Talk:The Second Coming (poem)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Poetry (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Poetry, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of poetry on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Ireland (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Ireland, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Ireland on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


Discussion from vfd:

(this link is bad, but I can't figure out where the data is. DrGaellon (talk | contribs) 22:15, 1 May 2007 (UTC))

The full text of this poem is in the public domain (for the Wikipedia servers in the United States), because it was published before 1923. —Toby Bartels 22:45, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Can some Yates scholars come in and clean up the mess that is posted here? Much of what is here reads as if Adam Smith and Tom Delay had written it posthumously.

This article needs serious help. This is one of the more significant short poems in the English language, yet the article sheds no light: most readers know what 'gyre' means, and we don't care about deep dives into sources in the absence of a basic overview of the work, its context, and symbolism. It's short (20 or so lines,) would it kill us to actually quote all the text (or most of it with a link to the full poem?) It's kind of hard to discuss the poem if you can't see the stanzas. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gorobei (talkcontribs) 04:39, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Wrong text in external link[edit]

The "Text of the poem" link given at the end of the article either has a version of the poem that is not the final one or an inaccurate version. Compare it ( to the version from Online-Literature (, particularly the seventeenth line. Auddie (talk) 17:52, 29 April 2010 (UTC)


The first paragraph of "Origin of terms" is copied nearly verbatim from the SparkNotes on this poem (see the second paragraph of the SparkNotes on line, accessed 2007-04-30). Should it be rephrased, deleted, or cited? -- DrGaellon (talk | contribs) 22:15, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

If it is practically identical, then it deserves a citation. Lets do it and be done. Lugh (joatmon) (talk) 23:30, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Comparison to Jungs collective unconcious[edit]

'The "spiritus mundi" (literally "spirit of the world") is a reference to Yeats' belief that each human mind is linked to a single vast intelligence, and that this intelligence causes certain universal symbols to appear in individual minds. The idea is similar to Carl Jung's concept of the collective unconscious.'

This is totally WRONG. The collective unconscious is the shared human symbolic language that has evolved through millions of years of human experience and evolution, manifested in dreams primarily. It is not of a spiritual or metaphysical nature. This is a very poor and inaccurate comparison.

It's also insane.

How is it not "similar?" I see the similarity. "Similar" does not denote "identical." Please, lets not split hairs, it detracts and distracts. Lugh (joatmon) (talk) 23:29, 16 March 2009 (UTC)


This section is way too long and needs trimming.--Lepeu1999 16:52, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Another allusion that I thought appropriate to add was in Chimamanda Adichie's book "Purple Hibiscus" the starting line was ode to Chineau Achebe's book "Thing's Fall Apart", should that be added? -toks (talk) 01:29, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm about to start trimming this section down. It's way too long, has no organization whatsoever, and could basically go on indefinitely the way it is. While Things Fall Apart is significant and adds to the article, but the fact that part of the poem was quoted once on an episode of Babylon 5, in my opinion adds nothing to the article. In accordance with Wikipedia: Trivia sections, I'll try to keep what seems relevant. In Wikipedia in general, this is gettting out of hand. I've done very little editing so far, so any feedback/help is quite welcome. Punning (talk) 14:11, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

I understand that the section is becoming unmanageably long and as per the Wikipedia: Trivia sections guidelines I'd like to remind everyone that

This guideline does not suggest removing trivia sections, or moving them to the talk page. If information is otherwise suitable, it is better that it be poorly presented than not presented at all.

Thus while you might not find the fact that a reference to the poem appeared in a Babylon 5 episode relevant, it still belongs somewhere in the article for those who might find it relevant in their research pursuits.(GuileKing (talk))

There are probably thousands or tens of thousands of allusions to the poem in mailing list posts, YouTube comments, TV shows, web forum posts, plays, movies, books, and so on. The line should be drawn somewhere to prevent the "allusions" section from being thousands of lines long. Still, I think Babylon 5 is pretty culturally important, at least as TV shows go. Kragen Javier Sitaker (talk) 00:50, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

The US TV show Sons Of Anarchy, in it's third season, used some of the lines from the poem as titles for its episodes - 'Widening Gyre' and 'Turning and Turning' for example. (talk) 09:11, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Rough Beast[edit]

