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But haven’t there always been prophecies of The End?
But it’s not the end: it is the decline of one age, and the rise of another.
But what other? What rough beast slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? (And now you understand that allusion that a scholar might make.)
A brief scan of the graphics on this site offers an idea of a “gyre” as a two-thousand year cycle.
For an idea of how many essays have been penned about Yeats’ symbolism and “The Second Coming,” this is a link to a 394-page book of essays that is quite in-depth.
Lastly, look at the wikipedia entry to see an example of how wiki can be quite tepid. (Even Schmoop beats them in this particular case.)