William Butler Yeats

[W.B. Yeats] (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939 / County Dublin / Ireland)

William Butler Yeats Quotes

  • ''Designs in connection with postage stamps and coinage may be described, I think, as the silent ambassadors on national taste.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. Speech, March 3, 1926, to the Seanad Eireann, the Irish Senate, on the coinage bill.
    155 person liked.
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  • ''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."''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. Speech, March 28, 1923, to the Seanad Eireann, the Irish Senate.
    126 person liked.
    80 person did not like.
  • ''I think you can leave the arts, superior or inferior, to the conscience of mankind.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. Speech, June 7, 1923, to the Irish Senate. On the Censorship of Films Bill.
    125 person liked.
    77 person did not like.
  • ''I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all ... like an opera.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. letter, Aug. 25, 1888, to writer Katherine Tynan (later Hinkson). The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats, vol. 1, ed. John Kelly (1986).
    103 person liked.
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  • ''I hate journalists. There is nothing in them but tittering jeering emptiness. They have all made what Dante calls the Great Refusal.... The shallowest people on the ridge of the earth.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. letter, Aug. 30, 1888, to writer Katharine Tynan. The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats, vol. 1, ed. John Kelly (1986).
    138 person liked.
    69 person did not like.
  • ''"... Let the cage bird and the cage bird mate and the wild bird mate in the wild."''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "Owen Aherne and His Dancers."
    19 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • ''Words are always getting conventionalized to some secondary meaning. It is one of the works of poetry to take the truants in custody and bring them back to their right senses.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. letter, Feb. 3, 1889. Collected Letters, vol. 1, ed. John Kelly (1986). "Poets are the policemen of language," Yeats added, "they are always arresting those old reprobates the words."
    17 person liked.
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  • ''The only business of the head in the world is to bow a ceaseless obeisance to the heart.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. Letter, late summer 1886. Collected Letters, vol. 1, ed. John Kelly (1986). "I hate reasonable people," Yeats wrote, explaining his dislike for the novelist George Eliot, "the activity of their brains sucks up all the blood out of their hearts."
    13 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • ''This melancholy London—I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet. Letter, August 25, 1888, to writer Katharine Tynan (later Hinkson). Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats, vol. 1, ed. John Kelly (1986).
    12 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • ''But was there ever dog that praised his fleas?''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "To a Poet, Who Would Have Me Praise Certain Bad Poets, Imitators of His and Mine."
    12 person liked.
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Best Poem of William Butler Yeats

A Crazed Girl

THAT crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea.'

Read the full of A Crazed Girl

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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