Wed 24 Apr, 2019 08:06 am
I'm a little bit confused by this part of poem by W.B. Yeats "Sailing to Bysantium"
"An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing"
The question is why the verbs "clap" and "sing" have no "-s" ending? The noun "Soul" is single and as far as I consider is third-person.
Yes, those verbs should have -s on their ends. I'm guessing it's poetic license more than anything else.
In the Sparknotes on this there is an implied missing 'can' before 'clap' ...
...so the intention of the line is ....'unless the soul can
clap and sing...but this would not scan well.
By leaving off the s it gives the impression that the poet is commanding the soul, and that the singing is happening right now as opposed to sometime in the past.