William Butler Yeats

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

William Butler Yeats Quotes

  • ''We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. "Anima Hominis," sct. 5, Essays (1924).
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  • ''Englishmen are babes in philosophy and so prefer faction-fighting to the labour of its unfamiliar thought.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. Letter, March 24, 1927. The Letters of W.B. Yeats, ed. Allan Wade (1954).
  • ''I agree about Shaw—he is haunted by the mystery he flouts. He is an atheist who trembles in the haunted corridor.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. Letter, July 1, 1921, to author George Russell. The Letters of W.B. Yeats, ed. Allan Wade (1954). Yeats expressed ambiguous views toward Shaw in his Autobiography (1938): "We all hated him with the left side of our heads, while admiring him immensely with the right side."
  • ''Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, playwright. letter, Jan. 4, 1939. The Letters of W.B. Yeats, ed. Allan Wade (1954). Yeats died Jan. 28, 1939.
  • ''I am of a healthy long lived race, and our minds improve with age.''
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet. Letter, June 24, 1935. The Letters of W.B. Yeats, ed. Allan Wade (1954).

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Best Poem of William Butler Yeats

When You Are Old

WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
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;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Read the full of When You Are Old

Consolation

O but there is wisdom
In what the sages said;
But stretch that body for a while
And lay down that head
Till I have told the sages
Where man is comforted.

How could passion run so deep
Had I never thought
That the crime of being born
Blackens all our lot?
But where the crime's committed
The crime can be forgot.

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