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Yes, though Yeats specifically said he meant Byzantium at a particular time (535, in Justinian's reign) when "religious, aesthetic, and practical life," he imagined, "were one." But that cannot stay of course; only a golden bird is left (he had seen such an actual bird).

>>> "Rickard A. Parker" 04/14/10 6:30 PM >>> 
Nancy Gish wrote: 
> 
> Byzantium is chosen not only because it is eternal but because 
> "an aged man is but a paltry thing/ A tattered coat upon a stick" 
> (i. e. a scarecrow). 
... 
> Only in body and time is there a source for images of eternity--a 
> paradox. 

More irony? Byzantium, (like the ax that had ten handles and 
three heads) may be eternal but it is not changeless. Byzantium 
became Constantinople became Istanbul. 

[I shall] sing 
To lords and ladies of Byzantium 
Of what is past, or passing, or to come. 

Regards, 
Rick Parker 

P.S. 
Byzantium by many other names: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Istanbul 

P.P.S. 
Here's another group that po.missouri.edu serves. 
It has to be even more dysfunctional than the TSE list gets at times. 
This is a cut-and-paste: 
MCONFROOMIE-L Roomate Matching Forum (1 Subscriber) 




> Plotinus said that eternity is in love with the productions of time. This 
> is the conundrum in both Keats and Yeats because, as Carrol notes, the 
> lovers will never grow old only because they will never live. From "The 
> Stolen Child" through the last poems Yeats sets up a similar dialectic and 
> irony. Because the price of being a golden bird is that there is only the 
> love of real birds of which to sing--"birds in the trees/ Those dying 
> generations at their song." Byzantium is chosen not only because it is 
> eternal but because "an aged man is but a paltry thing/ A tattered coat 
> upon a stick" (i. e. a scarecrow). And what is there to do when the 
> "masterful images" desert? "I must lie down where all the ladders start,/ 
> In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart." Only in body and time is 
> there a source for images of eternity--a paradox. 
> Nancy 
> 
>>>> Carrol Cox 4/14/2010 2:49 PM >>> 
> I think in both Keats & Yeats (though with diffrent emphases) eternity/ 
> the changeless is identified with death. The lovers Keats's Urn will 
> never die because they never lived.. "Aall breating human passion far 
> above" (from memory) is a special kind of irony that I'm not sure how 
> to label: That which makes human life desirable is precisely what (the 
> speaker fears) what makes it meaningless. And the resolution -- the 
> world is not _wholly_ lacking in order so far as one can _imagine_ order 
> (the urn, the bird's song) seems only to underline the failure to find 
> any order external to the self. And in The Irish Airman, this 'order' 
> becomes the ecstatic moment of death itself, a death deliberately 
> labelled purposelsss (S"those that I fight I do not hate, etc). I'm not 
> sure how to gloss those wonderful last lines of Lapis Lazuli: "And those 
> who build them again are gay"! 
> 
> Carrol 
> 
>> Nancy Gish wrote: 
>> 
>> The ending of Yeats's poem--like the representations of time and 
>> eternity throughout Yeats--is not a validation of any absolute: it is 
>> a conflict and an irony because all the golden bird has to sing of is 
>> time the "relative." This dialectic is similar to the mixed 
>> experience in Keats and others. 
>> 
>> But Yeats does not come down on either side as a solution. Read the 
>> Crazy Jane poems, which are also late. 
>> Nancy 
>> 
>> >>> Chokh Raj 04/14/10 11:31 AM >>> 
>> "O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 
>> That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 
>> It is the star to every wandering bark, 
>> Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken." 
>> 
>> [William Shakespeare, 'True Love'] 
>> 
>> --- 
>> 
>> Eliot once explained (to Philip Mairet, 31 October, 1956; the 
>> collection of Violet Welton) 
>> that, even if a poem meant different things to different readers, it 
>> was still necessary 
>> to assert its "absolute" meaning. [Peter Ackroyd, 'T.S. Eliot: A 
>> Life'] 
>> 
>> --- 
>> 
>> "Once out of nature I shall never take 
>> My bodily form from any natural thing, 
>> But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make 
>> Of hammered gold and gold enamelling 
>> To keep a drowsy Emperor awake; 
>> Or set upon a golden bough to sing 
>> To lords and ladies of Byzantium 
>> Of what is past, or passing, or to come." 
>> 
>> - WB Yeats, 'Sailing to Byzantium' 
>> 
>> --- 
>> 
>> a passing thought 
>> 
>> CR 
>