William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

We pieced our thoughts into philosophy.

What need have you to dread?

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.

Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams, unloose the cord, and they will wrap you round.

That it was Eros himself, and that his face was veiled because no man or woman from the beginning.

The cap and the bells - The jester walked in the garden: the garden had fallen still; he bade his soul rise upward and stand on her window-sill. It rose in a straight blue garment, when owls began to call: it had grown wise-tongued by thinking of a quiet and light footfall; but the young queen would not listen; she rose in her pale night-gown; she drew in the heavy casement and pushed the latches down. He bade his heart go to her, when the owls called out no more; in a red and quivering garment it sang to her through the door. It had grown sweet-tongued by dreaming of a flutter of flower-like hair; but she took up her fan from the table and waved it off on the air. 'I have cap and bells,' he pondered, 'I will send them to her and die'; and when the morning whitened he left them where she went by. She laid them upon her bosom, under a cloud of her hair, and her red lips sang them a love-song till stars grew out of the air. She opened her door and her window, and the heart and the soul came through, to her right hand came the red one, to her left hand came the blue. They set up a noise like crickets, a chattering wise and sweet, and her hair was a folded flower and the quiet of love in her feet.

The house ghost is usually a harmless and well-meaning creature. It is put up with as long as possible. It brings good luck to those who live with it.

The rattle of pebbles on the shore.

The unpurged images of day recede; the Emperor?s drunken soldiery are abed; night resonance recedes, night walkers? song after great cathedral gong; a starlit or a moonlit dome disdains all that man is, all mere complexities, the fury and the mire of human veins.

Then Emer cast the web upon the floor.

They fixed old aching eyes.

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.

To idle life away, a common herd.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre the falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand; A shape with lion body and the head of a man, a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds. 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?

We all to some extent meet again and again the same people and certainly in some cases form a kind of family of two or three or more persons who come together life after life until all passionate relations are exhausted, the child of one life the husband, wife, brother, sister of the next. Sometimes, however, a single relationship will repeat itself, turning its revolving wheel again and again.

We poets would die of loneliness but for women, and we choose our men friends that we may have somebody to talk about women with.

What portion in the world can the artist have, who has awakened from the common dream, but dissipation and despair?

When the poor tired child, Passion, falls asleep.

While I wrought out these fitful Danaan rhymes.

Whose blade compels, and wait till they have found?

With him is one sweet-throated like a bird.

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright