I am of a healthy long lived race, and our minds improve with age.
— William Butler Yeats
Come away, O human child: To the waters and the wild with a fairy, hand in hand, For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
Wine comes in at the mouth And love comes in at the eye; That's all we shall know for truth Before we grow old and die.
Be secret and exult, Because of all things known That is most difficult.
Out of Ireland have we come, great hatred, little room, maimed us at the start. I carry from my mother's womb a fanatic heart.
Cast your mind on other days that we in coming days may be still the indomitable Irishry.
Nor dread nor hope attend a dying animal; a man awaits his end dreading and hoping all.
Accursed who brings to light of day the writings I have cast away.
I have known more men destroyed by the desire to have wife and child and to keep them in comfort than I have seen destroyed by drink and harlots.
The light of lights looks always on the motive, not the deed, the shadow of shadows on the deed alone.
To be born woman is to know - although they do not speak of it at school - women must labor to be beautiful.
Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart. O when may it suffice?
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.
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 think you can leave the arts, superior or inferior, to the conscience of mankind.
The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.
Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams, Unloose the cord, and they will wrap you round.
Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.
Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution.
Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!
There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met.
You that would judge me, do not judge alone this book or that, come to this hallowed place where my friends' portraits hang and look thereon; Ireland's history in their lineaments trace; think where man's glory most begins and ends and say my glory was I had such friends.
Irish poets, learn your trade, sing whatever is well made, scorn the sort now growing up all out of shape from toe to top.
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.
An intellectual hatred is the worst.
I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera.
We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us.
I think it better that in times like these a poet's mouth be silent, for in truth we have no gift to set a statesman right.
I have believed the best of every man. And find that to believe is enough to make a bad man show him at his best, or even a good man swings his lantern higher.
And say my glory was I had such friends.
A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought, our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.
Choose your companions from the best; Who draws a bucket with the rest soon topples down the hill.
Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.
But was there ever dog that praised his fleas?
Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.
Joy is of the will which labours, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.
All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.
The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time.
You know what the Englishman's idea of compromise is? He says, Some people say there is a God. Some people say there is no God. The truth probably lies somewhere between these two statements.
We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.
Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
The creations of a great writer are little more than the moods and passions of his own heart, given surnames and Christian names, and sent to walk the earth.
The only business of the head in the world is to bow a ceaseless obeisance to the heart.
A pity beyond all telling is hid in the heart of love.
Designs in connection with postage stamps and coinage may be described, I think, as the silent ambassadors on national taste.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
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.
I am still of opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mood - sex and the dead.