Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

278 Inspiring Quotes by William Butler Yeats

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by William Butler Yeats.

Wikipedia Summary for W. B. Yeats

William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet, dramatist, prose writer and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served two terms as a Senator of the Irish Free State. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others.

Yeats was born in Sandymount, Ireland, and educated there and in London. He was a Protestant and member of the Anglo-Irish community. He spent childhood holidays in County Sligo and studied poetry from an early age, when he became fascinated by Irish legends and the occult. These topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the 20th century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and its slow-paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the poets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 1900, his poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

foggy mountains

Earth in beauty dressed
Awaits returning spring.
All true love must die,
Alter at the best
Into some lesser thing.
Prove that I lie.

--W. B. Yeats

man in black jacket and pants jumping on white rock

A pity beyond all telling is hid in the heart of love.

--W. B. Yeats

tree frog

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.

--W. B. Yeats


blue and white water surface

I had this thought a while ago,
"My darling cannot understand
What I have done, or what would do
In this blind bitter land."
And I grew weary of the sun.

--W. B. Yeats

silver round analog wall clock

All through the years of our youth
Neither could have known
Their own thought from the other's,
We were so much at one.

--W. B. Yeats

group of camels walking on desert lake at daytime

Time drops in decay Like a candle burnt out. And the mountains and woods Have their day, have their day; But, kindly old rout Of the fire-born moods, You pass not away.

--W. B. Yeats

black mountain under blue sky during night time

Imagining in excited reverie That the future years had come, Dancing to a frenzied drum, Out of the murderous innocence of the sea.

--W. B. Yeats

snowflake

The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.

--W. B. Yeats

calm body of water near alp mountains during nighttime

I have no question: It is enough, I know what fixed the station Of star and cloud. And knowing all, I cry..

--W. B. Yeats

aerial shot of road surrounded by green trees

Everything that man esteems Endures a moment or a day.

--W. B. Yeats

person holding white ceramic cup with liquid

For to articulate sweet sounds together Is to work harder than all these, and yet Be thought an idler by the noisy set Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen The martyrs call the world.

--W. B. Yeats

man in white shirt and black pants standing on brown rocky mountain during daytime

I have grown to believe that there is no dangerous idea, which does not become less dangerous when written out in sincere and careful English.

--W. B. Yeats

blue sky and white clouds

We have fallen in the dreams the ever-living Breathe on the tarnished mirror of the world, And then smooth out with ivory hands and sigh.

--W. B. Yeats



brown mountain under starry sky

Now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

--W. B. Yeats

sunset

Man has created death.

--W. B. Yeats

photography of starry sky

Talent perceives differences; genius, unity.

--W. B. Yeats

people walking on hallway

Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold.

--W. B. Yeats



pavement surrounded with dried leaves

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

--W. B. Yeats

brown rock formation

I think you can leave the arts, superior or inferior, to the conscience of mankind.

--W. B. Yeats


white and blue ice on water

We had fed the heart on fantasies, The heart's grown brutal from the fare, More substance in our enmities Than in our love.

--W. B. Yeats



black and white abstract illustration

All that could run or leap or swim
Whether in wood, water or cloud,
Acclaiming, proclaiming, declaiming Him.

--W. B. Yeats

depth photography of purple petaled flowers

All dreams of the soul
End in a beautiful man's or woman's body.

--W. B. Yeats

blue and white abstract painting

I dreamed that I stood in a valley, and amid sighs,
For happy lovers passed two by two where I stood;
And I dreamed my lost love came stealthily out of the wood
With her cloud-pale eyelids falling on dream-dimmed eyes.

--W. B. Yeats

person holding white and yellow flower painting

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

--W. B. Yeats

selective focus photography of black and white bird on stem

Some moralist or mythological poet
Compares the solitary soul to a swan;
I am satisfied with that,
Satisfied if a troubled mirror show it,
Before that brief gleam of its life be gone.

--W. B. Yeats


black and white abstract illustration

Hearts with one purpose alone Through summer and winter seem Enchanted to a stone To trouble the living stream.

--W. B. Yeats

green trees near lake under cloudy sky during daytime

Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution.

--W. B. Yeats


None

While they danced they came over them the weariness with the world, the melancholy, the pity one for the other, which is the exultation of love.

--W. B. Yeats

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought, our stitching and unstitching has been naught.

--W. B. Yeats


white wooden dock on white sand

I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere among the clouds above; those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.

--W. B. Yeats

brown and gray floral textile

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make.

--W. B. Yeats

person sitting on black surface looking to sky

The soul of man is of the imperishable substance of the stars!

--W. B. Yeats

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point at Utah

There where the course is,
Delight makes all of the one mind,
The riders upon the galloping horses,
The crowd that closes in behind.

--W. B. Yeats


galaxy wallpaper

My curse on plays
That have to be set up in fifty ways,
On the day's war with every knave and dolt,
Theater business, management of men.

--W. B. Yeats

white pendant lamp

O heart, be at peace, because
Nor knave nor dolt can break
What's not for their applause,
Being for a woman's sake.

--W. B. Yeats

photo of mountains

There are a few of the open-air spirits; the more domestic of their tribe gather within-doors, plentiful as swallows under southern eaves.

--W. B. Yeats

white petaled flower

His element is so fine
Being sharpened by his death,
To drink from the wine-breath
While our gross palates drink from the whole wine.

--W. B. Yeats


white clouds and blue sky during daytime

Let the new faces play what tricks they will
In the old rooms; night can outbalance day,
Our shadows rove the garden gravel still,
The living seem more shadowy than they.

--W. B. Yeats

blue sky

Accursed who brings to light of day the writings I have cast away.

--W. B. Yeats

green leaf in close up photography

For how can you compete Being honour bred, with one Who, were it proved he lies, Were neither shamed in his own Nor in his neighbour's eyes?

--W. B. Yeats

white petaled flower

I cast my heart into my rhymes,
That you, in the dim coming times,
May know how my heart went with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.

--W. B. Yeats

brown and white butterfly on purple petaled flower

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

--W. B. Yeats

purple textile in close up photography

Great Powers of falling wave and wind and windy fire,
With your harmonious choir
Encircle her I love and sing her into peace,
That my old care may cease.

--W. B. Yeats

A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

Irish poets, learn your trade, sing whatever is well made, scorn the sort now growing up all out of shape from toe to top.

--W. B. Yeats

woman carrying baby while walking

The creations of a great writer are little more than the moods and passions of his own heart, given surnames and Christian names, and sent to walk the earth.

--W. B. Yeats

brown and white dog in close-up photography

Nothing in them but tittering jeering emptiness.

--W. B. Yeats

brown rock formation on body of water during daytime

Those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.

--W. B. Yeats


purple and green light digital wallpaper

Because this age and the next age
Engender in the ditch,
No man can know a happy man
From any passing wretch,
If Folly link with Elegance
No man knows which is which.

--W. B. Yeats

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

--W. B. Yeats

black and white abstract illustration

The true poet is all the time a visionary and whether with friends or not, as much alone as a man on his death bed.

--W. B. Yeats

silhouette photo of mountain during night time

All the wild-witches, those most notable ladies For all their broom-sticks and their tears, Their angry tears, are gone.

--W. B. Yeats

green trees on brown dried leaves during daytime

Test every work of intellect or faith and everything that your own hands have wrought.

--W. B. Yeats

Longer Version:

Test every work of intellect or faith, And everything that your own hands have wrought And call those works extravagance of breath That are not suited for such men as come Proud, open-eyed and laughing to the tomb.



full moon during day

People are responsible for their opinions, but Providence is responsible for their morals.

--W. B. Yeats

palm tree under orange sky

It's certain there are trout somewhere -- And maybe I shall take a trout -- but I do not seem to care.

--W. B. Yeats

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

There's keen delight in what we have:
The rattle of pebbles on the shore
Under the receding wave.

--W. B. Yeats

sunset

O what fine thought we had because we thought that the worst rogues and rascals had died out.

--W. B. Yeats

None

I thought it out this very day,
Noon upon the clock,
A man may put pretence away
Who leans upon a stick,
May sing, and sing until he drop,
Whether to maid or hag.

--W. B. Yeats

castle surrounded fog

For he would be thinking of love Till the stars had run away And the shadows eaten the moon.

--W. B. Yeats

gray and white concrete floor

Even the wisest man grows tense
With some sort of violence
Before he can accomplish fate,
Know his work or choose his mate.
Poet and sculptor, do the work,
Nor let the modish painter shirk.

--W. B. Yeats


calm body of water during golden hour

Shakespeare cared little for the State, the source of all our judgments, apart from its shows and splendours, its turmoils and battles, its flamings out of the uncivilized heart.

--W. B. Yeats

None

Florence Farr once said to me, If we could say to ourselves, with sincerity, 'this passing moment is as good as any I shall ever know,' we could die upon the instant and be united with God.

--W. B. Yeats


cluster of stars in the sky

Death and life were not
Till man made up the whole,
Made lock, stock and barrel
Out of his bitter soul.

--W. B. Yeats

clear drinking glass with beer

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?

--W. B. Yeats

man facing women near forest

The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

--W. B. Yeats

toddlers standing outdoors

Now must we sing and sing the best we can,
But first you must be told your character:
Convicted cowards all, by kindred slain.

--W. B. Yeats


blue sky

And a softness came from the starlight and filled me full to the bone.

--W. B. Yeats

white brick wall planning

I know of the leafy paths that the witches take
Who come with their crowns of pearl and their spindles of wool,
And their secret smile, out of the depths of the lake.

--W. B. Yeats


green grass field

He Who is wrapped in purple robes,
With planets in His care,
Had pity on the least of things
Asleep upon a chair.

--W. B. Yeats


pair of white lace-up shoes

Land of Heart's Desire Where beauty has no ebb, decay no flood, But joy is wisdom, time an endless song.

--W. B. Yeats

yellow and white abstract painting

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.

--W. B. Yeats

flat lay photography of several hanging ornaments

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

--W. B. Yeats

Arizona landscape donkey

What can I but enumerate old themes?

--W. B. Yeats

None

Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet.

--W. B. Yeats

forest with tall and green trees during daytime

I am content to live it all again And yet again, if it be life to pitch Into the frog-spawn of a blind man's ditch.

--W. B. Yeats



Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.

--W. B. Yeats

galaxy wallpaper

I always think a great speaker convinces us not by force of reasoning, but because he is visibly enjoying the beliefs he wants us to accept.

--W. B. Yeats


pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

So great a sweetness flows into the breast We must laugh and we must sing, We are blessed by everything, Everything we look upon is blest.

--W. B. Yeats

None

The hare grows old as she plays in the sun
And gazes around her with eyes of brightness;
Before the swift things that she dreamed of were done
She limps along in an aged whiteness.

--W. B. Yeats

purple flowers under sunny sky

On limestone quarried near the spot By his command these words are cut: Cast a cold eye On life, on death. Horseman, pass by!

--W. B. Yeats

None

When you are old and gray 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.

--W. B. Yeats

pink and teal striped textile

I have known more men destroyed by the desire to have wife and child and to keep them in comfort than I have seen destroyed by drink and harlots.

--W. B. Yeats

blue flower in close up photography

And God, the herdsman, goads them on behind.

--W. B. Yeats

None

How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart.

--W. B. Yeats

black and white abstract illustration

The Irishman sustains himself during brief periods of joy by the knowledge that tragedy is just around the corner.

--W. B. Yeats

None

You know what the Englishman's idea of compromise is? He says, Some people say there is a God. Some people say there is no God. The truth probably lies somewhere between these two statements.

--W. B. Yeats

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

It was my first meeting with a philosophy that confirmed my vague speculations and seemed at once logical and boundless.

--W. B. Yeats

sunset dirt road

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

--W. B. Yeats

photo of mountains

The true faith discovered was When painted panel, statuary, Glass-mosaic, window-glass, Amended what was told awry By some peasant gospeler.

--W. B. Yeats


Arizona landscape

My temptation is quiet. Here at life's end Neither loose imagination Nor the mill of the mind Consuming its rag and bone, Can make the truth known.

--W. B. Yeats


raging waves through shores

I am still of opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mood -- sex and the dead.

