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The Wild Swans at Coole

W. B. Yeats

Book Overview: 

A collection of poems from the mid-career of this renowned Irish poet, the title poem referring to the estate of his friend and mentor, Lady Gregory. The poems display Yeats' use of symbols (cat, hare, moon, etc), his attachment to the supernatural and Irish folklore, and his recourse to alter egos (Aherne and Robartes). They also exemplify his distinctive style of expression.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Until imagination brought
A fitter welcome; but a thought
Of that late death took all my heart for speech.


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 angry 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.


YEARS I am worn out with dreams;
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among. . . Read More

Community Reviews

"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;"

A collection of 40 poems from 1919. Highlights - "the wild swans at coole" "the fisherman" "an Irish airman foresees his death" "the cat and the moon"

Yeats at his typical gloomy but not impenetrable self.

Some favorite lines:

Though pedantry denies
It’s plain the Bible means
That Solomon grew wise
While talking with his queens
Yeats, “On Women”

GOD grant a blessing on this tower and cottage
And on my heirs, if all rem

Not every poem is a classic, but some are, and Yeats's music and imagery put almost all living poets in the shade.

Thanks to my daughter, I was fortunate to encounter the poems of W.B. Yeats upon my recent visit to Dublin. Having visited the Yeats exhibition at the National Library of Ireland, I was intrigued by this complex man who wrote so deftly about issues, such as aging and death, as well as love, and the

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