Anyone who has read Yeats’s wonderful Autobiography will remember his Sligo shabby, shadowed, half country and half sea, full of confused romance, superstition, poverty, eccentricity, unrecognized anachronism, passion and ignorance and the little boy’s misery. Yeats was treated well but was bitterly unhappy; he prayed that he would die, and used often to say to himself: “When you are grown up, never talk as grown-up people do of the happiness of childhood.”
Sharing a bed and a future was child's play compared to sharing my copy of The Complete Poems ofW B Yeats.Anne Fadiman
No modern Irish writer, even of the stature of Yeats or Joyce, is completely free from traces of nationalism.
Under bare Ben Bulben's head In Drumcliffe 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!
I take this cadence from a man named Yeats:I take it and I give it back again:For other tunes and other wanton beatsHave tossed my heart and fiddled through my brain.Yes, I was dancing mad, and howThat came to be the bears and Yeats would know.theodore roethke
I remember once quarreling with Yeats who was walking around the room with a sword in one hand muttering spells to ward off evil spirits, and I noticed that every time he passed a plate of plums he put down his unoccupied hand and took a plum and I said, "Yeats, you cannot evoke great spirits and eat plums at the same time."george william russell
There are those who regard this history of past strife and exile as better forgotten. But, to use the phrase of Yeats , let us not casually reduce "that great past to a trouble of fools." For we need not feel the bitterness of the past to discover its meaning for the present and the future.
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