William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

Talent perceives differences; genius, unity.

That nobleness made simple as a fire,

The cars of battle and his own name cried.

The Irishman sustains himself during brief periods of joy by the knowledge that tragedy is just around the corner.

The Realists hope that you may understand! what can books of men that wive in a dragon-guarded land, paintings of the dolphin-drawn Sea-nymphs in their pearly waggons do, but awake a hope to live that had gone with the dragons?

The wandering earth herself may be?

Then he sang softly nigh the pearly rim.

They must go out of the theatre with the strength they live by strengthened from looking upon some passion that could, whatever its chosen way of life, strike down an enemy, fill a long stocking with money or move a girl's heart.

Though leaves are many, the root is one; through all the lying days of my youth I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun; now I may wither into the truth.

To know they dreamed and are dead.

Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves.

We and the laboring world are passing by,

We sat grown quiet at the name of love; we saw the last embers of daylight die, and in the trembling blue-green of the sky a moon, worn as if it had been a shell washed by time's waters as they rose and fell about the stars and broke in days and years. I had a thought for no one's but your ears: that you were beautiful, and that I strove to love you in the old high way of love; that it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown as weary-hearted as that hollow moon.

What shall I do for pretty girls now my old bawd is dead?

When they had finished they made me take notes of whatever conversation they had quoted, so that I might have the exact words, and got up to go, and when I asked them where they were going and what they were doing and by what names I should call them, they would tell me nothing, except that they had been commanded to travel over Ireland continually, and upon foot and at night, that they might live close to the stones and the trees and at the hours when the immortals are awake.

While I, that reed-throated whisperer who comes at need, although not now as once a clear articulation in the air, but inwardly, surmise companions beyond the fling of the dull ass?s hoof ?Ben Jonson?s phrase?and find when June is come At Kyle-na-no under that ancient roof a sterner conscience and a friendlier home, I can forgive even that wrong of wrongs, those undreamt accidents that have made me ?seeing that fame has perished that long while, being but a part of ancient ceremony? notorious, till all my priceless things are but a post the passing dogs defile.

Why must you blench and shake from foot to crown?

With his own fingers touched the brazen strings.

You that would judge me, do not judge alone this book or that, come to this allowed place where my friends' portraits hang and look thereon; Ireland's history in their lineaments trace; think where man's glory most begins and ends and say my glory was I had such friends.

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.

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright