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



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



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

The Lake Isle of Innisfree


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.

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.


    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?


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