Easter 1916 Summary
The speaker begins by describing how he wont to encounter “them,” the lads and ladies he will later identify because the Irish rebels who died during the Easter Rising, at the top of the day. Their faces might reveal some internal agitation or strong emotion, but the speaker first saw them only within the context of ordinary, lifestyle, coming range in the evenings from jobs in shops or offices, meeting the speaker on the streets of Dublin outside the grey stone eighteenth-century buildings. The speaker would briefly acknowledge them with a nod and meaningless chitchat just to be polite, or stop a brief while and make meaningless chitchat just to be polite. Even while he was lecturing them, he would already be thinking of how to form fun of them while lecture one among his own friends later at their posh club. The speaker had nothing more serious on his mind than a joke because he thought that all of them were just living regular, unimportant lives. Now, though, everything is totally, totally different. Some event has occurred that was highly destructive but also helped cause profound change.
The speaker then describes individual men and ladies who participated in the Rising. One woman tried earnestly but misguidedly to accomplish positive change. Her devotion to extreme political positions was reflected in her endless, strident asserting her side. She wont to show a more moderate, engaging personality when she was a young, beautiful woman who spent her time in leisurely pursuits like hunting. One man was a schoolteacher and poet, metaphorically riding the “winged horse” (a symbol of poetic inspiration in Greek mythology); another man was a poet and critic who was helping the primary man develop his talent and cultivating his own. This poet may need to become famous for his art, given his perceptiveness and his attractive, innovative style. There was another man whom the speaker perceived as an arrogant, good-for-nothing drunkard. This man was abusive towards people the speaker cared for very deeply. But the speaker admits that he must respect and acknowledge even this man. This man left also behind the unimportant activities of lifestyle. This man also was completely, totally transformed by his participation within the Rising. This event was highly destructive but also helped cause profound change.
The speaker suggests that folks who, just like the rebels, dedicate all their love, energy, and activity to at least one goal can sometimes start to look inhuman in their single-minded dedication. Like an unmoving stone during a moving stream, such people can disrupt the flow of ordinary life around them. most things in nature, whether animals, humans, or the weather, are during a state of constant change. Small events, sort of a cloud passing by above a stream or a horse’s foot slipping into the water, can have major consequences. The natural events of life, like wild birds mating, show that every animate thing must adapt every minute for its own survival. But stones simply exist within the same state.
The speaker suggests that folks who hand over an excessive amount of their lives to pursue unchanging goals may lose their ordinary human feelings. He first wonders when of these sacrifices are going to be enough to realize the goal, on the other hand, decides that it’s Heaven, or God’s, job to answer that question. the work for him and therefore the remainder of the community is just to recollect the dead with seriousness, respect, and love, even as a mother would watch her sleeping child with gravity and love when the kid has finally fallen asleep after running around during a frenzy. The speaker wonders if death could also be something temporary and comparatively painless, like sleeping through the night before awakening within the morning. He rejects that concept, however, to remind himself and therefore the reader that the rebels are truly dead and can not come. He next wonders if their deaths may are unnecessary. Britain may need to keep its promise to grant Ireland self-government, in spite of the nationalists’ mistrust of British. But again, the speaker decides it’s not his or the public’s job to answer that question. they do not get to know whether the rebels accomplished their goal; just knowing that they died for the sake of this goal is enough to earn the honor and respect. Still, the speaker cannot help wondering again if their extreme devotion to their goal may have clouded their judgment. But once more, he turns faraway from that speculation to recollect the dead rebels. He lists by name a number of the Rising’s most vital leaders—MacDonagh, MacBride, Connolly, Pearse. He affirms that for the remainder of Ireland’s existence, whenever Irish gather to celebrate their country, these rebels are going to be honored, their identities having been completely transformed from that of ordinary people. The event was highly destructive but also helped cause profound change.