--W. B. Yeats

white and black floral textile

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, I hear it in the deep heart's core.

--W. B. Yeats

purple flower on purple textile

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.

--W. B. Yeats

person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

How can I, that girl standing there, My attention fix On Roman or on Russian Or on Spanish politics?

--W. B. Yeats

Longer Version:

How can I, that girl standing there, My attention fix On Roman or on Russian Or on Spanish politics? Yet here's a travelled man that knows What he talks about, And there's a politician That has read and thought, And maybe what they say is true Of war and war's alarms, But O that I were young again And held her in my arms!




brown wooden surface

Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream?
For these red lips, with all their mournful pride,
Mournful that no new wonder may betide,
Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam,
And Usna's children died.

--W. B. Yeats


Longer Version:

An intellectual hatred is the worst, So let her think opinions are accursed. Have I not seen the loveliest woman born Out of the mouth of Plenty's horn, Because of her opinionated mind Barter that horn and every good By quiet natures understood For an old bellows full of angry wind?


coconut tree near body of water

Fairies in Ireland are sometimes as big as we are, sometimes bigger, and sometimes, as I have been told, about three feet high.

--W. B. Yeats

long exposure photography of lights

The brawling of a sparrow in the eaves The brilliant moon and all the milky sky And all that famous harmony of leaves Had blotted out man's image and his cry.

--W. B. Yeats

person holding white book

Bid imagination run Much on the Great Questioner; What He can question, what if questioned I Can with a fitting confidence reply.

--W. B. Yeats

None

Out-worn heart, in a time out-worn,
Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;
Laugh, heart, again in the grey twilight,
Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn.

--W. B. Yeats

people on beach during daytime

When an immortal passion breathes in mortal clay;
Our hearts endure the scourge, the plaited thorns, the way
Crowded with bitter faces, the wounds in palm and side,
The vinegar-heavy sponge, the flowers by Kedron stream.

--W. B. Yeats


blue sky and white clouds

One should say before sleeping: I have lived many lives. I have been a slave and a prince. Many a beloved has sat upon my knee and I have sat upon the knees of many a beloved. Everything that has been shall be again.

--W. B. Yeats

glass window pane with yellow concrete wall

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? -Yeats, The Trembling of the Veil.

--W. B. Yeats


man standing on cliff under white sky

Poetry and music I have banished,
But the stupidity
Of root, shoot, blossom or clay
Makes no demand.
I bend my body to the spade
Or grope with a dirty hand.

--W. B. Yeats


fine trees waving

No man has ever lived that had enough of children's gratitude or woman's love.

--W. B. Yeats

landscape photo of mountain during nighttime

Why, what could she have done, being what she is? Was there another Troy for her to burn?

--W. B. Yeats


selective focus photography of grey coin operated telescope

Time can but make her beauty over again.

--W. B. Yeats


red textile in close up photography

In mockery I have set
A powerful emblem up,
And sing it rhyme upon rhyme
In mockery of a time
Half dead at the top.

--W. B. Yeats

rocky mountain under starry night

O sweet everlasting Voices, be still;
Go to the guards of the heavenly fold
And bid them wander obeying your will,
Flame under flame, till Time be no more.

--W. B. Yeats

flat lay photography teacup on top of saucer

I am of a healthy long lived race, and our minds improve with age.

--W. B. Yeats

pink and white light illustration

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned.

--W. B. Yeats

None

The Danaan children laugh, in cradles of wrought gold,
And clap their hands together, and half close their eyes,
For they will ride the North when the ger-eagle flies,
With heavy whitening wings, and a heart fallen cold.

--W. B. Yeats


red rose

It is one of the great troubles of life that we cannot have any unmixed emotions. There is always something in our enemy that we like, and something in our sweetheart that we dislike.

--W. B. Yeats

blue and white painted wall

I have read somewhere that in the Emperor's palace at Byzantium was a tree made of gold and silver, and artificial birds that sang.

--W. B. Yeats

brown and gray brick wall

The unpurged images of day recede; The Emperor's drunken soldiery are abed; Night resonance recedes, night-walkers' song After great cathedral gong.

--W. B. Yeats

woman jumping near white wall paint

While Michael Angelo's Sistine roof,
His "Morning" and his "Night" disclose
How sinew that has been pulled tight,
Or it may be loosened in repose,
Can rule by supernatural right
Yet be but sinew.

--W. B. Yeats

red rose

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

--W. B. Yeats

blue, white, and pink petaled flowers on gray surface

I balanced all, brought all to mind, the years to come seemed waste of breath, a waste of breath the years behind, in balance with this life, this death.

--W. B. Yeats


None

Art bids us touch and taste and hear and see the world, and shrinks from what Blake calls mathematic form, from every abstract form, from all that is of the brain only.

--W. B. Yeats

two gray pencils on yellow surface

Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled.
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.

--W. B. Yeats



brown, black, and white butterfly on purple petaled flower photo

The tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul.

--W. B. Yeats

black, purple, and orange basketball court beside concrete buildings at daytime

Only God, my dear, Could love you for yourself alone And not your yellow hair.

--W. B. Yeats

raging waves through shores

What if the Church and the State
Are the mob that howls at the door!
Wine shall run thick to the end,
Bread taste sour.

--W. B. Yeats



man on running field

Shakespearean fish swam the sea, far away from land; Romantic fish swam in nets coming to the hand.

--W. B. Yeats

Longer Version:

I heard the old, old, men say 'all that's beautiful drifts away, like the waters.'


black bird flying on white background

Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all.

--W. B. Yeats

sunset

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

--W. B. Yeats

icy mountain scenery

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.

--W. B. Yeats


landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

Between extremities
Man runs his course;
A brand, or flaming breath,
Comes to destroy
All those antinomies
Of day and night.

--W. B. Yeats

purple flower in tilt shift lens

All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.

--W. B. Yeats

man with LED headlight looking upward

The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time.

--W. B. Yeats

rainbow

O heart! O heart! if she'd but turn her head You'd know the folly of being comforted.

--W. B. Yeats

yellow, black, green, and orange digital wallpaper

A statesman is an easy man, he tells his lies by rote.
A journalist invents his lies, and rams them down your throat.
So stay at home and drink your beer and let the neighbors vote.

--W. B. Yeats

None

Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.

--W. B. Yeats

purple petaled flower on gray surface

The pain others give passes away in their later kindness, but that of our own blunders, especially when they hurt our vanity, never passes away.

--W. B. Yeats

rock formation in body of water

Grant me an old man's frenzy, Myself must I remake Till I am Timon and Lear Or that William Blake Who beat upon the wall Till Truth obeyed his call.

--W. B. Yeats

green water in close up photography

Do you not hear me calling, white deer with no horns?
I have been changed to a hound with one red ear;
I have been in the Path of Stones and the Wood of Thorns.

--W. B. Yeats

lights pattern swirls

One man loved the pilgrim soul in you and loved the sorrows of your changing face.

--W. B. Yeats

galaxy

Mock mockers after that That would not lift a hand maybe To help good, wise or great To bar that foul storm out, for we Traffic in mockery.

--W. B. Yeats

landscape photography of road at savannah

And the merry love the fiddle, and the merry love to dance.

--W. B. Yeats

body of water surrounded with plants under cloudy sky

Those men that in their writings are most wise
Own nothing but their blind, stupefied hearts.

--W. B. Yeats

brown grass field near gray rocky mountain during daytime

I, too, await
The hour of thy great wind of love and hate.
When shall the stars be blown about the sky,
Like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die?

--W. B. Yeats

brown wooden board

When Walt Whitman writes in seeming defiance of tradition, he needs tradition for his protection, for the butcher and the baker and the candlestick-maker grow merry over him when they meet his work by chance.

--W. B. Yeats

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams, Unloose the cord, and they will wrap you round.

--W. B. Yeats

purple flowers under sunny sky

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.

--W. B. Yeats




silhouette of woman during sunset

I have nothing but the embittered sun;
Banished heroic mother moon and vanished,
And now that I have come to fifty years
I must endure the timid sun.

--W. B. Yeats

brown sand under blue sky during daytime

Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again!
The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.

