William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

That beautiful mild woman for whose sake there's many a one shall find out all heartache on finding that her voice is sweet and low replied, 'To be born a woman is to know-although they do not talk of it at school -that we must labor to be beautiful.

That the salt drops have wet.

The Celt, and his cromlechs, and his pillar-stones, these will not change much ? indeed, it is doubtful if anybody at all changes at any time. In spite of hosts of deniers, and asserters, and wise-men, and professors, the majority still are adverse to sitting down to dine thirteen at a table, or being helped to salt, or walking under a ladder, of seeing a single magpie flirting his chequered tale. There are, of course, children of light who have set their faces against all this, although even a newspaperman, if you entice him into a cemetery at midnight, will believe in phantoms, for everyone is a visionary, if you scratch him deep enough. But the Celt, unlike any other, is a visionary without scratching.

The land of fairy, where nobody gets old and godly and grave, where nobody gets old and crafty and wise, where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue.

The rose of the world.

The whole summer will praise choruses earth.

Then nowise worship dusty deeds.

They say such different things at school.

Through the hollow of an ear.

To sit beside the board and drink good wine and watch the turf smoke coiling from the fire and feel content and wisdom in your heart, this is the best of life; when we are young we long to tread a way none trod before, but find the excellent old way through love and through the care of children to the hour forbidding Fate and Time and Change goodbye.

Under the passing stars, foam of the sky.

We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.

Weaving olden dances; mingling hands and mingling glances.

What were all the world?s alarms to mighty Paris when he found sleep upon a golden bed that first dawn in Helen?s arms?

When you are old and gray and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, take down this book, and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; how many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true, but one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face. And bending down beside the glowing bars, murmur, a little sadly, how love fled and paced upon the mountains overhead and hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Whirls in the old instead.

Why should we honor those that die upon the field of battle? A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself.

with some appropriate commentary on each; until imagination brought a fitter welcome; but a thought of that late death took all my heart for speech.

Your eyes that once were never weary of mine.

That cannot be assailed for reassurance?

That toil of growing up; the ignominy of boyhood; the distress of boyhood changing into man; the unfinished man and his pain.

The creations of a great writer are little more than the moods and passions of his own heart, given surnames and Christian names, and sent to walk the earth.

The line of Nature is crooked... though we dig the canal beds as straight as we can, the rivers run hither and thither in their wildness.

The salmon?falls, the mackerel?crowded seas.

The woods of Arcady are dead, and over is their antique joy; of old the world on dreaming fed; Grey Truth is now her painted toy; yet still she turns her restless head.

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright