29+ quotes from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by W.B. Yeats

Quotes from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats

W.B. Yeats ·  544 pages

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“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, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“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”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“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, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned
By those who are not entirely beautiful.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“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”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“I whispered, 'I am too young,' and then, 'I am old enough'; wherefore I threw a penny to find out if I might love.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“ROSE of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
The tall thought-woven sails, that flap unfurled
Above the tide of hours, trouble the air,
And God’s bell buoyed to be the water’s care;
While hushed from fear, or loud with hope, a band
With blown, spray-dabbled hair gather at hand.
Turn if you may from battles never done,
I call, as they go by me one by one,
Danger no refuge holds, and war no peace,
For him who hears love sing and never cease,
Beside her clean-swept hearth, her quiet shade:
But gather all for whom no love hath made
A woven silence, or but came to cast
A song into the air, and singing past
To smile on the pale dawn; and gather you
Who have sought more than is in rain or dew
Or in the sun and moon, or on the earth,
Or sighs amid the wandering starry mirth,
Or comes in laughter from the sea’s sad lips;
And wage God’s battles in the long grey ships.
The sad, the lonely, the insatiable,
To these Old Night shall all her mystery tell;
God’s bell has claimed them by the little cry
Of their sad hearts, that may not live nor die.

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.
Beauty grown sad with its eternity
Made you of us, and of the dim grey sea.
Our long ships loose thought-woven sails and wait,
For God has bid them share an equal fate;
And when at last defeated in His wars,
They have gone down under the same white stars,
We shall no longer hear the little cry
Of our sad hearts, that may not live nor die.

The Sweet Far Thing”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“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, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“Things fall apart;
the center cannot hold...”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her did not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there's more enterprise
In walking naked”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;...”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“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, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. 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.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


Politics

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!”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


Ephemera

Your eyes that once were never weary of mine
Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,
Because our love is waning."

And then she:
"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:
How far away the stars seem, and how far
Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!"

Pensive they paced along the faded leaves,
While slowly he whose hand held hers replied:
"Passion has often worn our wandering hearts."

The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves
Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once
A rabbit old and lame limped down the path;
Autumn was over him: and now they stood
On the lone border of the lake once more:
Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves
Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes,
In bosom and hair.

"Ah, do not mourn," he said,
"That we are tired, for other loves await us;
Hate on and love through unrepining hours.
Before us lies eternity; our souls
Are love, and a continual farewell.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life, or of the work.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“There was a man whom Sorrow named his Friend,
And he, of his high comrade Sorrow dreaming,
Went walking with slow steps along the gleaming
And humming Sands, where windy surges wend:
And he called loudly to the stars to bend
From their pale thrones and comfort him, but they
Among themselves laugh on and sing alway:
And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend
Cried out, Dim sea, hear my most piteous story.!
The sea Swept on and cried her old cry still,
Rolling along in dreams from hill to hill.
He fled the persecution of her glory
And, in a far-off, gentle valley stopping,
Cried all his story to the dewdrops glistening.
But naught they heard, for they are always listening,
The dewdrops, for the sound of their own dropping.
And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend
Sought once again the shore, and found a shell,
And thought, I will my heavy story tell
Till my own words, re-echoing, shall send
Their sadness through a hollow, pearly heart;
And my own talc again for me shall sing,
And my own whispering words be comforting,
And lo! my ancient burden may depart.
Then he sang softly nigh the pearly rim;
But the sad dweller by the sea-ways lone
Changed all he sang to inarticulate moan
Among her wildering whirls, forgetting him.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“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 grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“In tombs of gold and lapis lazuli
Bodies of holy men and women exude
Miraculous oil, odour of violet.
But under heavy loads of trampled clay
Lie bodies of the vampires full of blood;
Their shrouds are bloody and their lips are wet
("Oil and Blood")”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“Who Goes With Fergus?

Who will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood's woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, maid,
And brood on hopes and fear no more.

And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love's bitter mystery;
For Fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars.”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“I went out to the hazel wood
because a fire was in my head
cut and peeled a hazel wand
and hooked a berry to a thread
and when white moths were on the wing
and moth-like stars were flickering out
I dropped the berry in a stream,
and caught a little silver trout....


(Song of Wandering Aengus)”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“How far away the stars seem, and how far
Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“Heart-mysteries there, and yet when all is said
It was the dream itself enchanted me
("The Circus Animal's Desertion")”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


“O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?”
― W.B. Yeats, quote from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


About the author

W.B. Yeats
Born place: in Sandymount, County Dublin, Ireland
Born date June 13, 1865
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