William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

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.

The work is done,' grown old he thought.

There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet.

Think where man's glory most begins and ends and say my glory was that I had such friends.

Till my own words, re-echoing, shall send.

To the cracked tune that Chronos sings.

Until my thoughts cleared up again.

We cannot doubt that barbaric people receive such influences more visibly and obviously, and in all likelihood more easily and fully than we do, for our life in cities, which deafens or kills the passive meditative life, and our education that enlarges the separated, self-moving mind, have made our souls less sensitive.

What can books of men that wive?

Whatever flames upon the night Man's own resinous heart has fed.

Where are now the warring kings?

Who are but weasels fighting in a hole.

Why, what could she have done, being what she is? Was there another Troy for her to burn?

Word be-mockers??By the Rood.

Your head a while seemed like a woman?s head.

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.

That fancied goodness might be gay.

That you call in birds, in wind on the hill.

The desire that is satisfied is not a great desire, nor has the shoulder used all its might that an unbreakable gate has never strained.

The Mask "Put off that mask of burning gold with emerald eyes." "O no, my dear, you make so bold to find if hearts be wild and wise, And yet not cold." "I would but find what's there to find, Love or deceit." "It was the mask engaged your mind, and after set your heart to beat, Not what's behind." "But lest you are my enemy, I must enquire." "O no, my dear, let all that be, what matter, so there is but fire In you, in me?"

The soul of man is of the imperishable substance of the stars!

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

There are some doubters even in the western villages. One woman told me last Christmas that she did not believe either in hell or in ghosts. Hell she thought was merely an invention got up by the priest to keep people good; and ghosts would not be permitted, she held, to go 'trapsin about the earth' at their own free will; 'but there are faeries,' she added, 'and little leprechauns, and water-horses, and fallen angels.' I have met also a man with a Mohawk Indian tattooed upon his arm, who held exactly similar beliefs and unbeliefs. No matter what one doubts one never doubts the faeries, for, as the man with the Mohawk Indian on his arm said to me, 'they stand to reason.' Even the official mind does not escape this faith. (Reason and Unreason)

Thinks in a marrow-bone.

Till they come where your sad, sad .

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright