Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Butler Yeats

Irish Poet, Playwright

"But wherefore now?"

"But yesternight declare?"

"By the sweet name of Death."

"Can leave the mother, murdered at her door."

"But you have grown to be the taller man."

"By the stammering schoolboy said?"

"But what is Whiggery? A leveling, rancorous, rational sort of mind that never looked out of the eye of a saint or out of a drunkard's eye."

"By the Hospital Lane goes the 'Faeries Path.' Every evening they travel from the hill to the sea, from the sea to the hill. At the sea end of their path stands a cottage. One night Mrs. Arbunathy, who lived there, left her door open, as she was expecting her son. Her husband was asleep by the fire; a tall man came in and sat beside him. After he had been sitting there for a while, the woman said, 'In the name of God, who are you?' He got up and went out, saying, 'Never leave the door open at this hour, or evil may come to you.' She woke her husband and told him. 'One of the good people has been with us,' said he."

"By the lone border of the lake once more."

"Cast a cold eye on life, on death Horseman pass by."

"Can you prove that he was lying?"

"Chance and Destiny have between them woven two-thirds of all history, and of the history of Ireland well-nigh the whole. The literature of a nation, on the other hand, is spun out of its heart. If you would know Ireland - body and soul - you must read its poems and stories. They came into existence to please nobody but the people of Ireland. Government did not make them on the one hand, nor bad seasons on the other. They are Ireland talking to herself."

"Choose your companions from the best; who draws a bucket with the rest soon topples down the hill."

"Cast your mind on other days that we in coming days may be still the indomitable Irishry."

"Changed all he sang to inarticulate moan."

"Caught in that sensual music all neglect."

"Children play at being great and wonderful people, at the ambitions they will put away for one reason or another before they grow into ordinary men and women. Mankind as a whole had a like dream once; everybody and nobody built up the dream bit by bit, and the ancient story-tellers are there to make us remember what mankind would have been like, had not fear and the failing will and the laws of nature tripped up its heels. The Fianna and their like are themselves so full of power, and they are set in a world so fluctuating and dream-like, that nothing can hold them from being all that the heart desires."

"Chant in his ear delusions magical."

"Chimney corner, garden walk,"

"Come clear of the nets of wrong and right."

"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."

"Come fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!"

"Come let us mock at the great that had such burdens on the mind and toiled so hard and late to leave some monument behind, nor thought of the leveling wind."

"Come let us mock at the good that fancied goodness might be gay, and sick of solitude might proclaim a holiday: wind shrieked? and where are they?"

"Come play with me."

"Come near, come near, come near ? Ah, leave me still a little space for the rose-breath to fill! Lest I no more hear common things that crave; the weak worm hiding down in its small cave, the field-mouse running by me in the grass, and heavy mortal hopes that toil and pass; but seek alone to hear the strange things said by God to the bright hearts of those long dead, And learn to chant a tongue men do not know. Come near; I would, before my time to go, Sing of old Eire and the ancient ways: Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days."

"Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill."

"Consume my heart away; sick with desire and fastened to a dying animal it knows not what it is; and gather me into the artifice of eternity."

"Come let us mock at the wise; with all those calendars whereon they fixed old aching eyes, they never saw how seasons run, and now but gape at the sun."

"Coming with vivid faces."

"Come near, that no more blinded by man?s fate, I find under the boughs of love and hate, in all poor foolish things that live a day, eternal beauty wandering on her way."

"Could but compose man's image and his cry."

"Cuchulain cried, ?I am the only man.?"

"Cuchulain?s fight with the sea."

"Cuchulain I, mighty Cuchulains son."

"Could love you for yourself alone."

"Dance there upon the shore;."

"Dew ever shining and twilight gray."

"Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking."

"Designs in connection with postage stamps and coinage may be described, I think, as the silent ambassadors on national taste."

"Do, but awake a hope to live."

"Does the imagination dwell the most upon a woman won or woman lost?"

"Doomed like Odysseus and the laboring ships."

"Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet; she passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet. She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree; but I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree. In a field by the river my love and I did stand, and on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand. She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs; but I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears."

"Down the mountain walls from where pan?s cavern is intolerable music falls. Foul goat-head, brutal arm appear, belly, shoulder, bum, flash fishlike; nymphs and satyrs copulate in the foam."

"Dream, dream, for this is also sooth. How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true, but one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face."

"Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings."

"Dreading and hoping all."

"Dream, like a shadow of a shadow, and I knew by an understanding born from a deeper fountain than thought."

"Dying into a dance."