The Knight upon the Grave of his Lady

The Knight upon the Grave of his Lady by Althea Gyles. 1898. Source: The Dome.

In his article on the artist, William Butler Yeats tells us,

The Knight upon the Grave of his Lady tells much of its meaning to the first glance; but when one has studied for a time, one discovers that there is a heart in the bulb of every hyacinth, to personify the awakening of the soul and of love out of the grave. It is now winter, and beyond the knight, who lies in the abandonment of his sorrow, the trees spread their leafless boughs against a grey winter sky; but spring will come, and the boughs will be covered with leaves, and the hyacinths will cover the ground with their blossoms, for the moral is not the moral of the Persian poet: “Here is a secret, do not tell it to any body. The hyacinth that blossomed yesterday is dead.” The very richness of the pattern of the armour, and of the boughs, and of the woven roots, and of the dry bones, seems to announce that beauty gathers the sorrows of man into her breast and gives them eternal peace” (236).

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the site and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow.]


Yeats, W. B. “A Symbolic Artist and the Coming of Symbolic Art.” The Dome 1 (1898): 233-37. Hathi Trust Digital Library. Web. 30 October 2019.

Last modified 30 October 2019