--W. B. Yeats


green and red flowers

I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember.

--W. B. Yeats

Longer Version:

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.



brown tree on surrounded by brown grass during golden hour

The winds that awakened the stars Are blowing through my blood.

--W. B. Yeats

bare tree on mountain during sunset

Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.

--W. B. Yeats

yellow and black striped background

We poets would die of loneliness but for women, and we choose our men friends that we may have somebody to talk about women with. Letter to Olivia Shakespeare, 1936.

--W. B. Yeats

photo of pine trees

Now that my ladder's gone, I must lie down where all my ladders start, In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.

--W. B. Yeats


adobe wall

I have heard that hysterical women say
They are sick of the palette and fiddle-bow,
Of poets that are always gay.

--W. B. Yeats

green ceramic mug on wooden desk

O heart, we are old;
The living beauty is for younger men:
We cannot pay its tribute of wild tears.

--W. B. Yeats

selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

The light of lights looks always on the motive, not the deed, the shadow of shadows on the deed alone.

--W. B. Yeats


white and black floral textile

Chaunt in his ear delusions magical,
That he may fight the horses of the sea.
The Druids took them to their mystery,
And chaunted for three days.

--W. B. Yeats

Light blue to purple gradient

Even when the poet seems most himself ... he is never the bundle of accident and incoherence that sits down to breakfast; he has been reborn as an idea, something intended, complete.

--W. B. Yeats


green pine trees near mountain under blue sky during daytime

And wisdom is a butterfly
And not a gloomy bird of prey.

--W. B. Yeats

silhouette photography of person

I carry from my mother's womb a fanatic's heart.

--W. B. Yeats

silhouette of flower during sunset

So long as all is ordered for attack, and that alone, leaders will instinctively increase the number of enemies that they may give their followers something to do.

--W. B. Yeats

focus photo of a hummingbird on leaf

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

--W. B. Yeats

None

I rise in the dawn, and I kneel and blow
Till the seed of the fire flicker and glow;
And then I must scrub and bake and sweep
Till the stars are beginning to blink and peep;
And the young lie long and dream in their bed.

--W. B. Yeats

silhouette of stones during golden hour

Out of Ireland have we come, great hatred, little room, maimed us at the start. I carry from my mother's womb a fanatic heart.

--W. B. Yeats

saguaro

A drunkard is a dead man
And all dead men are drunk.

--W. B. Yeats

person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

The common breeds the common,
A lout begets a lout,
So when I take on half a score
I knock their heads about.

--W. B. Yeats

man on running field

The mystical life is at the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write.

--W. B. Yeats

cat with flower

Teaching is not filling up a pail, it is lighting a fire.

--W. B. Yeats


black mountain under blue sky during night time

Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, Nor public men, nor cheering crowds, A lonely impulse of delight Drove to this tumult in the clouds.

--W. B. Yeats


Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.

--W. B. Yeats

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet's wings.

--W. B. Yeats

blue and white abstract painting

Time can but make it easier to be wise Though now it seems impossible, and so All that you need is patience.

--W. B. Yeats

empty gray floor beside pool

Why should we honour those that die upon the field of battle? A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself.

--W. B. Yeats


black pug standing tiled floor

How but in custom and in ceremony are innocence and beauty born?

--W. B. Yeats

man smiling while facing other person

There is another world, but it is in this one.

--W. B. Yeats

None

Where the world ends
The mind is made unchanging, for it finds
Miracle, ecstasy, the impossible hope,
The flagstone under all, the fire of fires,
The roots of the world.

--W. B. Yeats


brown and gray floral textile

The Father and His angelic hierarchy
That made the magnitude and glory there
Stood in the circuit of a needle's eye.

--W. B. Yeats

sunset

An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick.

--W. B. Yeats

Longer Version:

An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick, unless soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing for every tatter in its mortal dress.


purple flowered hedge plants

He only can create the greatest imaginable beauty who has endured all imaginable pangs, for only when we have seen and foreseen what we dread shall we be rewarded by that dazzling unforeseen wing-footed wanderer.

--W. B. Yeats

sunset

Somewhere beyond the curtain Of distorting days Lives that lonely thing That shone before these eyes Targeted, trod like Spring.

