William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

That is no country for old men. The young in one another?s arms, birds in the trees ?those dying generations?at their song, the salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas, fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long whatever is begotten, born, and dies. Caught in that sensual music all neglect monuments of un-aging intellect.

The brawling of a sparrow in the eaves.

The Heavens in my womb.

The poor have very few hours in which to enjoy themselves; they must take their pleasure raw; they haven't the time to cook it.

The true faith discovered was When painted panel, statuary, Glass-mosaic, window-glass, Amended what was told awry by some peasant gospeler.

Then Conchubar sent that sweet-throated maid.

There's keen delight in what we have.

Those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.

To his heart, biiding it have no fear. Be you still, be you still, trembling heart; remember the wisdom out of the old days: him who trembles before the flame and the flood, and the winds that blow through the starry ways, let the starry winds and the flame and the flood cover over and hide, for he has no part with the lonely, majestical multitude.

Troubling the endless reverie.

Was it for this the wild geese spread the gray wing upon every tide; for this that all that blood was shed, for this. Edward Fitzgerald died, and Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone, all that delirium of the brave? Romantic Ireland's dead and gone, it's with O'Leary in the grave.

We only believe in those thoughts which have been conceived not in the brain but in the whole body.

What need have you to care?

When such as I cast out remorse so great a sweetness flows into the breast we must laugh and we must sing, We are blest by everything, Everything we look upon is blest.

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey.

Who wastes his blood to be another's dream?

With head bowed on his knees Cuchulain stayed.

You know what the Englishman's idea of compromise is? He says, Some people say there is a God. Some people say there is no God. The truth probably lies somewhere between these two statements.

Swift has sailed into his rest; savage indignation there cannot lacerate his breast. Imitate him if you dare, world-besotted traveler; he served human liberty.

That is not natural in an age like this.

The brilliant moon and all the milky sky.

The host is rushing 'twixt day and night, and where is there hope or deed as fair? Caoilte tossing his burning hair, and Niamh calling ?Away, come away.?

The portraits, of more historical than artistic interest, had gone; and tapestry, full of the blue and bronze of peacocks, fell over the doors, and shut out all history and activity untouched with beauty and peace; and now when I looked at my Crevelli and pondered on the rose in the hand of the Virgin, wherein the form was so delicate and precise that it seemed more like a thought than a flower, or at the grey dawn and rapturous faces of my Francesca, I knew all a Christian's ecstasy without his slavery to rule and custom; when I pondered over the antique bronze gods and goddesses, which I had mortgaged my house to buy, I had all a pagan's delight in various beauty and without his terror at sleepless destiny and his labor with many sacrifices; and I had only to go to my bookshelf, where every book was bound in leather, stamped with intricate ornament, and of a carefully chosen color: Shakespeare in the orange of the glory of the world, Dante in the dull red of his anger, Milton in the blue grey of his formal calm; and I could experience what I would of human passions without their bitterness and without satiety. I had gathered about me all gods because I believed in none, and experienced every pleasure because I gave myself to none, but held myself apart, individual, indissoluble, a mirror of polished steel: I looked in the triumph of this imagination at the birds of Hera, glowing in the firelight as though they were wrought of jewels; and to my mind, for which symbolism was a necessity, they seemed the doorkeepers of my world, shutting out all that was not of as affluent a beauty as their own; and for a moment I thought as I had thought in so many other moments, that it was possible to rob life of every bitterness except the bitterness of death; and then a thought which had followed this thought, time after time, filled me with a passionate sorrow.

The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.

Then Conchubar, the subtlest of all men.

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright