The Second Coming is one of the best poems by Yeats. The first stanza is one of the triumphs of poetry. He will not tolerate violence. The thought is sharp and clear in the following lines:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
This poem has become the classic. The above lines fully reveal the brutality and barbarism nowadays confirmed by September 11 catastrophe and senseless terrorist attacks. Neveragain did a poet of the West have so intense expression of truth. The essence of Yeats’ mood is in the above last two lines. “This is probably Yeats’s most powerful poem” (A. N. Jeffares).
The poet passionately feels that the Prince of Peace will reincarnate soon. The simple and intense images in the following last linesreveal the poet's amazing vision of the rebirth of Jesus:
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The Nobel Laureate T.S. Eliot in his Yeats Lecture, delivered to the Friends of the Irish Academy at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, aptly remarked:“Yeats was one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are a part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them. This is a very high position to assign to him: but I believe that it is one which is secure”.