US President Joe Biden quoted Irish poet WB Yeats in his address to American troops stationed in the UK.
The Irish-American has travelled to meet with other world leaders in the G7 summit meeting to discuss global issues such as climate change and the covid pandemic.
He spoke at the US airbase at RAF Mildenhall to address his troops and thank them for their service.
Towards the end of the address he said: “The world has changed, changed utterly.
“A terrible beauty has been born.”
The closing line is a phrase used by Irish poet WB Yeats in his famous poem Easter 1916.
Yeats wrote the poem following the Easter Rising in Ireland when a group of rebels took control of the General Post Office in Dublin city and declared Ireland an independent nation, free from British rule.
The Rising lasted several days before the British army defeated the rebels and reclaimed control of the city.
Several of the Rising leaders were sentenced to death for their roles in the rebellion, but the harsh punishment turned the mood of the nation, and they were considered martyrs to the cause of an independent Ireland.
Several more conflicts followed, in the form of the Irish War of Independence and then the Irish Civil War.
These subsequent conflicts were what Yeats was referring to with the phrase ‘a terrible beauty is born’.
Exactly how President Biden intended the phrase to be interpreted is up for discussion, but he was adamant in his speech that the world’s nations must work together to deal with the problems they face.
He promised the world that “the United States is back” following the tenure of previous President Donald Trump.
In reference to the issues of climate change and the covid pandemic, President Biden said that “diplomacy is essential” because “no single nation acting alone can meet all the challenges we face today because the world is changing.”
It is the first overseas trip Biden has taken since becoming President, and he will also meet with Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his stay in the UK.