The speaker then drops the nonsensical question: "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" Answer: The speaker is likening the seemingly out of control situation in society to a falconer losing control of the falcon as he attempts to tame it. Answer: William Butler Yeats died on January 28, 1939, in Cannes, France. Yeats was more prudent than that. Obviously, the speaker does not mean that the literal Sphinx will travel to Bethlehem. The speaker concludes his guess with an allusion to the birth of such an entity as he likens the Blessed Mother to the "rough beast." Instead of being a devotee of a spiritual path, he was more of a student. Because the poet is a contemporary of modernism but not postmodernism, William Butler Yeats' poetry and poetics do not quite devolve to the level of postmodern angst that blankets everything with the nonsensical. The "rough beast" in this poem is an aberration of imagination, rendering it a non-viable symbol for what Yeats' speaker thought he was achieving in his critique of culture. And he feared that the beast was coming to claim its kingdom, right on time. That said, there is no doubt that Yeats was well aware of the symbolic values of … Clashes of groups of ideologues have wreaked havoc and much blood shed has smeared the tranquil lives of innocent people, who wish to live quiet, productive lives. The speaker does not know, but he does not mind hazarding a dramatic guess. It is doubtful that anyone would argue that the poem is dramatizing a literal birth, rather than a spiritual one. Question: Who is the "rough beast" in W.B. I haven't had a good political debate with an over-the-top Lefty in a while, but I hesitate to get into it on this forum. Yet, his manifesto titled, A Vision is, undoubtedly, one of the contributing factors to that line of meretricious ideology. Question: In the poem "The Second Coming", is the "rough beast" supposed to be thought of as the Egyptian Sphinx? This illogical event is never mentioned by critics who seem to accept the slouching as a possible occurrence. After all, that's where the First Coming came! or (2) "And what rough beast's babe, its time come at last, / Is in transport to Bethlehem to be born?". Answer: No, the likeness of the Sphinx is simply a trope about which Yeats has his speaker speculate. Even if one explicates that the speaker is personifying the pond, the lines remain absurd, at least in part, because if a person needs calcium, grabbing the bones of another human being will not take care of that deficiency. Political factions like to employ these lines against their opposition when that opposition is in power, as they spew forth praise for their own order that somehow magically appeared with their taking the seat of power. Nevertheless, on occasion in his works, one will find signs that he became tinged with the stain of the beginnings of postmodernism, or more accurately simply moderism. : : "Slouching toward Bethlehem" is from the last line in the poem "The Second Coming" by W.B. The speaker likens the seemingly out of control situation of society to a falconer losing control of the falcon as he attempts to tame it. He nurtured an interest in the Eastern Religions and Philosophies and even compiled a translation of a section of the Upanishads with Swami Sri Purohit, a Hindu pundit from Maharashtra, India. Yeats' "The Second Coming"? Lack of respect for leadership has left a vacuum which is filled with force and violence. Yet its final ludicrous image results in a blur of nonsense. William Butler Yeats composed a manifesto to display his worldview and poetics titled, A Vision, in which he set down certain tenets of his thoughts on poetry, creativity, and world history. W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming" does not depict the universe as only or totally chaotic, yet it does complain that things seem to be heading in that direction. If, as the postmodernists contend, there is no order in the universe and nothing really makes any sense anyway, then it becomes perfectly fine to write non-sense. : Unlike past global powers, however, America has built an empire of bases rather than colonies, creating in the process a government that is obsessed with maintaining absolute military dominance over the world. Poems, in order to communicate, must be as logical as the purpose and content require. An unborn being cannot "slouch" toward a destination. A ridiculous image develops from the fabrication of the Sphinx moving toward Bethlehem. It is terrifying only because it will wipe out our Christianised, homogenised culture and return us to a primal state. If the poet did not have this vomit pit into which he can unload, his brain would explode, they explain. He is merely implying that a Sphinx-like creature might be the creature of the second coming. These last two lines in order to make the case the speaker wishes to make should be restructured in one of two ways: (1) "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to give birth?" For example, if the poet wishes to comment or criticize, he must adhere to physical facts in his poetic drama. Such a blanket, unqualified statement, even in a poem lacks the ring of truth: it simply cannot be that the best absolutely lack “all conviction.” It also cannot be that all the worst are passionate. Answer: Stone symbolism in many Yeatsian texts is employed to suggest rigidity, unchanging positions, even stubborn radicalism. If the poet wishes simply to emote, equivocate, or demonstrate the chaotic nature of the cosmos, he may quite deliberately do so without much seeming sense. Everyday life has become chaotic as corrupt governments have spurred revolutions. The overstated claim that, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity,” should have alerted readers of the poem that they should take all that follows with a bit of the grain of skeptical salt. The speaker is sorrowing over the chaos of worldly events that have left many dead in their wake. This poem remains one of the most widely anthologizes poems in World literature. Once a person has discounted the return of Jesus Christ as a literal fact, it is easy to offer personal speculation about just what a second coming might look like. But the speaker is not contemplating the nature of the rough beast's mother; he is contemplating the nature of the rough beast itself. : The Second Coming! She, as this new-fangled creature, will be "slouching toward Bethlehem."