by NONA BLYTH CLOUD
Next Sunday is Bloomsday, the day in 1904 that the events in the James Joyce novel Ulysses take place. I confess I have only read pieces of it, because it’s so densely written, and some of it I just don’t get. But it has put me in an Irish mood, and there’s a giant of Irish poetry, one of my all-time favorite poets, whose birthday anniversary was yesterday, the 13th of June.
As I from time to time remind you, Dear Readers, this weekly series is an introduction to the poets profiled here, a starting point for you to discover their work in more depth on your own. This has seldom been more true than it is today. The collected works of today’s poet-playwright take up fourteen volumes, so this will be only the barest glimpse.
William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) is admired as one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century. He is a key figure in the Irish Literary Revival (also ironically called the Celtic Twilight), and a co-founder of the Abbey Theatre with Lady Augusta Gregory (see Word Cloud: COOLE – link below).
Though he viewed himself as Irish, his family were Anglo-Irish, and he was moved back and forth as a child between living in Ireland and in England, as the demands of his father’s career as an artist dictated. William was enrolled in Dublin’s Metropolitan School of Art from 1884 to 1886.
He also rather neatly fits the definition of of that great Scrabble word quixotic: idealistic, romantic, visionary, utopian, extravagant, starry-eyed, and unworldly.
Sailing to Byzantium
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
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,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
Like many young writers, Yeats’ imagination was fired by exotic locales, fabled in song and verse, so his early work is often about other places and past eras, inspired by poets he admired. But in 1885, the same year some of his poems were first published in the Dublin University Review, he met John O’Leary, an Irish nationalist who was returning to Ireland after 20 years of imprisonment and exile for his revolutionary activities. O’Leary was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Irish books, music, and ballads, and he encouraged the young writer to adopt Irish subjects. Yeats later said in an introduction to one of his collections: “When I first wrote I went here and there for my subjects as my reading led me, and preferred to all other countries Arcadia and the India of romance, but presently I convinced myself … that I should never go for the scenery of a poem to any country but my own, and I think that I shall hold to that conviction to the end.”
Yet by 1887, Yeats found himself in back in London, having moved there with his family. However, his writing was focused on all things Irish, from poems, plays, novels, and short stories to book reviews.
Then he met Maud Gonne.
Maud Gonne was an heiress, Irish revolutionary, suffragette and actress. Of Anglo-Irish stock and birth, she became a passionate supporter of Irish nationalism after witnessing the plight of evicted people in the Land Wars.
She admired Yeats’ poem “The Island of Statues,” and made it a point to meet him. In addition to their Irish heritage, they shared an interest in mysticism and the occult.
Yeats fell in love. Maud did not.
Unbeknown to him, Maud has already shared a tempestuous affair with Lucien Millevoye, a French journalist and right-wing politician, and had given birth to two children. But her first-born, a son, had died, so she and Millevoye conceived their daughter Iseult in his tomb, because Maud hoped her son’s soul would be re-born in their next child.
Yeats’ unrequited loved for her would inspire some of his greatest poetry.
We sat together at one summer’s end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
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.’
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . And thereupon
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There’s many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, ‘To be born woman is to know—
Although they do not talk of it at school—
That we must labour to be beautiful.’
I said, ‘It’s certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam’s fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
Precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.’
We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time’s waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.
I had a thought for no one’s but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we’d grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.
He wishes his Beloved were Dead
Were you but lying cold and dead,
And lights were paling out of the West,
You would come hither, and bend your head,
And I would lay my head on your breast;
And you would murmur tender words,
Forgiving me, because you were dead:
Nor would you rise and hasten away,
Though you have the will of wild birds,
But know your hair was bound and wound
About the stars and moon and sun:
O would, beloved, that you lay
Under the dock-leaves in the ground,
While lights were paling one by one.
May God be praised for woman
That gives up all her mind,
A man may find in no man
A friendship of her kind
That covers all he has brought
As with her flesh and bone,
Nor quarrels with a thought
Because it is not her own.
Though pedantry denies,
It’s plain the Bible means
That Solomon grew wise
While talking with his queens.
Yet never could, although
They say he counted grass,
Count all the praises due
When Sheba was his lass,
When she the iron wrought, or
When from the smithy fire
It shuddered in the water:
Harshness of their desire
That made them stretch and yawn,
pleasure that comes with sleep,
Shudder that made them one.
What else He give or keep
God grant me — no, not here,
For I am not so bold
To hope a thing so dear
Now I am growing old,
But when, if the tale’s true,
The Pestle of the moon
That pounds up all anew
Brings me to birth again —
To find what once I had
And know what once I have known,
Until I am driven mad,
Sleep driven from my bed.
By tenderness and care.
pity, an aching head,
Gnashing of teeth, despair;
And all because of some one
perverse creature of chance,
And live like Solomon
That Sheba led a dance.
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.
Yeats also loved the natural beauty of the land of Ireland.
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 grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
In 1897, he stayed at Coole, Lady Gregory’s estate. and they formed a small group by 1899 called the Irish Literary Theatre, which would evolve into the Abbey Theatre. Yeats wrote some plays which were mainstays of the Abbey.
His political views he poured into words instead of activism, one of the things that made Maud Gonne keep him at arms’ length. In 1903, to his horror, Maud Gonne married the Irish nationalist Major John MacBride. Yeats worried that losing his muse to another made him look silly before the public. Yeats naturally hated MacBride and continually sought to deride and demean him both in his letters and his poetry. Yeats was also appalled by Maud’s conversion to Catholicism, which he despised. He feared his muse would come under the influence of the priests and do their bidding.
The marriage, as forecast by both their sets of friends and relations, was an early disaster. This pleased Yeats as Maud began to visit him in London. Finally, in Paris in 1908, they consummated their relationship. That Yeats was disappointed shows in his later comment: “the tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul.” The relationship did not turn into a live affair after their one night together. Soon afterwards, Maud wrote to him: “I have prayed so hard to have all earthly desire taken from my love for you and dearest, loving you as I do, I have prayed and I am praying still that the bodily desire for me may be taken from you too.” By January 1909, Gonne was sending Yeats letters praising the advantage given to artists who abstain from sex.
His nationalism was revitalized by the Easter Rising.
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wingèd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
A terrible beauty is born.
Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that rang
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute to minute they live;
The stone’s in the midst of all.
Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
At the age of forty-six, Yeats was feeling a strong desire to have a family. In 1917, he bought the Norman tower ‘Thoor Ballylee’ near Coole Park in Galway for his summer home.
When his marriage proposal to Maud’s daughter Iseult was rejected, he quickly turned to Georgie Hyde Lees, aged 25, and they were married in October, 1917. She was interested in “automatic writing” which also became a fascination for Yeats, and that helped cement a bond between them. They had two children, Anne and Michael.
His famous poem written in 1920, foreshadows all the troubles, not only in Ireland, but all the rest of the world.
The Second Coming
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.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: 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.
The darkness drops again; but 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?
In 1922, civil war broke out in Ireland, and Yeats was elected to the Irish senate, where he served for six years before resigning to due to failing health.
In December 1923, Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and sales of his books greatly increased. For the first time he had enough money, and was able to repay not only his own debts, but those of his father.
In his last years, Yeats added Hindu Theosophical beliefs to his original mystical and occult inclinations. The mixture became the basis of many of his late poems.
Under Ben Bulben
SWEAR by what the sages spoke
Round the Mareotic Lake
That the Witch of Atlas knew,
Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.
Swear by those horsemen, by those women
Complexion and form prove superhuman,
That pale, long-visaged company
That air in immortality
Completeness of their passions won;
Now they ride the wintry dawn
Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.
Here s the gist of what they mean.
Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities,
That of race and that of soul,
And ancient Ireland knew it all.
Whether man die in his bed
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear
Is the worst man has to fear.
Though grave-diggers’ toil is long,
Sharp their spades, their muscles strong.
They but thrust their buried men
Back in the human mind again.
You that Mitchel’s prayer have heard,
‘Send war in our time, O Lord!’
Know that when all words are said
And a man is fighting mad,
Something drops from eyes long blind,
He completes his partial mind,
For an instant stands at ease,
Laughs aloud, his heart at peace.
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
What his great forefathers did.
Bring the soul of man to God,
Make him fill the cradles right.
Measurement began our might:
Forms a stark Egyptian thought,
Forms that gentler phidias wrought.
Michael Angelo left a proof
On the Sistine Chapel roof,
Where but half-awakened Adam
Can disturb globe-trotting Madam
Till her bowels are in heat,
proof that there’s a purpose set
Before the secret working mind:
Profane perfection of mankind.
Quattrocento put in paint
On backgrounds for a God or Saint
Gardens where a soul’s at ease;
Where everything that meets the eye,
Flowers and grass and cloudless sky,
Resemble forms that are or seem
When sleepers wake and yet still dream.
And when it’s vanished still declare,
With only bed and bedstead there,
That heavens had opened.
Gyres run on;
When that greater dream had gone
Calvert and Wilson, Blake and Claude,
Prepared a rest for the people of God,
Palmer’s phrase, but after that
Confusion fell upon our thought.
Irish poets, earn your trade,
Sing whatever is well made,
Scorn the sort now growing up
All out of shape from toe to top,
Their unremembering hearts and heads
Base-born products of base beds.
Sing the peasantry, and then
Hard-riding country gentlemen,
The holiness of monks, and after
Porter-drinkers’ randy laughter;
Sing the lords and ladies gay
That were beaten into the clay
Through seven heroic centuries;
Cast your mind on other days
That we in coming days may be
Still the indomitable Irishry.
Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
William Butler Yeats died, on January 28, 1939, at age 73, in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. He was first buried in France as he had wished.
In 1948, Yeats was re-interred “under bare Ben Bulben’s head” in Drumcliff churchyard, County Sligo, Ireland. His gravestone was inscribed with the final three lines of “Under Ben Bulben.”
Ireland had reclaimed him.
Sources and Further Reading
LADY GREGORY AND THE ABBEY THEATRE
- Word Cloud: COOLE – https://flowersforsocrates.com/2017/03/17/word-cloud-coole/
- Poetry Foundation: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/william-butler-yeats
- Yeats Timeline: https://aggsliterature.wordpress.com/yeats-timeline/
- Mosada: A Dramatic Poem(first published in Dublin University Review, March, 1885), Sealy, Bryers & Walker, 1886.
- The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems,Kegan Paul, Trench & Company, 1889.
- John Sherman[and] Dhoya (fiction), Cassell Publishing Company, 1891.
- The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics(poetry and plays; includes The Countess Kathleen, play first produced in Dublin at Antient Concert Rooms, May 8, 1899), Roberts Brothers, 1892, title play revised and published separately as The Countess Kathleen, Fischer Unwin, 1912.
- The Celtic Twilight(nonfiction), Lawrence & Bullen, 1893, Macmillan, 1894 , revised and enlarged edition, A. H. Bullen, 1902.
- The Land of Heart’s Desire(play; first produced in London at Avenue Theatre, March 29, 1894), Stone & Kimball, 1894.
- Poems, Fisher Unwin, 1895, revised editions, 1899, 1901, 1912, 1927.
- The Table of the Law[and] The Adoration of the Magi (fiction), privately printed, 1897, Elkin Mathews, 1904.
- The Secret Rose(short stories), illustrations by father, John Butler Yeats, Dodd, Mead, 1897.
- The Wind among the Reeds(poetry), John Lane/Bodley Head, 1899.
- The Shadowy Waters(play; first produced in Dublin at Molesworth Hall, January 14, 1904), Hodder & Stoughton, 1900, Dodd, Mead, 1901.
- 1899 to 1900,first edition, 1900, reprinted, F. Cass, 1970.
- 1901 to 1908,seven volumes, first edition, 1901, reprinted, F. Cass, 1970.
- Cathleen ni Houlihan(one-act play; first produced in Dublin at St. Teresa’s Hall April 2, 1902), A. H. Bullen, 1902.
- Where There Is Nothing(five-act play; first produced in London at Royal Court Theatre, June 26, 1904), John Lane, 1902, revised (with Lady Gregory) as The Unicorn from the Stars (first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, November 21, 1907 ) in The Unicorn from the Stars and Other Plays, Macmillan, 1908, new edition published as Where There Is Nothing [and] The Unicorn from the Stars, Catholic University Press, 1987.
- On Baile’s Strand(play; first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, December 27, 1904), Dun Emer Press, 1903.
- In the Seven Woods: Being Poems Chiefly of the Irish Heroic Age,Macmillan, 1903.
- The Hour Glass: A Morality(play; first produced in Dublin at Molesworth Hall, March 14, 1903, revised version produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, November 21, 1912), Heinemann, 1903, expanded editon, edited by Catherine Phillips, Cornell University Press, 1994.
- Ideas of Good and Evil(nonfiction), Macmillan, 1903.
- The Hour Glass and Other Plays(includes The Hour Glass: A Morality and The Pot of Broth, first produced in Dublin at Antient Concert Rooms, October 30, 1902), Macmillan, 1904.
- The King’s Threshold(play; first produced in Dublin at Molesworth Hall, October 8, 1903, revised version produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, October 13, 1913), John Quinn, 1904.
- The King’s Threshold[and] On Baile’s Strand (plays), A. H. Bullen, 1904.
- The Hour-Glass and Other Plays,first edition, 1904 , reprinted, Roth, 1976.
- Stories of Red Hanrahan(short stories), Dun Emer Press, 1905.
- Poems, 1899-1905, H. Bullen (London), 1906.
- The Poetical Works of William B. Yeats,two volumes, Macmillan, 1906, revised edition, 1912.
- Deirdre(play; first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, November 24, 1906), A. H. Bullen, 1907.
- Discoveries: A Volume of Essays,Dun Emer Press, 1907.
- The Golden Helmet(play; first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, March 19, 1908), John Quinn, 1908, revised as The Green Helmet (produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, February 10, 1910), published in The Green Helmet and Other Poems (also see below).
- (With Lionel Johnson)Poetry and Ireland, first edition, 1908, reprinted, Cuala Press, 1970.
- Poems: Second Series, H. Bullen, 1910.
- (With Lady Gregory)The Travelling Man (play), first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, March 2, 1910.
- The Green Helmet and Other Poems(includes poems Words, Against Unworthy Praise, and The Mask), Cuala Press, 1910, R. Harold Paget, 1911, enlarged edition, Macmillan, 1912.
- Synge and the Ireland of His Time(nonfiction), Cuala Press, 1911.
- The Cutting of an Agate(nonfiction), Macmillan, 1912, enlarged edition, 1919.
- Poems Written in Discouragement, 1912-1913,Cuala Press, 1913.
- Stories of Red Hanrahan, The Secret Rose, Rosa Alchemica(fiction), A. H. Bullen, 1913, Macmillan, 1914.
- A Selection from the Poetry of W. B. Yeats,Bernard Tauchnitz, 1913.
- A Selection from the Love Poetry of W. B. Yeats,Cuala Press, 1913.
- Responsibilities(poetry; includes To a Shade, The Magi, and A Coat), Cuala Press, 1914, enlarged edition, Macmillan, 1916.
- The Wild Swans at Coole(poetry and plays; includes play At the Hawk’s Well, first performed privately in London, April 2, 1916, produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, July 25, 1933), Cuala Press, 1917, enlarged edition, Macmillan, 1919, expanded edition, Cornell University Press, 1994.
