William Butler Yeats

William Butler

Irish Poet, Playwright

Author Quotes

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.

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 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 Walt Whitman writes in seeming defiance of tradition, he needs tradition for his protection, for the butcher and the baker and the candlestick-maker grow merry over him when they meet his work by chance.

While slowly he whose hand held hers replied.

Why should I blame her that she filled my days with misery, or that she would of late have taught to ignorant men most violent ways, or hurled the little streets upon the great, had they but courage equal to desire? What could have made her peaceful with a mind that nobleness made simple as a fire, with beauty like a tightened bow, a kind that is not natural in an age like this, being high and solitary and most stern? Why, what could she have done, being what she is? Was there another Troy for her to burn?

With mirthful songs before the dawn.

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?

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William Butler
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Irish Poet, Playwright