William Butler Yeats Quotes

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats (The Wind Among the Reeds, 1899)

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

William Butler Yeats

The only business of the head in the world is to bow a ceaseless obeisance to the heart.

William Butler Yeats (Letter to Frederick J. Gregg, 1886)

Seek out reality, leave things that seem.

William Butler Yeats

Though leaves are many, the root is one.

William Butler Yeats (The Coming Of Wisdom With Time)

But was there ever dog that praised his fleas?

William Butler Yeats

In dreams begin responsibilities.

William Butler Yeats (Responsibilities, 1914)

Think like a wise man but express yourself like the common people.

William Butler Yeats

Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.

William Butler Yeats (Letter to Lady Elizabeth Pelham, 1939)

The innocent and the beautiful
Have no enemy but time.

William Butler Yeats

I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats (The Wind Among the Reeds, 1899)

Does the imagination dwell the most
Upon a woman won or woman lost?

William Butler Yeats (The Tower, 1928)

But, dear, cling close to me; since you were gone,
My barren thoughts have chilled me to the bone.

William Butler Yeats (Reconciliation)

The poor have very few hours in which to enjoy themselves; they must take their pleasure raw; they haven't the time to cook it.

William Butler Yeats (Where There is Nothing)

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water's roar?

William Butler Yeats (To a Child Dancing in the Wind)

O do not love too long,
Or you will grow out of fashion
Like an old song.

William Butler Yeats (In The Seven Woods, 1904)

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing

William Butler Yeats (Byzantium)

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

William Butler Yeats (The Shadowy Waters)

A starlit or a moonlit dome disdains
All that man is,
All mere complexities,
The fury and the mire of human veins.

William Butler Yeats (Byzantium)

O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.

William Butler Yeats (Brown Penny)

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.

William Butler Yeats (The Rose, 1893)

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.

William Butler Yeats (The Rose, 1893)

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 would 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.

William Butler Yeats (Crossways, 1889)

We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.

William Butler Yeats (Earth, Fire and Water, 1893)

This melancholy London. I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air.

William Butler Yeats (Letter to Katharine Tynan, 1888)

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.

William Butler Yeats (Crossways, 1889)

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

William Butler Yeats (Crossways, 1889)

I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

William Butler Yeats (A Drinking Song)

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.

William Butler Yeats

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

William Butler Yeats

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

William Butler Yeats (The Land of Heart's Desire, 1894)

William Butler Yeats Biography

Born: 13 June, 1865
Died: January 28, 1939

William Butler Yeats also known as W. B. Yeats was an Irish poet and dramatist. He is best known for his poetry and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

Notable Works

The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)
The Rose in the Deeps of his Heart