- Per Amica Silentia Lunae(nonfiction), Macmillan, 1918.
- Two Plays for Dancers(includes The Only Jealousy of Emer, first produced in foreign language in Amsterdam at Hollandsche Schouwburg, April 2, 1922, produced in English in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, May 9, 1926, revised as Fighting the Waves [also see below]; and The Dreaming of the Bones, first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, December 6, 1931 ), Cuala Press, 1919.
- Four Plays for Dancers(includes The Only Jealousy of Emer and At the Hawk’s Well), Macmillan, 1921.
- Selected Poems,Macmillan, 1921.
- Michael Robartes and the Dancer(poetry), Cuala Press, 1921, expanded edition, edited by Thomas Francis Parkinson and Anne Brannen, Cornell University Press, 1994.
- Plays in Prose and Verse, Written for an Irish Theatre(includes The Player Queen, first produced in London at King’s Hall, May 25, 1919), Macmillan, 1922.
- Later Poems,Macmillan (London), 1922, Macmillan (New York), 1924.
- Seven Poems and a Fragment,first edition, 1922, reprinted, Cuala Press, 1970.
- Plays and Controversies,Macmillan (London), 1923, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1924.
- Essays,Macmillan, 1924.
- “The Cat and the Moon” and Certain Poems(includes play The Cat and the Moon, first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, May 9, 1926), Cuala Press, 1924.
- The Bounty of Sweden(nonfiction), Cuala Press, 1925.
- A Vision: An Explanation of Life Founded upon the Writings of Giraldus and upon Certain Doctrine Attributed to Kusta Ben Luka, Werner Laurie, 1925, revised edition published as A Vision, Macmillan (London), 1937, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1938, published as A Critical Edition of “Yeats’s A Vision” (1925), edited by George Mills Harper and Walter Kelly Hood, Macmillan, 1978.
- October Blast(poetry), Cuala Press, 1927.
- (Translator)Sophocles’ “Oedipus at Colonus” (also see below), first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, September 12, 1927.
- (Translator)Sophocles’ “King Oedipus” (play; first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, December 7, 1926), Macmillan, 1928.
- The Tower(poetry; includes The Tower, Sailing to Byzantium, Leda and the Swan,Nineteen Hundred Nineteen, and Among School Children), Macmillan, 1928.
- A Packet for Ezra Pound(nonfiction), Cuala Press, 1929.
- The Winding Stair(poetry), Fountain Press, 1929, enlarged edition, Macmillan, 1933 , expanded edition, Cornell University Press, 1995.
- Words for Music Perhaps and Other Poems,Cuala Press, 1932.
- Stories of Michael Robartes and His Friends(plays and fiction; includes play The Resurrection, first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, July 30, 1934), Cuala Press, 1932.
- Letters to the New Island(essays and reviews), edited by Horace Reynolds, Harvard University Press, 1934, reprinted, Oxford University Press, 1970.
- Wheels and Butterflies(plays), Macmillan (London), 1934, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1935.
- The King of the Great Clock Tower(play; first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, July 30, 1934), Cuala Press, 1934, Macmillan, 1935.
- The Words upon the Window Pane(play; first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, November 17, 1930), Cuala Press, 1934.
- Wheels and Butterflies(includes Fighting the Waves [revision of The Only Jealousy of Emer; also see above]), Macmillan, 1934.
- A Full Moon in March,Macmillan, 1935.
- Poems,Cuala Press, 1935.
- New Poems,Cuala Press, 1938.
- The Herne’s Egg and Other Plays(includes The Herne’s Egg, first produced in 1950), Macmillan, 1938.
- Purgatory(first produced in Dublin at Abbey Theatre, August 10, 1938), critical edition, Cornell University Press, 1985.
- Last Poems and Two Plays(includes play The Death of Cuchulain,; and poems The Gyres, Lapis Lazuli, The Wicked Old Man, Crazy Jane on the Mountain, The Man and the Echo, Politics, and Under Ben Bulben), Cuala Press, 1939.
- On the Boiler(nonfiction), Cuala Press, 1939.
- Two Plays,Cuala Press, 1939.
- Last Poems and Plays,Macmillan, 1940.
- If I Were Four-and-Twenty(nonfiction), Cuala Press, 1940.
- The Death of Cuchulain(first produced in 1949), critical edition edited by Phillip L. Marcus, Cornell University Press, 1981.
- (With George Moore)Diarmuid and Grania (play; first produced in Dublin at Gaiety Theatre, October 21, 1901), Becker, 1951.
- The Variorum Edition of the Poems of W. B. Yeats,edited by Peter Allt and Russell K. Alspach, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1957, reprinted, 1987.
- Mythologies(stories and essays), Macmillan, 1959.
- The Senate Speeches of W. B. Yeats,edited by Donald R. Pearce, Indiana University Press, 1960.
- Essays and Introductions,Macmillan, 1961.
- Explorations(nonfiction), Macmillan, 1962.
- The Variorum Edition of the Plays of W. B. Yeats,edited by Russell K. Alspach, Macmillan, 1966.
- Uncollected Prose by W. B. Yeats,two volumes, edited by John P. Frayne and Colton Johnson, Columbia University Press, 1970.
- (With Thomas Kinsella)Davis, Mangan, Ferguson (critical study), Dufour, 1971.
- The Speckled Bird(unfinished novel), edited by William H. O’Donnell, Cuala Press, 1974, annotated edition, McClelland & Stewart, 1977.
- (With Swami Shree)The Ten Principal Upanishads, Macmillan, 1975.
- The Secret Rose: Stories by W. B. Yeats: A Variorum Edition,edited by Phillip L. Marcus, Warwick Gould, and Michael J. Sidnell, Cornell University Press, 1981.
- Byzantium,Black Swan, 1983.
- The Poems: A New Edition,edited by Richard J. Finneran, Macmillan, 1983.
- Poems of W. B. Yeats: A New Selection,with an introduction and notes by A. Norman Jeffares, Macmillan, 1984.
- A Poet to His Beloved: The Early Love Poems of W. B. Yeats, Martin’s, 1985.
- Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend, and Folklore,Crown, 1986.
- Mosada[and] The Island of Statues: Manuscript Materials, edited by George Bornstein, Cornell University Press, 1987.
- The Early Poems: Manuscript Materials,edited by George Bornstein, Cornell University Press, 1987.
- (With others)The Second Book of the Rhymers Club, British American Books, 1987.
- (With Lady Gregory)Complete Irish Mythology, Slaney Press (London), 1994.
- The Wanderings of Oisin, and Other Early Poems,Cornell University Press, 1994.
- Under the Moon: The Unpublished Early Poetry,edited by George Bornstein, Scribner, 1995.
- Later Essays,Charles Scribner’s (New York, NY), 1994.
- Short Fiction,Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1995.
- Selected Poems and Four Plays of William Butler Yeats,Scribner Paperback Poetry (New York, NY), 1996.
- Yeats, Romantic Visionary,Gramercy Books (New York, NY), 1999.
- “Easter, 1916” and Other Poems,Dover Publications (Mineloa, NY), 1997.
- Later Articles and Reviews: Uncollected Articles, Reviews, and Radio Broadcasts Written after 1900,Scribner (New York, NY), 2000.
- Yeats’s Poetry, Drama, and Prose: Authoritative Texts, Contexts, Criticism, W. Norton (New York, NY), 2000.
- Parnell’s Funeral and Other Poems,edited by David R. Clark, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2003.
- Byzantine Mosaic – Hagia Sophia
- Courtly Love
- Celtic goddess by Helena Nelson Reed
- Queen of Sheeba
- Reading by Firelight
- Lake Isle of Innisfree
- Moorhen adult
- Ben Bulben, County Sligo, Ireland
Word Cloud photo by Larry Cloud