Metaphor in The Song of Wandering Aengus

Metaphor Examples in The Song of Wandering Aengus:

The Song of Wandering Aengus 3

"The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun...."   (The Song of Wandering Aengus)

The speaker states that the apples are silver and gold, which suggests that they represent something more than simple apples. Silver and gold are not only inorganic materials, but also they are colors full of symbolism. With this in mind, such apples are the result of artistic creation. In the poem, the apples represent the perfection and purity that only art can achieve. Only through art can Aengus’s quest can be accomplished. This poem itself serves as an act of taking and offering such apples. There is another way in which the apples represent the fruit of artistic creation: just as the golden apples of mythology offer immortality, so does art outlast its creator.

"white moths..."   (The Song of Wandering Aengus)

According to Celtic lore, moths were seen as the souls of the dead, flying about on their way to the afterlife. White moths in particular were understood to be omens of death. In the context of this poem, the “white moths… on the wing” signal Aengus’s mortality, one of Yeats’s most significant departures from the original myth of the eternally youthful Aengus.

"stars were flickering out..."   (The Song of Wandering Aengus)

The stars are “flickering out” because the sun is rising and the stars are becoming less visible. However, this line can be read metaphorically as well. Since stars are associated with constellations they represent mythology. The sun rising and the stars fading could represent the blending of the real and mythological worlds.