--W. B. Yeats

pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

I have found nothing half so good As my long-planned half solitude, Where I can sit up half the night With some friend that has the wit.

--W. B. Yeats

pink and white light illustration

Though leaves are many, the root is one; Through all the lying days of my youth I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun Now I may wither into the truth.

--W. B. Yeats


women's black and pink monokini

Think where mans glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.

--W. B. Yeats

pen on brown board

My father upon the Abbey stage, before him a raging crowd.
"This Land of Saints," and then as the applause died out,
"Of plaster Saints;" his beautiful mischievous head thrown back.

--W. B. Yeats




tree and pink sky painting

Overcome the Empyrean; hurl
Heaven and Earth out of their places,
That in the same calamity
Brother and brother, friend and friend,
Family and family,
City and city may contend.

--W. B. Yeats

purple and green light digital wallpaper

Literature is always personal, always one man's vision of the world, one man's experience, and it can only be popular when men are ready to welcome the visions of others.

--W. B. Yeats

wide lake over sunset view

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney
Folk dance like a wave on the sea.

--W. B. Yeats





toddlers standing outdoors

Ecstasy is from the contemplation of things vaster than the individual and imperfectly seen perhaps, by all those that still live.

--W. B. Yeats

two gray pencils on yellow surface

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.

--W. B. Yeats

body of water during daytime

Though logic-choppers rule the town,
And every man and maid and boy
Has marked a distant object down,
An aimless joy is a pure joy.

--W. B. Yeats

blue painted wall with white paint

Both nuns and mothers worship images,
But those the candles light are not as those
That animate a mother's reveries,
But keep a marble or a bronze repose.

--W. B. Yeats


green and white painted wall

To be born woman is to know -- although they do not speak of it at school -- women must labor to be beautiful.

--W. B. Yeats

man riding horse

What made us dream that he could comb gray hair?

--W. B. Yeats

aerial photography of pine trees with mist

I thought no more was needed
Youth to prolong
Than dumb-bell and foil
To keep the body young.
O who could have foretold
That the heart grows old?

--W. B. Yeats




full moon in the sky

Somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

--W. B. Yeats

pink and white clouds

Although our love is waning, let us stand by the lone border of the lake once more, together in that hour of gentleness. When the poor tired child, passion, falls asleep.

--W. B. Yeats

yellow and blue painted wall

The problem with some people is that when they aren't drunk, they're sober.

--W. B. Yeats

woman in white dress holding hands with girl in white dress

What shall I do for pretty girls Now my old bawd is dead?

--W. B. Yeats

brown wooden pathway in the middle of green trees

And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?

--W. B. Yeats



gray concrete painted wall

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.

--W. B. Yeats



two grey elephants on grass plains during sunset

An old man's eagle mind.

--W. B. Yeats

closeup photography of wall

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.

--W. B. Yeats

white pendant lamp

I think it better that in times like these a poet's mouth be silent, for in truth we have no gift to set a statesman right.

--W. B. Yeats

white flowers

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

--W. B. Yeats

person holding white book

The fascination of what's difficult Has dried the sap out of my veins, and rent Spontaneous joy and natural content Out of my heart.

--W. B. Yeats

silhouette of trees during sunset

Swift has sailed into his rest; Savage indignation there Cannot lacerate his breast Imitate him if you dare, World-besotted traveler; he Served human liberty.

--W. B. Yeats

yellow background

One had a lovely face,
And two or three had charm,
But charm and face were in vain.
Because the mountain grass
Cannot keep the form
Where the mountain hare has lain.

--W. B. Yeats


aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

True love is a discipline in which each divines the secret self of the other and refuses to believe in the mere daily self.

--W. B. Yeats

fawn pug on bed

Only an aching heart
Conceives a changeless work of art.

--W. B. Yeats

body of water

And pluck till time and times are done the silver apples of the moon the golden apples of the sun.

--W. B. Yeats

pink and yellow flower painting

We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us.

--W. B. Yeats

orange petaled flowers

But was there ever dog that praised his fleas?

--W. B. Yeats


We wish you a perfect day!