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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" <[log in to unmask]> 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 <[log in to unmask]> 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
>