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(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939 / County Dublin / Ireland)

Quotations

  • ''Eyes spiritualised by death can judge,
    I cannot, but I am not content.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "Are You Content?"
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  • ''O cloud-pale eyelids, dream-dimmed eyes,
    The poets labouring all their days
    To build a perfect beauty in rhyme
    Are overthrown by a woman's gaze....''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "He Tells of the Perfect Beauty."
  • ''"Old lovers yet may have
    All that time denied
    Grave is heaped on grave
    That they be satisfied
    Over the blackened earth
    The old troops parade...."''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "Mohini Chatterjee."
  • '''I have cap and bells,' he pondered,
    'I will send them to her and die';
    And when the morning whitened
    He left them where she went by.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet. The Cap and Bells (l. 21-24). . . The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats. Richard J. Finneran, ed. (1989) Macmillan.
  • ''Pale brows, still hands and dim hair,
    I had a beautiful friend
    And dreamed that the old despair
    Would end in love in the end....''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "The Lover Mourns for the Loss of Love."
  • ''We are closed in, and the key is turned
    On our uncertainty;''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet. The Stare's Nest by My Window (l. 6-7). . . The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats. Richard J. Finneran, ed. (1989) Macmillan.
  • ''A speckled cat and a tame hare
    Eat at my hearthstone
    And sleep there;
    And both look up to me alone
    For learning and defence
    As I look up to Providence.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "Two Songs of a Fool."
  • ''I call on those that call me son,
    Grandson, or great-grandson,
    On uncles, aunts, great-uncles or great-aunts
    To judge what I have done.
    Have I, that put it into words,
    Spoilt what old loins have sent?''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "Are You Content?"
  • ''I have drunk ale from the Country of the Young
    And weep because I know all things now:
    I have been a hazel-tree, and they hung
    The Pilot Star and the Crooked Plough
    Among my leaves in times out of mind....''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "He Thinks of His Past Greatness When a Part of the Constellations of Heaven."
  • ''O never give the heart outright,
    For they, for all smooth lips can say,
    Have given their hearts up to the play.
    And who could play it well enough
    If deaf and dumb and blind with love?''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "Never Give All the Heart."

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The White Birds

I WOULD that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea!
We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can fade and flee;
And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky,
Has awaked in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that may not die.
A weariness comes from those dreamers, dew-dabbled, the lily and rose;
Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes,
Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in the fall of the dew:

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