‘A Prayer for my daughter’ by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) speaks about the poet’s daughter. It demonstrates his concern and anxiety over the future well-being and prospects of his daughter, Anne. Yeats wrote ‘A Prayer for my daughter’ in 1919, shortly after his daughter’s birth and world war I.
More Notes: W B Yeats
The poet was troubled and gloomy about the situation in the Western world, in the post-war period. There was turbulence in society. The world was appearing to be an increasingly harsh and coarse place to live in. At this time, Yeats’s daughter was born. It is inevitable for Yeats to have been concerned about his daughter’s future in such a world.
W B Yeats worries about his daughter because he has just experienced some harsh things in his life. So, prays for his daughter that, she may be blessed with beauty that will not make a stranger’s eye upset. She will be kind. She may have a fixed home and happy thoughts.
More Notes: Suggestions
Yeats prays that his daughter will be free from hatred and ego. Hatred kills innocence. To maintain innocence, his daughter should not preserve hatred in her mind. Again, to say about intellectual hatred, Yeats illustrates Maud Gonne who married MacBride whom he remarks as a fool. So, Yeats prayed that his daughter should not cultivate blind intellect. Yeats says,
An intellectual hatred is the worst,
So let her think opinions are accursed.
In his last prayer, the poet wishes that his daughter should marry a person from an aristocratic family. The person will take her home where ceremony and tradition will be present and get priority.