William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

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.

This melancholy London -- I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air.

To crawl in her own blood, and go scott-free;

Tradition gives the one thing many shapes.

Upon the web-heaped floor, and cried his word.

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.

What is this flesh I purchased with my pains?

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney, folk dance like a wave of the sea.

Whether they knew or not, Goldsmith and Burke, Swift and the Bishop of Cloyne all hated Whiggery; but what is Whiggery? A levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind that never looked out of the eye of a saint or out of drunkard?s eye.

Who loves you, no white arms to wrap you round.

With all those calendars whereon.

You dare me to my face, and thereupon.

Sufficient money for his need.

That he may fight the horses of the sea.

The body is not bruised to pleasure soul.

The fool?s triumph, nor yet?

The official designs of the Government, especially its designs in connection with postage stamps and coinage, may be described, I think, as the silent ambassadors of national taste.

The trees are in their autumn beauty, the woodland paths are dry, under the October twilight the water mirrors a still sky.

Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes, their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay. If soul may look and body touch, which is the more blest?

There was present that night at Henley's, by right of propinquity or of accident, a man full of the secret spite of dullness, who interrupted from time to time and always to check or disorder thought.

This other man I had dreamed a drunken, vain-glorious lout. He had done most bitter wrong to some who are near my heart, yet I number him in the song; he, too, has resigned his part in the casual comedy; he, too, has been changed in his turn, transformed utterly: a terrible beauty is born.

To Emer, raddling raiment in her dun.

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright