Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Butler Yeats

Irish Poet, Playwright

"if but imagination scorn the earth and intellect is wandering to this and that and t'other thing, deliver from the crime of death and birth."

"If i had the heavens embroidered cloths enwrought with golden and silvery light i would lay the cloths under your feet, but I being poor have only my dreams, I lay my dreams under your feet. Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams."

"if one writes one can do nothing else."

"If I make the lashes dark and the eyes more bright and the lips more scarlet, or ask if all be right from mirror after mirror, no vanity's displayed: I'm looking for the face I had before the world was made."

"If there's no hatred in a mind Assault and battery of the wind can never tear the linnet from the leaf."

"If soul my look and body touch, which is the more blest?"

"Ignorant and wanton as the dawn."

"If what I say resonates with you, it is simply because we are both branches of the same tree."

"If suffering brings wisdom, I would wish to be less wise."

"I'm looking for the face I had, before the world was made."

"I'm poor, but I do not have is my dreams."

"In a dragon-guarded land."

"Imagining in excited reverie that the future years had come, dancing to a frenzied drum, out of the murderous innocence of the sea."

"In balance with this life, this death."

"In bosom and hair."

"In clanging space a moment heard."

"In courtesy I?d have her chiefly learned; hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned by those that are not entirely beautiful; yet many, that have played the fool for beauty?s very self, has charm made wise. And many a poor man that has roved, loved and thought himself beloved, from a glad kindness cannot take his eyes."

"In difficult practiced valor."

"In life courtesy and self-possession, and in the arts style, are the sensible impressions of the free mind, for both arise out of a deliberate shaping of all things and from never being swept away, whatever the emotion into confusion or dullness."

"In shaken boughs, in tide on the shore?"

"In dreary dancing past us whirled."

"In the great cities we see so little of the world, we drift into our minority. In the little towns and villages there are no minorities; people are not numerous enough. You must see the world there, perforce. Every man is himself a class; every hour carries its new challenge. When you pass the inn at the end of the village you leave your favorite whimsy behind you; for you will meet no one who can share it. We listen to eloquent speaking, read books and write them, settle all the affairs of the universe. The dumb village multitudes pass on unchanging; the feel of the spade in the hand is no different for all our talk: good seasons and bad follow each other as of old. The dumb multitudes are no more concerned with us than is the old horse peering through the rusty gate of the village pound. The ancient map-makers wrote across unexplored regions, 'Here are lions.' Across the villages of fishermen and turners of the earth, so different are these from us, we can write but one line that is certain, 'Here are ghosts.'"

"In one another's arms, birds in the trees."

"In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones."

"In the mind alone."

"In tombs of gold and lapis lazuli bodies of holy men and women exude miraculous oil, odor of violet. But under heavy loads of trampled clay lie bodies of the vampires full of blood; their shrouds are bloody and their lips are wet (Oil and Blood)."

"In this blind bitter land."

"Irish poets, earn your trade, sing whatever is well made, scorn the sort now growing up all out of shape from toe to top, their unremembering hearts and heads base-born products of base beds."

"Is it not certain that the Creator yawns in earthquake and thunder and other popular displays, but toils in rounding the delicate spiral of a shell?"

"In vain her arms, in vain her soft white breast."

"It had become a glimmering girl."

"It is a hard service they take that help me. Many that are red-cheeked now will be pale-cheeked; many that have been free to walk the hills and the bogs and the rushes will be sent to walk hard streets in far countries; many a good plan will be broken; many that have gathered money will not stay to spend it; many a child will be born, and there will be no father at its christening to give it a name. They that had red cheeks will have pale cheeks for my sake; and for all that, they will think they are well paid."

"Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!""

"It is most important that we should keep in this country a certain leisured class. I am of the opinion of the ancient Jewish book which says ''there is no wisdom without leisure.''"

"It is love that I am seeking for, but of a beautiful, unheard-of kind that is not in the world."

"It is not permitted to a man, who takes up pen or chisel, to seek originality, for passion is his only business, and he cannot but mold or sing after a new fashion because no disaster is like another."

"It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield"

"It is so many years before one can believe enough in what one feels even to know what the feeling is."

"It was a profound understanding of all creatures and things, a profound sympathy with passionate and lost souls, made possible in their extreme intensity by his revolt against corporeal law, and corporeal reason, which made Blake the one perfectly fit illustrator for the Inferno and the Purgatorio."

"It was the dream itself enchanted me: character isolated by a deed to engross the present and dominate memory. Players and painted stage took all my love, and not those things that they were emblems of."

"It's a long lane that has no turning."

"It's certain that fine women eat a crazy salad with their meat."

"It?s certain there is no fine thing since Adam?s fall but needs much laboring. There have been lovers who thought love should be so much compounded of high courtesy that they would sigh and quote with learned looks precedents out of beautiful old books; yet now it seems an idle trade enough."

"It's certain there is no fine thing since Adam's fall but needs much laboring."

"It?s certain that fine women eat a crazy salad with their meat whereby the Horn of plenty is undone."

"Jealousy, sudden hatred, and unappeasable desire; but unveiled love he never knows."

"Jonathan Swift made a soul for the gentlemen of this city by hating his neighbor as himself."

"Joy is of the will which labors, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph."

"John Synge, I and Augusta Gregory, thought All that we did, all that we said or sang Must come from contact with the soil, from that Contact everything Antaeus-like grew strong."

"Jerome. That is a terribly wild thought. I hope you don't believe all you say. Paul Ruttledge. Perhaps not. I only know that I want to upset everything about me. Have you not noticed that it is a complaint many of us have in this country? And whether it comes from love or hate I don't know, they are so mixed together here."