their “russet brow” and women to lift their “tender eyelids,” possibly insinuating that they need to open their eyes to something they have been close minded to.

4.) Yeats personifies the stars by describing them as “wandering” in the last line

5.) There are a series of anaphora’s in both the first and second stanza that begin with the word “and” that add parallelism and rhythm to the poem.

6.)The word choices brood, wood, rules, are all repeated twice through the poem an are all used to create emphasis.

7.)Yeats follows a strict ABCABC rhyme scheme which also adds to the flow and rhythm of the poem.

8.)He challenges himself and others to leave behind “love’s bitter mystery” as Fergus did, further alluding to the benefits of leaving earthly desires.

9.)The second stanza incorporates a more somber mood/tone than the first. The word choice of shadows, dim seam, and disheveled wandering starts are all phrases that have a dark and mysterious connotation.

10.)Yeats suggests a risk and mystery that is involved in nature but ultimately expresses it is more rewarding.


  • I like all these observations, and find that the last one offers a satisfying conclusion — if you were using these points in an essay, the final observation could act as your final sentence or point. Regarding #7, I would add that the rhyme scheme also makes the poem sound like a nursery rhyme or other stable, predictable poem. Perhaps Yeats writes the poem like this in an attempt to make the poem accessible and its message spread more widely throughout his readership?

  • I really like your observations, like Yeats’ plea for people to lift their brow and eyelids suggesting they weren’t paying close enough attention and the stars as personifications of vagrancy. Further, I thought the title was a literal question but it makes more sense as rhetorical. My only question is, do you think there is any particular significance with the repetition of “brood,” “wood,” and “rules”? What do they emphasize? Also, what does nature reward us with?
    Good analysis of a difficult poem, only question now is whether I’ll go with Fergus.

  • It is interesting that your second observation is about how Fergus is not fully identified in the poem. While you noticed that he was heavily surrounded by nature, does the fact that he was an honored king who left to be in nature change your opinion or observation of him in this poem? I think it might make Yeats’ “invitation” even stronger, as he recounts a narrative of a man who had so much wealth but was willing to leave it all for the natural world. Theoretically if he can make that sacrifice we all should be able to.

  • I like your observation about word choice when describing the russet brow and tender eyelids. You pull meaning from just these two adjectives and it makes me wonder, what have these people been close minded to? What idea does Fergus represent?

  •   Professor Seiler
    September 11th, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Caroline–great start to the blog. I diverge a bit from Charlotte’s point–I didn’t *quite* follow your meaning in the last point, but think it’s on the verge of an important earned insight about the poem. If you were to continue with this thinking for essay 1, I’d encourage you to start by trying to specify and substantiate #10.

  • I found the shift in tone that you noted in #9 to be both valuable and insightful as it points to the concept of the “break” that we discussed in class and the way in which a change within a poem can bring about meaning.

    For your point in #3 regarding the men who are asked to lift their “russet brow” and the women who are asked to lift their “tender eyelids,” I wonder if you might also consider whether or not the age of the men and women being addressed plays a role within the poem. They are both described as being youthful. Is Yeats attempting to juxtapose young love and carefree youth with a life of brooding on one’s hopes and fears? Perhaps he insinuating that young people are most likely to follow Fergus? Something to consider 🙂

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