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ISSN : 1226-4946(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol.21 pp.137-155

Yeats’s “Lapis Lazuli” and His Artistic Vision

Jae-bong Kim


One of Yeats’s distinguished later poems, “Lapis Lazuli”, which was inspired bya Chinese lapis lazuli carving he received as a gift from a young man of letters,declares the values of artistic activities as a creator as well as preserver ofcivilizations. In the poem, the poet as a poetic persona constructs vivid visionbeyond the real world, breathes in the invisible fragrance that doesn’t really existand appreciates the unheard melodies from the still object of art. The old asceticsimagined out of the carved still-life meditate upon the tragic scenes beneath theirfeet from the mountain they ascend towards. Fictitious creatures in a created worldof sculpture stare on the real world with old wisdom transfiguring dread. Yeats hadnot presented all the significant experiences as successfully as he illustrated in thispoem. He made the real fictional and in turns, turned the fanciful ideas into realthings.
The old glittering eyes of those Chinamen in the last stanza are more authenticthan the hysterical women who complain with wrong, shrill and cracking voices inthe first stanza. The roles of the poet also become mythic as the Chinese do whoare distant, old, wise and gay in the hard stone. The poet penetrates into thedomain of art work silently and looks back on a poor play of life from the gaietyof his own art. The description of the last stanza in a form of sonnet is much likethe controlled carving of a sculptor. And it eternalizes artistic performances bytransforming a visual art into a linguistic imagination, and thus by re-creating thescene depicted in the stone in a pleasant manner. As the artist imagines scent andmusic and movements in the given poetic object, the sculpture attains valuesstimulating observers’ perception permanently. The Chinese art work with twoascetics and one pupil carrying a musical instrument will continue to mutate in the mind of readers as it receives multiple senses through the poem.

예이츠의 「청금석 부조」와 예술가의 비전



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