William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

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 one looks into the darkness there is always something there... Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose, enfold me in my hour of hours; where those who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre, or in the wine-vat, dwell beyond the stir and tumult of defeated dreams; and deep among pale eyelids, heavy with the sleep men have named beauty. Thy great leaves enfold the ancient beards, the helms of ruby and gold of the crowned Magi; and the king whose eyes saw the pierced Hands and Rood of elder rise in Druid vapour and make the torches dim; till vain frenzy awoke and he died; and him who met Fand walking among flaming dew by a grey shore where the wind never blew, and lost the world and Emer for a kiss; and him who drove the gods out of their liss, and till a hundred morns had flowered red feasted, and wept the barrows of his dead; and the proud dreaming king who flung the crown and sorrow away, and calling bard and clown dwelt among wine-stained wanderers in deep woods: and him who sold tillage, and house, and goods, and sought through lands and islands numberless years, until he found, with laughter and with tears, a woman of so shining loveliness that men threshed corn at midnight by a tress, a little stolen tress. I, too, await the hour of thy great wind of love and hate. When shall the stars be blown about the sky, like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die? Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows, far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose? Out of sight is out of mind: long have man and woman-kind, heavy of will and light of mood, taken away our wheaten food, taken away our Altar stone; hail and rain and thunder alone, and red hearts we turn to grey, are true till time gutter away... the common people are always ready to blame the beautiful.

While day its burden on to evening bore.

Who sigh with mingled sorrow and content.

With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind.

You have the heaviest arm under the sky.

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.

They can hardly separate mere learning from witchcraft, and are fond of words and verses that keep half their secret to themselves.

Though hope fall from you and love decay.

To hunger fiercely after truth.

Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam.

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright