William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

That crazed girl improvising her music. Her poetry, dancing upon the shore, her soul in division from itself climbing, falling She knew not where, hiding amid the cargo of a steamship, her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare a beautiful lofty thing, or a thing heroically lost, heroically found. No matter what disaster occurred she stood in desperate music wound, wound, wound, and she made in her triumph where the bales and the baskets lay no common intelligible sound but sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea.?

That we are tired, for other loves await us.

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 living can assist the imagination of the dead.

The Scholars - Bald heads forgetful of their sins, old, learned, respectable bald heads edit and annotate the lines that young men, tossing on their beds, rhymed out in love?s despair to flatter beauty?s ignorant ear. They?ll cough in the ink to the world?s end; wear out the carpet with their shoes earning respect; have no strange friend; if they have sinned nobody knows. Lord, what would they say should their Catullus walk that way?

The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves.

There are a few of the open-air spirits; the more domestic of their tribe gather within-doors, plentiful as swallows under southern eaves.

Things said or done long years ago Or things I did not do or say But thought that I might say or do, Weigh me down, and not a day But something is recalled, My conscience or my vanity appalled.

Thy fretful words a little while?

To strike you dead?

Under the receding wave.

We can only begin to live when we conceive life as Tragedy.

We'll out, for the world lives as long ago; and while we're in our laughing, weeping fit, hurl helmets, crowns, and swords into the pit. But, dear, cling close to me; since you were gone, my barren thoughts have chilled me to the bone.

What would have shaken from the sieve?

Whence had they come the hand and lash that beat down frigid Rome? What sacred drama through her body heaved when world-transforming Charlemagne was conceived?

Whirls out new right and wrong.

Why should you run?

With the dragons?

Your eyes, which never quite was mine, bent in sorrow for the eyelids veil, because our love chisels. Then she will say: while it is true that our love chisels, let us once again on a lonely coast of the lake, side by side, in the hour of great gentleness, when weary child, passion, falls asleep, how far are the stars. The first kiss as far. And how old my heart! Thoughtfully walked through withered leaves, and then he, holding her hand in his hand, he said slowly: think of these migratory heart, our heart, the soul of passion sometimes. Forests have been around. And yellow leaves how pale meteors by dusk fell. The old, lame rabbit limping along the path. Autumn was upon them. And here stood once again on a lonely coast of the lake. Turning, he saw the dead leaves - as her eyes moist - in silence collected she threw on their breasts and hair. Do not cry, that we grow weary. Others love to meet. I still hate and love, without limit and regret. Before us lies all eternity. Our souls are love and continual farewell.

Speak before your breath is done.

That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea.

That would not lift a hand maybe.

The day you go to heaven that you may never come back again alive out of it! But it is not yourself will never hear the saints hammering at their music! It is you will be moving through the ages chains upon you, and you in the form of a dog or a monster! I tell you, that one will go through purgatory as quick as lightning through a thorn bush. It is very queer the world itself is, whatever shape was put upon it at the first!

The love I lived, the dream I knew.

The Song of Wandering Aengus - I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head, and cut and peeled a hazel wand, and hooked a berry to a thread; and when white moths were on the wing, and moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream and caught a little silver trout. When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame, but something rustled on the floor, and someone called me by my name: it had become a glimmering girl with apple blossom in her hair who called me by my name and ran and faded through the brightening air. Though I am old with wandering through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, and kiss her lips and take her hands; and walk among long dappled grass, and pluck till time and times are done, the silver apples of the moon, the golden apples of the sun.

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright