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This new selection from the complete work of William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), the greates poet of his time, is the first to be published here in a paperback edition. Selected with an introduction and notes by Professor A. Norman Jeffares, the volume contains poems taken from the following books: "Crossways" (1889); "The Rose" (1893); "The Wind among the Reeds" (1899); "In This new selection from the complete work of William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), the greates poet of his time, is the first to be published here in a paperback edition. Selected with an introduction and notes by Professor A. Norman Jeffares, the volume contains poems taken from the following books: "Crossways" (1889); "The Rose" (1893); "The Wind among the Reeds" (1899); "In the Seven Woods" (1904); "The Green Helmet and Other Poems" (1910); "Responsabilities" (1914); "The Wild Swans at Coole (1919); "Michael Robartes and the Dancer" (1921); "The Tower" (1928); "The Winding Stair and Other Poems" (1933); "Words for Music Perhaps; A Woman Young and Old; A Full Moon in March" (1935); and "Last Poems" (1936-1939).


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This new selection from the complete work of William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), the greates poet of his time, is the first to be published here in a paperback edition. Selected with an introduction and notes by Professor A. Norman Jeffares, the volume contains poems taken from the following books: "Crossways" (1889); "The Rose" (1893); "The Wind among the Reeds" (1899); "In This new selection from the complete work of William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), the greates poet of his time, is the first to be published here in a paperback edition. Selected with an introduction and notes by Professor A. Norman Jeffares, the volume contains poems taken from the following books: "Crossways" (1889); "The Rose" (1893); "The Wind among the Reeds" (1899); "In the Seven Woods" (1904); "The Green Helmet and Other Poems" (1910); "Responsabilities" (1914); "The Wild Swans at Coole (1919); "Michael Robartes and the Dancer" (1921); "The Tower" (1928); "The Winding Stair and Other Poems" (1933); "Words for Music Perhaps; A Woman Young and Old; A Full Moon in March" (1935); and "Last Poems" (1936-1939).

30 review for Selected Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    هدى يحيى

    عين باردة تحدّق في الحياة وفي الموت وفارس يعبر بينهما ــــــــــ ذلك الفارس المغموس بكليته في بحور الشعر هو ويليام بتلر ييتس الشاعر الأيرلندي الممسوس بجنون من نوع خاص والمشدود إلى عالم الغرائبيات الساحر بكل ما أوتي من عبقرية ومنطق يتخطى حدود البشر ييتس صنع من الشعر جناحين عملاقين وطار بهما محلقا حاملا قراءة من كل العصور معه أنت تقرأ ييتس أنت لم تعد على الأرض [image error] ----------------------- If you have revisited the town, thin Shade, Whether to look upon your monument (I wonder if the builder has been p عين باردة تحدّق في الحياة وفي الموت وفارس يعبر بينهما ــــــــــ ذلك الفارس المغموس بكليته في بحور الشعر هو ويليام بتلر ييتس الشاعر الأيرلندي الممسوس بجنون من نوع خاص والمشدود إلى عالم الغرائبيات الساحر بكل ما أوتي من عبقرية ومنطق يتخطى حدود البشر ييتس صنع من الشعر جناحين عملاقين وطار بهما محلقا حاملا قراءة من كل العصور معه أنت تقرأ ييتس أنت لم تعد على الأرض [image error] ----------------------- If you have revisited the town, thin Shade, Whether to look upon your monument (I wonder if the builder has been paid) Or happier-thoughted when the day is spent To drink of that salt breath out of the sea When grey gulls flit about instead of men, And the gaunt houses put on majesty: Let these content you and be gone again; For they are at their old tricks yet. A man Of your own passionate serving kind who had brought In his full hands what, had they only known, Had given their children's children loftier thought, Sweeter emotion, working in their veins Like gentle blood, has been driven from the place, And insult heaped upon him for his pains, And for his open-handedness, disgrace; Your enemy, an old foul mouth, had set The pack upon him. Go, unquiet wanderer, And gather the Glasnevin coverlet About your head till the dust stops your ear, The time for you to taste of that salt breath And listen at the corners has not come; You had enough of sorrow before death-- Away, away! You are safer in the tomb. *-*-*-*-*-* All the heavy days are over; Leave the body's coloured pride Underneath the grass and clover, With the feet laid side by side. One with her are mirth and duty; Bear the gold-embroidered dress, For she needs not her sad beauty, To the scented oaken press. Hers the kiss of Mother Mary, The long hair is on her face; Still she goes with footsteps wary Full of earth's old timid grace. With white feet of angels seven Her white feet go glimmering; And above the deep of heaven, Flame on flame, and wing on wing. *-*-*-*-*-* When my arms wrap you round I press My heart upon the loveliness That has long faded from the world; The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled In shadowy pools, when armies fled; The love-tales wrought with silken thread By dreaming ladies upon cloth That has made fat the murderous moth; The roses that of old time were Woven by ladies in their hair, The dew-cold lilies ladies bore Through many a sacred corridor Where such grey clouds of incense rose That only God's eyes did not close: For that pale breast and lingering hand Come from a more dream-heavy land, A more dream-heavy hour than this; And when you sigh from kiss to kiss I hear white Beauty sighing, too, For hours when all must fade like dew, But flame on flame, and deep on deep, Throne over throne where in half sleep, Their swords upon their iron knees, Brood her high lonely mysteries. *-*-*-*-*-* Now as at all times I can see in the mind's eye, In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones, And all their helms of silver hovering side by side, And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more, Being by Calvary's turbulence unsatisfied, The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor. *-*-*-*-*-* Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream? For these red lips, with all their mournful pride, Mournful that no new wonder may betide, Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam, And Usna's children died. We and the labouring world are passing by: Amid men's souls, that waver and give place Like the pale waters in their wintry race, Under the passing stars, foam of the sky, Lives on this lonely face. Bow down, archangels, in your dim abode: Before you were, or any hearts to beat, Weary and kind one lingered by His seat; He made the world to be a grassy road Before her wandering feet.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy

    When You Are Old When you are old and gray 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 a When You Are Old When you are old and gray 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    The last stroke of midnight dies. All day in the one chair From dream to dream and rhyme to rhyme I have ranged In rambling talk with an image of air: Vague memories, nothing but memories. — W.B. Yeats, “Broken Dreams”, The Wild Swans at Coole (1919) From the depths of anything mysterious and unfathomable, here come bursts of poetry moving across the years, making impressions with an assortment of intensities and kaleidoscopic visualizations: W.B. Yeats and his unique art. This collection includes vers The last stroke of midnight dies. All day in the one chair From dream to dream and rhyme to rhyme I have ranged In rambling talk with an image of air: Vague memories, nothing but memories. — W.B. Yeats, “Broken Dreams”, The Wild Swans at Coole (1919) From the depths of anything mysterious and unfathomable, here come bursts of poetry moving across the years, making impressions with an assortment of intensities and kaleidoscopic visualizations: W.B. Yeats and his unique art. This collection includes verses clear as an Irish summer day; impenetrable as another human soul. And that is the crux of the matter: the complexity to be found in Yeats' poetry may be perceived as utterly beautiful or absolutely inscrutable; a colorful enigma sometimes tiptoeing to the brink of tedium. The most readable thing here is the formidable introduction that tries to shed some light on this poet's work. A poet in love, a poet in misery. His mind, burdened with the familiar weight of unrequited love – embodied by the fierce Maud Gonne, a woman who enchanted him with her beauty and frankness and became his long-time muse – and heavily influenced by the political scenario of his country, brought different styles to life, which are clearly seen in this selection. Poems replete with love, ideals and disillusion, longing and unhappiness, a fervent nationalism, the loud and the implicit, life and the ruins that time, unapologetically, leaves behind; copious amounts of symbolism, mystique, folklore, question marks... and diverse techniques that never cease to amaze, as the richness of his language. So, when you make some sense out of all those elements, ah, a real treat. I wish that would have happened more often. Perhaps, if I had been steeped in Irish history and mythology, it would have been easier for me to understand, his earlier work in particular. Unfortunately, most of this iconic poet's work didn't resonate with me that much. I did find some memorable poems I read many times, notably some of his later years, whose reflections on human existence, age and death are hauntingly evocative. For that is also what this book encapsulates: an entire life. It perfectly depicts the evolution of a man and his mind; his first steps and the pinnacle of his art. I think I will revisit this book someday. Ever since I've read one of his plays, I became very fond of his exquisitely lyrical language. It was only fair to assume I was going to love his poetry. (?) But I didn't; I loved a couple of poems but overall, I liked it, and I struggled; therefore, I can't give this a 4/5-star rating just to, you know, look good in front of my fellow poetry lovers. This is one of the few times I feel morally obligated to carry out some sort of brief analysis based on ratings of a poetry collection that wasn't exactly what I expected. It must be the echo of my own guilt. From Crossways (1889) ✩✩ ▪▫▪ From The Rose (1893) ✩✩✩✩ 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. The Two Trees … Gaze no more in the bitter glass The demons, with their subtle guile, Lift up before us when they pass, Or only gaze a little while; For there a fatal image grows That the stormy night receives, Roots half hidden under snows, Broken boughs and blackened leaves. For all things turn to barrenness In the dim glass the demons hold, The glass of outer weariness, Made when God slept in times of old. ... ▪▫▪ From The Wind Among the Reeds (1899) ✩✩✩ The Secret Rose ...I, too, await The hour of thy great wind of love and hate. ▪▫▪ From In the Seven Woods (1903) ✩✩✩ ▪▫▪ From The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1910) ✩✩✩✩ No Second Troy … Was there another Troy for her to burn? Reconciliation … But, dear, cling close to me; since you were gone, My barren thoughts have chilled me to the bone. ▪▫▪ From Responsibilities (1914) ✩✩✩ September 1913 … Romantic Ireland's dead and gone, It's with O'Leary in the grave. ... Beggar to Beggar Cried 'Time to put off the world and go somewhere And find my health again in the sea air,' Beggar to beggar cried, being frenzy-struck, 'And make my soul before my pate is bare.- 'And get a comfortable wife and house To rid me of the devil in my shoes,' Beggar to beggar cried, being frenzy-struck, 'And the worse devil that is between my thighs.' … (Very classy.) ▪▫▪ From The Wild Swans at Coole (1919) ✩✩✩✩ The Wild Swans at Coole … 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? An Irish Airman Foresees His Death I know that I shall meet my fate, Somewhere among the clouds above; Those that I fight I do not hate, Those that I guard I do not love... Ego Dominus Tuus ... Ille. His art is happy, but who knows his mind? ▪▫▪ From Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921) ✩✩✩ 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... ▪▫▪ From The Tower (1928) ✩✩✩✩ 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... (One of the best.) The Tower … Did all old men and women, rich and poor, Who trod upon these rocks or passed this door, Whether in public or in secret rage As I do now against old age? But I have found an answer in those eyes That are impatient to be gone; Go therefore; but leave Hanrahan, For I need all his mighty memories. ... Does the imagination dwell the most Upon a woman won or woman lost? If on the lost, admit you turned aside From a great labyrinth out of pride, Cowardice, some silly over-subtle thought Or anything called conscience once; And that if memory recur, the sun's Under eclipse and the day blotted out. ... Two Songs From a Play … Everything that man esteems Endures a moment or a day. Love's pleasure drives his love away, The painter's brush consumes his dreams... A Man Young and Old … Never to have lived is best, ancient writers say; Never to have drawn the breath of life, never to have looked into the eye of day; The second best's a gay goodnight and quickly turn away. ▪▫▪ From The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933) ✩✩✩✩ In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz … Dear shadows, now you know it all, All the folly of a fight With a common wrong or right. The innocent and the beautiful Have no enemy but time... Death … He knows death to the bone – Man has created death. A Dialogue of Self and Soul My Soul. I summon to the winding ancient stair; Set all your mind upon the steep ascent, Upon the broken, crumbling battlement, Upon the breathless starlit air, Upon the star that marks the hidden pole; Fix every wandering thought upon That quarter where all thought is done: Who can distinguish darkness from the soul? … (Sublime.) Blood And The Moon … For wisdom is the property of the dead, A something incompatible with life; and power, Like everything that has the stain of blood, A property of the living; but no stain Can come upon the visage of the moon When it has looked in glory from a cloud. Vacillation … What's the meaning of all song? 'Let all things pass away.' ▪▫▪ From Words for Music Perhaps ✩✩✩ ▪▫▪ From A Woman Young and Old ✩✩✩ II Before the world was made … From mirror after mirror, No vanity's displayed: I'm looking for the face I had Before the world was made. ▪▫▪ From A Full Moon in March (1935) ✩✩✩ ▪▫▪ From Last Poems (1936-1939) ✩✩✩✩ The Wild Old Wicked Man … I have what no young man can have Because he loves too much. Words I have that can pierce the heart, But what can he do but touch?' ... Man and the Echo Man In a cleft that's christened Alt Under broken stone I halt At the bottom of a pit That broad noon has never lit, And shout a secret to the stone. All that I have said and done, Now that I am old and ill, Turns into a question till I lie awake night after night And never get the answers right... July 11, 16 * Also on my blog.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Trevor (I no longer get notified of comments)

    Sound file of this review here: http://soundcloud.com/tremcc/review-o... I’ve always been particularly fond of Yeats. Recently I’ve been told twice in quick succession he was more than just a little rightwing politically and that this ought to put me off him. The problem is that getting turned off poets just because they are rightwing wouldn’t really leave me all that many poets to read. I tend to buy my oldest daughter books of selected poems for Christmas – I’m not quite sure why or how it even Sound file of this review here: http://soundcloud.com/tremcc/review-o... I’ve always been particularly fond of Yeats. Recently I’ve been told twice in quick succession he was more than just a little rightwing politically and that this ought to put me off him. The problem is that getting turned off poets just because they are rightwing wouldn’t really leave me all that many poets to read. I tend to buy my oldest daughter books of selected poems for Christmas – I’m not quite sure why or how it even got started. But by now it would seem a bit tragic to stop, to be honest. Last Christmas I bought her this selection. I was a little annoyed to find it didn’t contain A Prayer for My Daughter – for all the obvious reasons, but also because it was the first of his poems I studied at high school and so I have a special fondness for it and for Yeats too – not least because one night my Literature teacher brought me some photocopies of drawings of Yeats and said, well, proved really, that he looked a bit like me. Look, I don’t even try to pretend to not being chuffed by that kind of thing. Yeats writes two kinds of poems – those that seem to be almost too easy to understand and those that seem to be too difficult to make any sense of at all. I’m going to give you an example of both kinds. I’ll start with the insanely difficult, but perhaps my favourite of his poems, 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? I really don’t know enough about Yeats’ life to know if my reading of this poem is the official reading – I’m sure there is an official reading, by the way. Anyway, my reading of this is of a poet looking at the horrors of the First World War – the utter futility and barbarity of that war – and thinking that if there ever was a time for a second coming of Christ, of redemption and of holy and righteous outrage at humanity, then surely the end of the First World War was such a time. But this isn’t Christ coming as he had come previously. I mean, the last time he came to earth it was to tell us how we should live and to redeem us, or at least offer us the possibility of being redeemed for our sins. This time is following our twenty centuries of stony sleep in essentially not following the intent of his message of love. Following the horrors of the First World War we can hardly think we deserve more than a god dressed as a rough beast intent not so much on our redemption (you know, been there, done that) but on our punishment. It should hardly be surprising that the image the poet sees forming in his mind’s eye is one that troubles him. And the image is of the Sphinx. That ancient poser of riddles that seems to be on the move again – to me the image and that of the indignant desert birds surrounding the sphinx is one that reflects our less than godly, and even less than human, natures, we are less than human and this is shown in the half human half animal incarnation. Because isn’t this precisely the natures we should fear being punished for after we have allowed the hunting bird of war to have spiralled away out of our control? It is the first stanza that I think I like the most. The last couple of lines of which have been so endlessly quoted by people of all shades of politics in reference to their political opponents and in despair over their less than committed political colleagues – I was, have been, am and will remain just such a perplexed and despairing observer of politics. For example, I watched Rick Perry drop out of the Presidential race yesterday and listened as he said in endorsing Newt Gingrich that despite his differences with him in the past, “The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek God and I believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenet of my own Christian faith.” It makes my head spin that someone could say something like that at such a time, particularly in reference to the all too grubby world that is American politics – especially by a person belonging to a party whose sole aim seems to be taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich in what surely should be blindingly obvious to everyone, a direct contradiction of Christ’s teachings. It is hard for me, then, not to join in chorus with Yeats that the worst do seem to have all the conviction, and all the passion, while the best are left with Obama, a man whose election campaign is paid for by Wall Street bankers. I don’t know if politics has me slouching towards Bethlehem, but it certainly leaves me slouching. And of course, the poem contains one of Yeats’ constant references to gyres – to spirals. I’m particularly fond of spirals as a metaphor of life too – I think we spend too much time believing we live in an arrow-like existence, a movement away or towards. Our lives, however, are more like the seasons with us repeatedly cycling back to nearly, if never quite the same place over and over again at the various stages of our aging. The other poem I want to mention is a deceptively simple love song, Down By the Salley Gardens: 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 placed 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 This is quite literally a song with a truly beautiful tune and one I’ve sung many times. Here you have one of the eternal themes of poetry – the young man rushing love and confounding love with lust and the young woman’s refusal and her seeking delay – although here it all ends in tears, whereas in say Shakespeare you might have, “In delay, there lies no plenty, then come kiss me sweet and twenty, youths the stuff will not endure” or Marvel’s “Rather at once our time devour, than languish in this slow-chapp’d power”. I really love how the gardens are named twice in the first stanza, but we have moved from them in the second stanza and away from love too, or at least, having destroyed the possibility of her continued love due to his over-enthusiasm we have moved from gardens to field. The near repetitions are lovely too – she bids him take love easy first and then it’s to take life easy – but this is a life now to be lived without her, hence his leaning shoulder of regret. And in the first stanza the water is snow, that is, solid and fixed – but the water in the second is a river and his tears – both moving and changing. This is ironic enough though, because it is only now he has learnt the fixed nature of his own love for her, now that he has forced her to change her of opinion of him due to his sexual impatience. All the same, and this is why I say the poem is deceptively simple, to me the reading I’ve just given struggles with the advice she gives in both stanzas (take love easy as leaves and take life easy as grass) – but this is at least partly because I’m unsure how grass grows on weirs. I would take the grass to be more permanent than leaves that grow on trees only to fall in Autumn, so there seems to be a strange mix here, with her choosing the less constant metaphor for love than for life. I don’t really understand this advice of hers, to be honest and that’s my excuse for often not remembering while singing the song which metaphor comes first – the grass or the leaves. Yeats always has complications for you to think about even in his most simple poems. From the little I know of his life that is probably true there also. His falling in love with an unobtainable and opinionated woman and his marriage to a woman who did automatic writing and his fascination with what I take to be Jungian archetypal images make him endlessly fascinating. One day I must get around to reading a biography. Nonetheless, he is my rightwing poet of choice, but then, his hair does strand down his forehead much like mine does, so he can’t be all bad, can he?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rowena

    The poems I liked, I really liked. However, there were quite a few that I didn't much care for and found difficult to understand. I do appreciate that Yeat's poems must have spoke more to Irish people at the time of writing, especially the poems which referenced Parnell, Irish nationalism etc. I also think I would have enjoyed the poems more with more knowledge of mythology as a lot of the poems do reference mythical characters, some that I've never heard of. Two of my favourite poems from this b The poems I liked, I really liked. However, there were quite a few that I didn't much care for and found difficult to understand. I do appreciate that Yeat's poems must have spoke more to Irish people at the time of writing, especially the poems which referenced Parnell, Irish nationalism etc. I also think I would have enjoyed the poems more with more knowledge of mythology as a lot of the poems do reference mythical characters, some that I've never heard of. Two of my favourite poems from this book: A Coat - 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. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven - W.B. Yeats 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Ted

    112th book of 2020 – officially beaten my last year total. This is a tough one to review; there is no doubt that Yeats is a great writer (there are plenty of good lines in these poems), but after ‘living’ with Yeats for over a month, reading this on and off, a little at a time, I can say that mostly I was left unimpressed by his work. This is a large collection, with over two-hundred of his poems from his writing years, 1888-1939. The feel of Yeats’ work is interesting, and, as I have said in prev 112th book of 2020 – officially beaten my last year total. This is a tough one to review; there is no doubt that Yeats is a great writer (there are plenty of good lines in these poems), but after ‘living’ with Yeats for over a month, reading this on and off, a little at a time, I can say that mostly I was left unimpressed by his work. This is a large collection, with over two-hundred of his poems from his writing years, 1888-1939. The feel of Yeats’ work is interesting, and, as I have said in previous reviews where writers are less ‘understood’ (T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, etc.), I believe that is sometimes most important. Though, Yeats didn’t bring about any sense of loss, or awe, only interest. His poems are mythical, dreamlike. Mostly, they are filled with Irish history and myth, names that have no meaning to me without further research, which sadly, I didn’t enjoy the poems enough to go and do. So, Yeats is not among my favourite poets, sadly. I did enjoy some poems more than others, of course, with a collection this large, and I found great pleasure in spotting titles of other novels in Yeats’ work. There are two, I believe, in ‘The Second Coming’: Things fall apart (being the title of Chinua Achebe’s 1958 novel of the same name) and the final line of the poem: Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? - I can only presume that is Joan Didion’s famous book, Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I guess Cormac’s McCarthy’s 2005 novel comes from the opening line of ‘Sailing to Byzantium: That is no country for old men. And finally, though not taken from here, I am sure, the final lines of ‘Vacillation’ reminded me of a song from my hero, idol, role-model, George Harrison: What’s the meaning of all song?/‘Let all things pass away.’ My favourite poems then, were: - The Indian to His Love - Ephemera - The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner - He wishes his Beloved were Dead - [I walked among the seven woods of Coole] - [The friends that have it I do wrong] - Reconciliation - Running to Paradise (particularly: II The Peacock) - The Second Coming - The Tower - Meditations in Time of Civil War - Coole Park, 1929 - Coole Park and Ballylee, 1931 - The Curse of Cromwell Finally, some good lines from throughout the collection to finish. The island dreams under the dawn And great boughs drop tranquillity; * Athena takes Achilles by the hair, Hector is in the dust, Nietzsche is born, Because the hero’s crescent is the twelfth. And yet, twice born, twice buried, grow he must, Before the full moon, helpless as a worm. * Yet little peace he had For those that love are sad. Let's take this opportunity to listen to 'All Things Must Pass' - It's not always going to be this grey...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Luís

    In contemporary poetry, there appears another author of English expression, in the case of Irish origin, which always translated when he began writing in the late nineteenth century. Nothing is taboo, all pros and cons to the taste of pen, philosophy in poetry may be the memory of the Druids, the Celts ancestors of all Western Europeans. The herring fishing that continues to be made in Northern Europe as it always was, maybe the prior John of socks and collar broke, the memory of classical antiq In contemporary poetry, there appears another author of English expression, in the case of Irish origin, which always translated when he began writing in the late nineteenth century. Nothing is taboo, all pros and cons to the taste of pen, philosophy in poetry may be the memory of the Druids, the Celts ancestors of all Western Europeans. The herring fishing that continues to be made in Northern Europe as it always was, maybe the prior John of socks and collar broke, the memory of classical antiquity, the middle ages, the love of freedom, roaming without an individual course. Again the countryside, the forest, the passion, the birds, the woman with the Platonic ideal, the friendship, the memory of the middle east cradle of universal history and which I also learned in the school of my sweet land, of Western civilization.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anima

    Man And The Echo ‘Man. In a cleft that's christened Alt Under broken stone I halt At the bottom of a pit That broad noon has never lit, And shout a secret to the stone. All that I have said and done, Now that I am old and ill, Turns into a question till I lie awake night after night And never get the answers right. Did that play of mine send out Certain men the English shot? Did words of mine put too great strain On that woman's reeling brain? Could my spoken words have checked That whereby a house lay wrecked Man And The Echo ‘Man. In a cleft that's christened Alt Under broken stone I halt At the bottom of a pit That broad noon has never lit, And shout a secret to the stone. All that I have said and done, Now that I am old and ill, Turns into a question till I lie awake night after night And never get the answers right. Did that play of mine send out Certain men the English shot? Did words of mine put too great strain On that woman's reeling brain? Could my spoken words have checked That whereby a house lay wrecked? And all seems evil until I Sleepless would lie down and die. Echo. Lie down and die. Man. That were to shirk The spiritual intellect's great work, And shirk it in vain. There is no release In a bodkin or disease, Nor can there be work so great As that which cleans man's dirty slate. While man can still his body keep Wine or love drug him to sleep, Waking he thanks the Lord that he Has body and its stupidity, But body gone he sleeps no more, And till his intellect grows sure That all's arranged in one clear view, pursues the thoughts that I pursue, Then stands in judgment on his soul, And, all work done, dismisses all Out of intellect and sight And sinks at last into the night. Echo. Into the night. Man. O Rocky Voice, Shall we in that great night rejoice? What do we know but that we face One another in this place? But hush, for I have lost the theme, Its joy or night-seem but a dream; Up there some hawk or owl has struck, Dropping out of sky or rock, A stricken rabbit is crying out, And its cry distracts my thought.’

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    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. I was struck yesterday, September 1, by the dates of Yeats' birth and death. 1865 and 1939. My pause was but a series of moments, my thoughts dragging themselves across the rocks of history, reading and a world too full of weeping. Shou 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. I was struck yesterday, September 1, by the dates of Yeats' birth and death. 1865 and 1939. My pause was but a series of moments, my thoughts dragging themselves across the rocks of history, reading and a world too full of weeping. Should we champion the Orange, Velvet, Spring and make allowance for continued stone-breaking? I refute you thusly!Technology continues apace whereas our elan vital becomes a function. An application. A talking cure for the shipwrecked. The edge of these sojourns leave me scratched and sore but seldom broken. Perhaps I lack the vitality to be crushed. I lack the self-awareness for such. Temerity leads elsewhere. I feel almost Canadian in that regard. Yeats worked for me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I’m always surprised when I don’t love a well-known poet, and equally surprised when I discover an unknown poet whose work is miraculous. That’s just crazy-stupid, and I should know better. Well now I feel I’ve given Yeats a good try. I read a little about him--learned that he was proudly Irish, believed in the Irish Nationalist cause, and that he considered himself an artist who valued craftsmanship and symbolism. I took my time with his poems, and amidst so much in a style I didn’t appreciate, I’m always surprised when I don’t love a well-known poet, and equally surprised when I discover an unknown poet whose work is miraculous. That’s just crazy-stupid, and I should know better. Well now I feel I’ve given Yeats a good try. I read a little about him--learned that he was proudly Irish, believed in the Irish Nationalist cause, and that he considered himself an artist who valued craftsmanship and symbolism. I took my time with his poems, and amidst so much in a style I didn’t appreciate, or about things I didn’t understand, did find some to love. From “Anashuya and Vijaya” May we two stand, When we are dead, beyond the setting suns, A little from the other shades apart, With mingling hair, and play upon one lute. From “The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner” I spit into the face of Time That has transfigured me “Into the Twilight” was lovely, and starts: Out-worn heart, in a time out-worn, Come clear of the nets of wrong and right; Laugh, heart, again in the grey twilight, Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn. I found two poems absolutely wonderful, and they’re in public domain, so I’ll post them both below. “To a Child Dancing in the Wind” Dance there upon the shore; What need have you to care For wind or water’s roar? And tumble out your hair That the salt drops have wet; Being young you have not known The fool’s triumph, nor yet Love lost as soon as won, Nor the best labourer dead And all the sheaves to bind. What need have you to dread The monstrous crying of wind? “A Faery Song” We who are old, old and gay, O so old! Thousands of years, thousands of years, If all were told: Give to these children, new from the world, Silence and love; And the long dew-dropping hours of the night, And the stars above: Give to these children, new from the world, Rest far from men, Is anything better, anything better Tell us it then: Us who are old, old and gay, O so old! Thousands of years, thousands of years, If all were told.”

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maru Kun

    Having only ever read Yeats "easier" and often anthologised poems I hadn't realised how difficult much of his work could be. Well, at least I learnt some Irish history and mythology. And here is one of his that even I could understand, although given his Celtic roots shouldn't this be about redheads rather than blondes? For Anne Gregory "Never shall a young man, Thrown into despair By those great honey coloured Ramparts at your ear, Love you for yourself alone And not your yellow hair." "But I shall get Having only ever read Yeats "easier" and often anthologised poems I hadn't realised how difficult much of his work could be. Well, at least I learnt some Irish history and mythology. And here is one of his that even I could understand, although given his Celtic roots shouldn't this be about redheads rather than blondes? For Anne Gregory "Never shall a young man, Thrown into despair By those great honey coloured Ramparts at your ear, Love you for yourself alone And not your yellow hair." "But I shall get a hair dye And set such colour there, Brown, or black, or carrot, That young men in despair May love me for myself alone And not my yellow hair" "I heard an old religious man But yesternight declare That he had found a text to prove That only God, my dear, Could love you for yourself alone And not your yellow hair"

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rikke

    "For he would be thinking of love Till the stars had run away And the shadows eaten the moon." I am perhaps a very selective reader of Yeats' poetry. I do not like all of his poems, but some of them I love and cherish with all of my heart. Perhaps this is due to the fact that in order to understand the majority of his poems an extensive knowledge of Irish culture and mythology is required - which I sadly lack. And also, these poems are meant to be heard, and ideally to be read aloud in a soft Irish "For he would be thinking of love Till the stars had run away And the shadows eaten the moon." I am perhaps a very selective reader of Yeats' poetry. I do not like all of his poems, but some of them I love and cherish with all of my heart. Perhaps this is due to the fact that in order to understand the majority of his poems an extensive knowledge of Irish culture and mythology is required - which I sadly lack. And also, these poems are meant to be heard, and ideally to be read aloud in a soft Irish voice. The poems are so lyrically and melodically composed they in some ways can resemble the traditional Irish folksongs. I have settled upon a rating of 4 stars, as I do love Yeats and his fairytale-like poetry, which will draw you in and transport you to a long lost time of fairies, mermaids, unicorns and true magic. To read his poems is to feel a wave of blissful harmony wash over your mind and bury your troubles in a deep blue sea of ignorance. "But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jazzy Lemon

    Breathless, familiar whisperings....I could feel them warm on my cheek.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Harry Doble

    A collection of W.B. Yeats's poetry that spans from his early career up until his death. Somewhat oblique and heavy in allusion, I won't pretend to understand what Yeats is talking about most of the time. He had a strong reverence for the mystical and esoteric. Constant references to classical and Irish mythology ensure his poems are frequently rooted in the past, even when he is talking about current events. He is at once a modernist, classicist, and romanticist, deeply sentimental, rarely anyt A collection of W.B. Yeats's poetry that spans from his early career up until his death. Somewhat oblique and heavy in allusion, I won't pretend to understand what Yeats is talking about most of the time. He had a strong reverence for the mystical and esoteric. Constant references to classical and Irish mythology ensure his poems are frequently rooted in the past, even when he is talking about current events. He is at once a modernist, classicist, and romanticist, deeply sentimental, rarely anything but deathly serious. He speaks a language of symbols where the Irish landscape plays a huge part, from the arcadia of the countryside to the bustle of the city. I would say that other than mythology and nature Yeats is most preoccupied with mortality and ageing. He talks about friends and lovers who have entered and exited his life and contemplates the nature of the soul. One recurring theme is old women. His portrayal seems a little harsh as he speaks in terms of beautiful youths and unlovable old maids, but I feel he is trying to write from a place of empathy. There are other themes in his work like private and public intellectual life, Irish nationalism, and urbanization but these seem relatively minor to me. If I were to pick some favourite poems in this collection they would be The Lake Isle of Innisfree, Sailing to Byzantium, The Second Coming, The Cat and the Moon, and Under Ben Bulben. In the latter Yeats wrote about where he would be buried in Drumcliff Cemetary so it is an excellent place to end the book. One unfortunate omission is Brown Penny, which may very well be my favourite Yeats poem of all time.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bethan

    I feel so guilty because I want to like Yeats but while there are one or two amazing poems, like 'Leda and the Swan' and 'An Irish Airman Forsees His Death', or one or two that are very interesting and strikingly expressed, like 'The Second Coming' or 'The Circus Animal's Desertion', overall, I find Yeats boring a lot of the time and a bit repugnant for his conservative nature, such as his nationalism. I found it hard to concentrate and understand a lot of his poems and I didn't really come away I feel so guilty because I want to like Yeats but while there are one or two amazing poems, like 'Leda and the Swan' and 'An Irish Airman Forsees His Death', or one or two that are very interesting and strikingly expressed, like 'The Second Coming' or 'The Circus Animal's Desertion', overall, I find Yeats boring a lot of the time and a bit repugnant for his conservative nature, such as his nationalism. I found it hard to concentrate and understand a lot of his poems and I didn't really come away feeling like he'd deeply touched me and got to my heart (like Paul Verlaine) or said something amazing (like Baudelaire). Maybe I just expected more of this poet that is so routinely hailed as one of the greatest, in this English-language country, and I need to go back and spend more time with his poetry. Well, I see it; I just don't feel or think it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emma Getz

    And what if excess of love bewildered them till they died?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jan Geerling

    Not much experience with poetry, so this was a bit of a tough read for me. Many poems in this collection tell me about the the process of aging, looking back, decay and thinking abouth the dreams and idleness of youth, where everything seemed possible. The concetration needed to fully grasp a poem proved an interesting excercise for me. I noticed that I sometimes read "lazy" and allow my thoughts to wander. It was a confronting experience. Not much experience with poetry, so this was a bit of a tough read for me. Many poems in this collection tell me about the the process of aging, looking back, decay and thinking abouth the dreams and idleness of youth, where everything seemed possible. The concetration needed to fully grasp a poem proved an interesting excercise for me. I noticed that I sometimes read "lazy" and allow my thoughts to wander. It was a confronting experience.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anastasia

    My favorite one: An Irish Airman Foresees His Death: I know that I shall meet my fate Somewhere among the clouds above; Those that I fight I do not hate Those that I guard I do not love; My country is Kiltartan Cross, My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor, No likely end could bring them loss Or leave them happier than before. Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, Nor public man, nor cheering crowds, A lonely impulse of delight Drove to this tumult in the clouds; I balanced all, brought all to mind, My favorite one: An Irish Airman Foresees His Death: I know that I shall meet my fate Somewhere among the clouds above; Those that I fight I do not hate Those that I guard I do not love; My country is Kiltartan Cross, My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor, No likely end could bring them loss Or leave them happier than before. Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, Nor public man, nor cheering crowds, A lonely impulse of delight Drove to this tumult in the clouds; I balanced all, brought all to mind, The years to come seemed waste of breath, A waste of breath the years behind In balance with this life, this death. I encountered this some months ago and I was obsessed with Yeats and wanted to read more of his poems. I really like his style, his way of thinking. Some poems like The Tower were a bit long for me and I lost my concentration, however all in all I like this selection.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Franci

    2020 Re-read #50 of 2020 Still love it soooo much! The Stolen Child "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." The Meditations of the Old Fisherman "When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart." The Rose of the World "He made the world to be a grassy road Before her wandering feet." 2020 Re-read #50 of 2020 Still love it soooo much! The Stolen Child "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." The Meditations of the Old Fisherman "When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart." The Rose of the World "He made the world to be a grassy road Before her wandering feet."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena Golden

    To be honest I thought I would enjoy the poetry of Yeats more. Before reading this selection I had only known his (most?) famous poem "The Stolen Child" which I love to bits. But everything else in the selection seems to me very pale in comparison. I could relate to maybe two or three other works but otherwise it all seemed pompous and full of esoteric references for the sake of sounding intellectual... Or maybe I'm just too stupid to appreciate it ;) To be honest I thought I would enjoy the poetry of Yeats more. Before reading this selection I had only known his (most?) famous poem "The Stolen Child" which I love to bits. But everything else in the selection seems to me very pale in comparison. I could relate to maybe two or three other works but otherwise it all seemed pompous and full of esoteric references for the sake of sounding intellectual... Or maybe I'm just too stupid to appreciate it ;)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Beautiful poetry. The focus is largely on Irish history, but I think behind that is a genuine search for what is most important in life. Though I appreciated the beautiful language and what I thought the message was, I still felt like much of it went over my head.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Esther Rivers

    This was a strange one for me...very on and off. Still undecided if I would call myself a 'fan' of his work. Some of his poetry delights me, the rest I would have happily skimmed through. I didn't skim however, just wanted him to redeem himself...but he failed. This was a strange one for me...very on and off. Still undecided if I would call myself a 'fan' of his work. Some of his poetry delights me, the rest I would have happily skimmed through. I didn't skim however, just wanted him to redeem himself...but he failed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ty

    Contains one of my all time favourite poem: An Irish Airman Foresees His Death. Those that I fight, I do not hate Those that I guard, I do not love -W.B. Yeats

  24. 5 out of 5

    Reed

    Along with TS Elliot and WH Auden, I had been taught that Yeats is one of the classic 3 modern "English" poets of the early 20th century. Like TS Elliot (who is from St. Louis), it turns out that Yeats is not actually English (he is Irish). Having read both TS Elliot and Auden, I thought it was time to sample Yeats. After reading this collection, Yeats clearly falls at the bottom of the 3 for me. What I Liked: 1. The Lake Isle of Innisfree-- his classic poem that elevates the memory of the idylli Along with TS Elliot and WH Auden, I had been taught that Yeats is one of the classic 3 modern "English" poets of the early 20th century. Like TS Elliot (who is from St. Louis), it turns out that Yeats is not actually English (he is Irish). Having read both TS Elliot and Auden, I thought it was time to sample Yeats. After reading this collection, Yeats clearly falls at the bottom of the 3 for me. What I Liked: 1. The Lake Isle of Innisfree-- his classic poem that elevates the memory of the idyllic country setting. It's name checked by indie band The Fleet Foxes. 2. To A Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing-- nice meditation on resilience and overcoming failure. 3. His manner of having long poetry titles, eg. He Thinks of Those Who Have Spoken Evil of His Beloved; and He Mourns for the Change That Has Come Upon Him and His Beloved and Longs for the End of the World 4. Upon A House Shaken by the Land Agitation-- is it possible that Dylan got his idea for naming his album "Time Out of Mind" from this poem? I couldn't find out for certain. However, if Dylan has never explained that album title, I bet that there is a term paper to be written on this subject. What I Disliked: Mostly everything else. While his early poems were light from a Romantic rhyming perspective, his latter poems were mostly unintelligible. This collection reminds me of why I hated poetry in high school. And reading this collection as an adult perfectly encapsulates the feeling of conducting tedious homework as a child. #NotForMe

  25. 5 out of 5

    Quiver

    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 starts and broke in days and years. (from Adam's Curse) First, a word on Modern Classics edition: it contains not only a selection of Yeats's work, but also an introduction with contextual background (at the front) and detailed notes about the various references contained in the poems (at 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 starts and broke in days and years. (from Adam's Curse) First, a word on Modern Classics edition: it contains not only a selection of Yeats's work, but also an introduction with contextual background (at the front) and detailed notes about the various references contained in the poems (at the back). Not having read much of Yeats before, I found both resources useful. The edition also includes multiple versions of certain poems, showing how Yeats revised his work over time. This is an invaluable resource for anyone studying Yeats, in particular, and the poetic process, in general. As for his body of work: a lot of the political background, personal connections, and Irish theme would have been entirely lost on me, were it not for the notes. Working my way through slowly, back and forth, I was able to piece together sufficiently many facts to appreciate a large number of poems, but not all. I was drawn to the lyricism of the language and the vivid images of nature and myth. Inspiring and memorable—will revisit, to relive.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lệ Lin

    ⠀ ⠀ • The life of Yeats (like most of the people living in the Victorian period) is quite interesting to me - mystical and weird. ⠀ I'm fascinated with tragedy and I found so much of that in his life! Sometimes I wonder if I should share tragical stories that I've been stumbled upon? Will people want to hear it? But a part of me hates to reveal these forgotten lives in history to be taken as another 'pop' thing, just as the case of Vincent van Gogh.⠀ ⠀ • Back to Yeats's poetry, not a five-star favou ⠀ ⠀ • The life of Yeats (like most of the people living in the Victorian period) is quite interesting to me - mystical and weird. ⠀ I'm fascinated with tragedy and I found so much of that in his life! Sometimes I wonder if I should share tragical stories that I've been stumbled upon? Will people want to hear it? But a part of me hates to reveal these forgotten lives in history to be taken as another 'pop' thing, just as the case of Vincent van Gogh.⠀ ⠀ • Back to Yeats's poetry, not a five-star favourite but I found some gems in this book (prefer the short ones better).⠀ A list for later reference (in order of appearance):⠀ - The Stolen Child⠀ - Down by Salley Gardens⠀ - The Sorrow of Love⠀ - When You are Old⠀ - The Lover tells of the Rose in his Heart⠀ - He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven⠀ - Never Give all the Heart⠀ - Words⠀ - A Dialogue of Self and Soul⠀ - What Then?⠀ - Why Should not old Men be Mad?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eugenea Pollock

    I gave 3 stars not to the verse of this Nobel Prize winner (some of which I understood, some of which I did not), but to this particular edition by Phoenix in 2007. My copy was printed so faintly that it was an eye-boggling challenge to read and probably affected my enjoyment of it. No, it’s not due to some organic problem like cataracts! This is just a poor choice by the publisher. That being said, my favorites included The Stolen Child, He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven, The Magi, and A Praye I gave 3 stars not to the verse of this Nobel Prize winner (some of which I understood, some of which I did not), but to this particular edition by Phoenix in 2007. My copy was printed so faintly that it was an eye-boggling challenge to read and probably affected my enjoyment of it. No, it’s not due to some organic problem like cataracts! This is just a poor choice by the publisher. That being said, my favorites included The Stolen Child, He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven, The Magi, and A Prayer For Old Age. Needless to say, I will not reread this edition—it’s off to the used bookstore.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tom Greentree

    I did not enjoy Yeats. Perhaps I found his many references and inferences so far outside my literary and cultural experience that I just could not track with it, but I think it was more than that (the same is true for others and I didn’t struggle the same). His use of language and cadence was not a kind I found gripping or meaningful. Aside from a few moments of insight and a spark or two of brilliance, I found the rest boring.

  29. 4 out of 5

    The_J

    This taste brings the power When you are old When you are old and gray, 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;

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    Lots of phrases I liked but the whole collection fades when compared to Innisfree which has to be one of the greatest ever written. I’m not Irish and don’t like the mythical or classical elements as a casual reader and his style is a little dated for me (I like Beat poetry) but if you like good classic poetry then this is for you alongside the likes of Brooke et al.

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