William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

Stared on the mournful wonder of his eyes.

That had so straight a back.

The banshee (from ban [bean, a woman, and shee [sidhe], a fairy) is an attendant fairy that follows the old families, and none but them, and wails before a death.

The Druids took them to their mystery.

The moths are when they are burned.

The terror of all terrors that I bore.

The years like great black oxen tread the world, and God the herdsman treads them on behind, and I am broken by their passing feet.

There is no truth saving in thine own heart.

This fallen star my milk sustains.

To be born woman is to know -- although they do not speak of it at school -- women must labor to be beautiful.

Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart. Oh, when may it suffice?

Upon love's bitter mystery.

We have lit upon the gentle, sensitive mind and lost the old nonchalance of the hand; whether we have chosen chisel, pen or brush, we are but critics, or but half create, Timid, entangled, empty and abashed, lacking the countenance of our friends.

What hurts the soul?

When all is said and done, how do we know but that our own unreason may be better than another's truth? For it has been warmed on our hearths and in our souls, and is ready for the wild bees of truth to hive in it, and make their sweet honey.

Where dips the rocky highland of Sleuth Wood in the lake, there lies a leafy island where flapping herons wake the drowsy water rats; there we've hid our faery vats, full of berries and of reddest stolen cherries. Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild with a faery, hand in hand, for the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream? For these red lips, with all their mournful pride, mournful that no new wonder may betide, Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam, and Usna's children died.

Wings beating about the room.

World has ever known what love is, or looked into his eyes, for Eros alone of divinities is altogether a spirit.

Storm darkened or starry bright.

That had such burdens on the mind.

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.

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright