The Lamentation of The Old Pensioner - Summary | The Heritage of Words

W.B. Yeast

The Lamentation of The Old Pensioner

“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 on the passing of his joyful youth.

In the past, the speaker was young and he had a good job. 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.

Questions for Practice :

  1. Why does the poet show his anger against time?
  2. Why does the old man want to ‘spit into the face of time’?
  3. Mention any three things the old man laments about. Why is he sad about them?
  4. Why and how does the old pensioner lament?
  5. What is the speaker lamenting on?

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