Image of William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats

1865 - 1939

William Butler Yeats was regarded as one of the greatest English writing poets of the 20th century. That Irish poet, he was also one of the driving forces behind the Irish Literary Revival. That literary movement was associated with the growth of Irish nationalism and linked with a revival of interest in Ireland’s Gaelic heritage. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in the year 1923.


The Cat and the Moon

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he... [+]


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... [+]


The Hour Before Dawn

A one-legged, one-armed, one-eyed man,
A bundle of rags upon a crutch,
Stumbled on windy Cruachan
Cursing the wind. It was as much
As the one sturdy leg could do
To keep him upright while he... [+]


The Phases of the Moon

An old man cocked his car upon a bridge;
He and his friend, their faces to the South,
Had trod the uneven road. Their hoots were soiled,
Their Connemara cloth worn out of shape;
They had kept... [+]


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... [+]


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... [+]


No Second Troy

Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but... [+]