W.B. Yeats quotes

W.B. Yeats photo
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W.B. Yeats

Birthdate: 13. June 1865
Date of death: 28. January 1939

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served two terms as a Senator of the Irish Free State. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others.

Yeats was born in Sandymount, Ireland, and educated there and in London. He spent childhood holidays in County Sligo and studied poetry from an early age, when he became fascinated by Irish legends and the occult. These topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the 20th century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and its slow-paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the poets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 1900, his poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Works

Quotes W.B. Yeats

„The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness
That empty the heart.“

—  W.B. Yeats

In The Seven Woods http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1518/
In The Seven Woods (1904)
Context: I have heard the pigeons of the Seven Woods
Make their faint thunder, and the garden bees
Hum in the lime-tree flowers; and put away
The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness
That empty the heart. I have forgot awhile
Tara uprooted, and new commonness
Upon the throne and crying about the streets
And hanging its paper flowers from post to post,
Because it is alone of all things happy.
I am contented, for I know that Quiet
Wanders laughing and eating her wild heart
Among pigeons and bees, while that Great Archer,
Who but awaits His house to shoot, still hands
A cloudy quiver over Pairc-na-lee.

„But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.“

—  W.B. Yeats

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1499/
Variant: I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Source: The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)
Context: Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

„He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone.“

—  W.B. Yeats

A Prayer For Old Age http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1423/, st. 1.
A Full Moon in March (1935)
Context: God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone.

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„The hourly kindness, the day’s common speech,
The habitual content of each with each
When neither soul nor body has been crossed.“

—  W.B. Yeats

King and No King http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1521/
The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1910)
Context: I that have not your faith, how shall I know
That in the blinding light beyond the grave
We’ll find so good a thing as that we have lost?
The hourly kindness, the day’s common speech,
The habitual content of each with each
When neither soul nor body has been crossed.

„Now his wars on God begin;
At stroke of midnight God shall win.“

—  W.B. Yeats

Parnell's Funeral and Other Poems http://worldebooklibrary.com/eBooks/WorldeBookLibrary.com/ytpafu.htm (1935). Supernatural Songs http://worldebooklibrary.com/eBooks/WorldeBookLibrary.com/ytpafu.htm#1_0_7
Context: p>Then he struggled with the mind;
His proud heart he left behind. Now his wars on God begin;
At stroke of midnight God shall win.</p

„And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.“

—  W.B. Yeats

Never Give All The Heart http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1545/
In The Seven Woods (1904)
Context: Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
but a brief, dreamy, kind of delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

„She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.“

—  W.B. Yeats

Down By The Salley Gardens http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1476/
Crossways (1889)
Context: p>Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.</p

„Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream?“

—  W.B. Yeats

St. 1
The Rose (1893), The Rose of the World
Context: Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream?
For these red lips, with all their mournful pride,
Mournful that no new wonder may betide,
Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam,
And Usna's children died.

„All that sternness amid charm,
All that sweetness amid strength?“

—  W.B. Yeats

Peace http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1564/
The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1910)
Context: Ah, that Time could touch a form
That could show what Homer's age
Bred to be a hero's wage.
'Were not all her life but a storm,
Would not painters pain a form
Of such noble lines,' I said,
'Such a delicate high head,
All that sternness amid charm,
All that sweetness amid strength?
Ah, but peace that comes at length,
Came when Time had touched her form.

„Speech after long silence; it is right“

—  W.B. Yeats, book The Winding Stair and Other Poems

After Long Silence http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1432/
The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933)
Context: Speech after long silence; it is right,
All other lovers being estranged or dead,
Unfriendly lamplight hid under its shade,
The curtains drawn upon unfriendly night,
That we descant and yet again descant
Upon the supreme theme of Art and Song:
Bodily decrepitude is wisdom; young
We loved each other and were ignorant.

„This beauty's kinder, yet for a reason
I could weep that the old is out of season“

—  W.B. Yeats

The Arrow http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1590/
In The Seven Woods (1904)
Context: I thought of your beauty, and this arrow,
Made out of a wild thought, is in my marrow.
There's no man may look upon her, no man,
As when newly grown to be a woman,
Tall and noble but with face and bosom
Delicate in colour as apple blossom.
This beauty's kinder, yet for a reason
I could weep that the old is out of season.

„When they have but looked upon their images--
Would none had ever loved but you and I!“

—  W.B. Yeats

The Ragged Wood http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1673/
In The Seven Woods (1904)
Context: p>O hurry where by water among the trees
The delicate-stepping stag and his lady sigh,
When they have but looked upon their images--
Would none had ever loved but you and I!Or have you heard that sliding silver-shoed
Pale silver-proud queen-woman of the sky,
When the sun looked out of his golden hood?--
O that none ever loved but you and I!O hurry to the ragged wood, for there
I will drive all those lovers out and cry—
O my share of the world, O yellow hair!
No one has ever loved but you and I.</p

„Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make“

—  W.B. Yeats, book The Tower

St. 4
The Tower (1928), Sailing to Byzantium http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/1575/
Context: Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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