Please think through that the rough beast, or antichrist / old no. 666, is about and rising up. Who could this be? is that mark of the beast , the 666, clearly visible ? Yes it is , in plain sight , right in front of you all ... ! on the sides of the AC beast's head. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:25, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Following up on this, another cleanup in September. Like The Catcher In The Rye, this seems to be one of those "favourite band" articles where every use of the word "slouching" in every small-town band lyric is going to be added, and will need to be pruned. -- (talk) 15:02, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Dag nabbit, that should have followed the "Allusions" section above. Apologies. -- (talk) 15:02, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

What to do here?[edit]

This is a really shitty article about one of the most important poems of the 20th century. But I really don't know what to do about it. What would make this a better article? Tell me, and I'll try. GPa Hill (talk) 05:35, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Much agreed. Yeats commented on the poem extensively during his own life - perhaps some of his own comments should be included here? Mwahcysl (talk) 19:12, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't know much about poetry articles, but maybe look at really good poetry articles and see what would be required to make this one more like them? There's a page on the poetry WikiProject's assessment of articles, and it links to the list of Featured-Article-class poetry articles, of which a small number are about poems, such as The Raven. Kragen Javier Sitaker (talk) 01:04, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for this. The Raven article is pretty fine. GPa Hill (talk) 04:41, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
No, the Raven is Poe. We are talking about what Yeats had to say. We speak of the truth of Christ. Mwahcysl (talk) 21:33, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Ummmm, really? Please to exclude me from the 'we' in question, then. --GPa Hill (talk) 00:04, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

One of the finest English language poems in history has an extraordinarily poor entry. I can not believe that there is no Yeats scholar who has read this page in so many years. Please do what is needed here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:31, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Article revisions[edit]

I've moved the paragraph on the 'brazen beast' down to the Origin of terms section (and re-arranged this section to follow the order of the poem). I've trimmed the para on the phrase "Second Coming", as it had a few too many useless words, and the beast's "sense of purpose" seems like a pathetic fallacy. I trimmed the "gyre" para for clarity, and to indicate that Yeats did not invent the word; also to avoid asserting Yeats' special meaning for this particular use of the word, which I don't think a neutral article has the right to do, unless someone can produce a citation from the horse's mouth. I cut the critic Winters' quote from the intro, as it seems to me an opinion not obviously supported by the text. If anyone wants to bring it back, I suggest a new Critical interpretations section. - Eyeresist (talk) 05:30, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Removal of text= Perhaps the text of the poem should be removed to meet with style standards. Short poems, such as Haikus, can be added to articles, but the style guide suggests that longer poems should be linked to wikisoure or an alternative.Mrathel (talk) 17:52, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Also, the Allusions to section should probably be cut, with a series of links at the bottom of the page suggesting further reading. It amounts to an In Popular Culture section, which does not accurately describe the source text and should not be used to describe the work itself. The article is about the poem, not about how it has been used in other works, and the weight that the Allusion to section places on secondary work detracts from the article's assessments Mrathel (talk) 17:54, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Alrighty, I have made a few cuts on the connective trivia, which is what most the the items under the Alusions to list amounted to, see wp:trivia.I am sorry to anyone who wants to be sure that an article on one of the most important poems of the 20th century mentions his or her favorite TV show, but that information is not relevent here. If you would like to start an article called Yeats' Second Coming in Popular Culture, be my guest. That having been done, this article still needs works by credible sources, preferably literary criticism given the nature of the poem.I am going to put it on my todo list. If anyone would like to help, I would love to be of any assistance. Mrathel (talk) 22:07, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

We could safely remove the whole section if you ask me. Thanks for the work! GPa Hill (talk) 17:58, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree, but I thought that the references to other pieces of literature, even though they are not necessarily criticism, do attempt to place the novel in a certain place in literature as a whole. I knew I was not overstepping my bounds on the pop culture references, but the literary ones I wanted to remove but could not entirely justify since they came close to discussing them poem. Mrathel (talk) 18:23, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

