William Butler Yeats Quotes

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Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams, Unloose the cord, and they will wrap you round.
William Butler Yeats
To be born woman is to know – although they do not speak of it at school – women must labor to be beautiful.
William Butler Yeats
This melancholy London – I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air.
William Butler Yeats
I think you can leave the arts, superior or inferior, to the conscience of mankind.
William Butler Yeats
Books are but waste paper unless we spend in action the wisdom we get from thought – asleep. When we are weary of the living, we may repair to the dead, who have nothing of peevishness, pride, or design in their conversation.
William Butler Yeats
Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution.
William Butler Yeats
A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought, our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
William Butler Yeats
Choose your companions from the best; Who draws a bucket with the rest soon topples down the hill.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
A pity beyond all telling is hid in the heart of love.
There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met.
Designs in connection with postage stamps and coinage may be described, I think, as the silent ambassadors on national taste.
William Butler Yeats
In dreams begins responsibility.
Talent perceives differences; genius, unity.
Joy is of the will which labours, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.
William Butler Yeats
Those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.
We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us.
William Butler Yeats
Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.
And say my glory was I had such friends.
The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
Cast your mind on other days that we in coming days may be still the indomitable Irishry.
William Butler Yeats
People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.
William Butler Yeats
Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.
William Butler Yeats
The only business of the head in the world is to bow a ceaseless obeisance to the heart.
William Butler Yeats
But was there ever dog that praised his fleas?
All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.
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.
William Butler Yeats
An intellectual hatred is the worst.
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time.
Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.
William Butler Yeats
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
Be secret and exult, Because of all things known That is most difficult.
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.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
William Butler Yeats
One should not lose one's temper unless one is certain of getting more and more angry to the end.
William Butler Yeats
Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart.
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.
William Butler Yeats
I heard the old, old, men say 'all that's beautiful drifts away, like the waters.'
William Butler Yeats
Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart. O when may it suffice?
If suffering brings wisdom, I would wish to be less wise.
Accursed who brings to light of day the writings I have cast away.
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.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
Nor dread nor hope attend a dying animal; a man awaits his end dreading and hoping all.
William Butler Yeats
Irish poets, learn your trade, sing whatever is well made, scorn the sort now growing up all out of shape from toe to top.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
The light of lights looks always on the motive, not the deed, the shadow of shadows on the deed alone.
William Butler Yeats
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!
William Butler Yeats
Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.
William Butler Yeats
Why should we honour those that die upon the field of battle? A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself.
William Butler Yeats
Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.
We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.
William Butler Yeats
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.
William Butler Yeats
The years like great black oxen tread the world, and God, the herdsman goads them on behind, and I am broken by their passing feet.
William Butler Yeats
Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.
William Butler Yeats
I am of a healthy long lived race, and our minds improve with age.