Belated Tribute to William Butler Yeats on the 75th Anniversary of his Death


By Niall McArdle

Tuesday, January 28th marked the 75th anniversary of Irish poet William Butler Yeats

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I didn’t have time to post anything because January 28th also happens to mark the birthday of this handsome fellow

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So here, belatedly, is my choice of Yeats poem.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

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I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
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.

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13 thoughts on “Belated Tribute to William Butler Yeats on the 75th Anniversary of his Death

  1. I adore Yeats. When I moved to the west of Ireland, the first thing I did was visit his grave. Then I went to Innisfree, it is stunning.
    I have many favourites, but for me Sailing to Byzantium is probably my favourite “an aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick.” I love “The Wild Swans at Coole” also. I could just read his poetry all day.

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    1. The trees are in their autumn beauty,
      The woodland paths are dry,
      Under the October twilight the water
      Mirrors a still sky;
      Upon the brimming water among the stones
      Are nine-and-fifty swans.

      The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
      Since I first made my count;
      I saw, before I had well finished,
      All suddenly mount
      And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
      Upon their clamorous wings.

      I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
      And now my heart is sore.
      All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
      The first time on this shore,
      The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
      Trod with a lighter tread.

      Unwearied still, lover by lover,
      They paddle in the cold
      Companionable streams or climb the air;
      Their hearts have not grown old;
      Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
      Attend upon them still.

      But now they drift on the still water,
      Mysterious, beautiful;
      Among what rushes will they build,
      By what lake’s edge or pool
      Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
      To find they have flown away?

      Like

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