The connective trivia in the Influence on literature section is not part of the article's place in history; it is simply trying to tie one piece of work to another based on the fact that it is mentioned in another. If this were done with all articles, then every piece of literature ever written would have a section talking about what part of the bible it quotes, and the bible would be a million pages long with tidbits like "The bible is also quoted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer edipside 26 when Buffy says "let there be light!", and that would just be silly. i am in favor of removing the section entirely and replacing it with criticism of prominent critics Mrathel (talk) 16:22, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Again, I have removed connective trivia in the Influence on Literature section that is not related to literature. Honestly, the whole section needs to go, but I don't really know if that would cure the problem, as I am sure it would be less than a week before someone adds the fact that a line from the poem was used in a song, a TV show, or a comic book.Mrathel (talk) 16:57, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Poem Text[edit]

It's a pretty short poem if I recall... why isn't the full text included in the article? TallNapoleon (talk) 22:52, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Dear Napoleon. You are even dumber than I am. Read the above discussion before attempting a land war in Asia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:04, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Dear friend; personal attacks are not necessary, even if they are a bit jocular. tallnapoleon- the reason the text is not in the article is that it is not a short peom; a haiku, for instance, is short, but anything more than a few lines belongs on wikisource. If an encyclopedia were to have the text of every poem the size of "The Second Coming", it would make wikipedia a combination of WP and wikisource, and in this case, so much information is available on the subject that the space of the article can be taken up by relevent analysis. If you would like to discuss this subject further, please feel free to write on my talk page or the talk page of the poetry project. None of us at the project are Sicilian, and death is surly not on the line, so please feel free to ask. Mrathel (talk) 14:40, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Also, I have added the link to the wikisource article at the top of the page, so anyone looking for the poem can get to it easily. Mrathel (talk) 12:51, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the Wikisource link, that solves the problem neatly. TallNapoleon (talk) 13:39, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Shelley Connexion[edit]

I am surely not the only reader who has been unable to detect the connexion between "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity" and the proferred quote from 'Prometheus Unbound'. There is some similarity in the suggestion that those who should act are not doing so, but that is, at best, one third of the Yeats quote and by no stretch would constitute a "paraphrase" of Shelley. If the connexion cannot be made more clear, I wonder if it shouldn't be excised. Can anyone explicate or expand? Czrisher (talk) 19:42, 21 August 2009 (UTC)


Omitting a detailed list of insignificant allusions and references is one thing, but Joni Mitchell used the entire poem, much rearranged and sometimes reworded, as lyrics to the song "Slouching Towards Bethlehem", and I feel like that deserves noting somewhere in the page, though I'm not sure where. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DanielCristofani (talkcontribs) 19:25, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

"gyre" link[edit]

This is a really small thing, and perhaps I'm being dense: Does "gyre" in the text link to the disambiguation page because its ambiguous? - Aaron Brenneman (talk) 02:00, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

No Fascist Germans in 1919[edit]

On 30 March 2013 a sentence was added by user Ceranthor that includes, "Fascist German troops". While the Italian government in 1919 was soon to be taken over by fascism, the same would not be true of Germany until Hitler took over in the early 1930s. Therefore, to characterize 1919 Germans as fascist is an anachronism and I'm removing the word fascist. I leave to others whether the rest of the sentence is accurate, since I don't have access to the Harold Bloom work that was cited. Djmaschek (talk) 20:29, 11 August 2013 (UTC)


Sorry, but there is very little useful information about the poem here, and as other commenters above have noted, the information is out there. The truly atrocious part though, is the In Popular Culture section, which should probably be removed completely, as it doesn't add anything decent to the article. Snorgle (talk) 13:27, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Poem Read at the end of Heroes Season 3 Episode 1 "The Second Coming"[edit]

Just letting everyone know that this poem is read at the end of Heroes Season 3 Episode 1 "The Second Coming" line-by-line. Perhaps it should be mentioned in the wiki page? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Blanked "Literary influence" section[edit]

This was a collection of semi-random links with no context or commentary.

I'd like to see some discussion of the merits of these links if they are to be re-included.

Aaron Brenneman (talk) 03:05, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Prayer for Daughter[edit]

I've added a link in to the wiki article on Yeats' 'Prayer for My Daughter' as the reference to "Ceremony of Innocence" is a common feature in both poems. LeapUK (talk) 13:52, 7 September 2017 (UTC)


I wonder if there's a source showing that the poem was influenced by the 18th Brumaire, which has this line: “The revolution itself paralyzes its own bearers and endows only its adversaries with passionate forcefulness.” Shtove (talk) 08:49, 30 June 2021 (UTC)