William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

You think it horrible that lust and rage should dance attention upon my old age; they were not such a plague when I was young; what else have I to spur me into song?

Test every work of intellect or faith, and everything that your own hands have wrought and call those works extravagance of breath that are not suited for such men as come proud, open-eyed and laughing to the tomb.

That swineherd stared upon her face and said,

The Cat and the Moon - The cat went here and there and the moon spun round like a top, and the nearest kin of the moon, the creeping cat, looked up. Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon, for, wander and wail as he would, the pure cold light in the sky troubled his animal blood. Minnaloushe runs in the grass lifting his delicate feet. Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance? When two close kindred meet, what better than call a dance? Maybe the moon may learn, tired of that courtly fashion, a new dance turn. Minnaloushe creeps through the grass from moonlit place to place, the sacred moon overhead has taken a new phase. Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils will pass from change to change, and that from round to crescent, from crescent to round they range? Minnaloushe creeps through the grass alone, important and wise, and lifts to the changing moon his changing eyes.

The kings of the old time are dead.

The Red Branch camp in a great company.

The whirling ways of stars that pass.

Then he struggled with the mind; his proud heart he left behind. Now his wars on God begin; at stroke of midnight God shall win.

They never saw how seasons run.

Though the great song return no more.

To leave some monument behind.

Under bare Ben Bulben's head In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.

We and the laboring world are passing by: amid men's souls, that waver and give place like the pale waters in their wintry race, under the passing stars, foam of the sky, lives on this lonely face.

We taste and feel and see the truth. We do not reason ourselves into it.

What shall I do with this absurdity- O heart, O troubled heart-this caricature, decrepit age that has been tied to me as to a dog's tail? Never had I more excited, passionate, fantastical Imagination, nor an ear and eye that more expected the impossible.

When we bent down above the fading coals.

While still I may, I write for you.

Why should I blame her that she filled my days.

With misery, or that she would of late

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep.

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.

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First Name
William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright