William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write. . . . I have always considered myself a voice of what I believe to be a greater renaissance - the revolt of the soul against the intellect.

The things a man has heard and seen are threads of life, and if he pull them carefully from the confused distaff of memory, any who will can weave them into whatever garments of belief please them best. I too have woven my garment like another, but I shall try to keep warm in it, and shall be well content if it do not unbecome me.

The years to come seemed waste of breath.

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, and evening full of the linnet's wings.

This love that makes my heart's blood stop.

To be choked with hate may well be of all evil chances chief. If there?s no hatred in a mind assault and battery of the wind can never tear the linnet from the leaf.

Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold.

Upon the brimming water among the stones are nine-and-fifty swans.

We know their dream; enough.

What is literature but the expression of moods by the vehicle of symbol and incident? And are there not moods which need heaven, hell, purgatory, and faeryland for their expression, no less than this dilapidated earth? Nay, are there not moods which shall find no expression unless there be men who dare to mix heaven, hell, purgatory, and faeryland together, or even to set the heads of beasts to the bodies of men, or to thrust the souls of men into the heart of rocks? Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet.

When have I last looked on the round green eyes and the long wavering bodies of the dark leopards of the moon? All the wild witches, those most noble ladies, for all their broom-sticks and their tears, their angry tears, are gone.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses the dim gray sands with light, far off by furthest Rosses we foot it all the night, weaving olden dances, mingling hands and mingling glances till the moon has taken flight; to and fro we leap and chase the frothy bubbles, while the world is full of troubles and is anxious in its sleep.

Who follow with the optic glass?

With a faery, hand in hand.

Yet somewhere under starlight or the sun.

Suffer as your mother suffered.

That he had found a text to prove.

The blessed spirits must be sought within the self which is common to all.

The fascination of what's difficult has dried the sap out of my veins, and rent spontaneous joy and natural content out of my heart. There's something ails our colt that must, as if it had not holy blood Nor on Olympus leaped from cloud to cloud, shiver under the lash, strain, sweat and jolt as though it dragged road-metal. my curse on plays that have to be set up in fifty ways, On the day's war with every knave and dolt, Theatre business, management of men. I swear before the dawn comes round again I'll find the stable and pull out the bolt.

The night can sweat with terror as before we pieced our thoughts into philosophy, and planned to bring the world under a rule, who are but weasels fighting in a hole. But is there any comfort to be found? Man is in love and loves what vanishes, what more is there to say?

The threefold terror of love; a fallen flare.

Their chief occupations are feasting, fighting, and making love, and playing the most beautiful music. They have only one industrious person amongst them, the lepra-caun?the shoemaker.

There was a man whom sorrow named his friend, and he, of his high comrade sorrow dreaming, went walking with slow steps along the gleaming and humming sands, where windy surges wend: and he called loudly to the stars to bend from their pale thrones and comfort him, but they among themselves laugh on and sing always: and then the man whom sorrow named his friend cried out, dim sea, hear my most piteous story! The sea swept on and cried her old cry still, rolling along in dreams from hill to hill. He fled the persecution of her glory and, in a far-off, gentle valley stopping, cried all his story to the dewdrops glistening. But naught they heard, for they are always listening, the dewdrops, for the sound of their own dropping. And then the man whom sorrow named his friend sought once again the shore, and found a shell, and thought, i will my heavy story tell till my own words, re-echoing, shall send their sadness through a hollow, pearly heart; and my own talc again for me shall sing, and my own whispering words be comforting, and lo! My ancient burden may depart. Then he sang softly nigh the pearly rim; but the sad dweller by the sea-ways lone changed all he sang to inarticulate moan among her wildering whirls, forgetting him.

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright