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The Collected Poems

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  23,944 ratings  ·  259 reviews
The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats includes all of the poems authorized by Yeats for inclusion in his standard canon. Breathtaking in range, it encompasses the entire arc of his career, from luminous reworking of ancient Irish myths and legends to passionate meditations on the demands and rewards of youth and old age, from exquisite, occasionally whimsical songs of love, n ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published September 9th 1996 by Scribner (first published 1889)
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Galicius The volume I am reading "Selected Poems and Two Plays of William Butler Yeats", Collier Books, 1962 does have this poem.
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Not everything in here works for me, but Yeats is never less than a pleasure to read. As others have remarked upon, he's what one might describe as a proper poet: his rhythmic structure and rhymes flow off of the reading tongue—and at his best, he cannot be touched for the ariose beauty of his lyrical genius.
Before the World Was Made

If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet,
Or ask if all be right
From mirror after mirror,
No vanity's displayed:
I'm looking fo
Alexis Hall
Okay. Cards on the table.

I'm not actually that into Yeats. I mean, he's fine, don't get me wrong. Kind of an interesting dude with his Cabalism and his Jacob Black-esque mother-to-daughter romantic transference thing.

And some of his poetry I can't deny is pretty impressive stuff: the one about wishing for the cloths of the heaven, and the second coming, and the lake isle of innisfree. All that silver apples of the moon stuff. Very nice.

But, honestly, I used to keep this on my bedside table in or

Yeats, Yeats, what can you say?

Ireland. Mysticism. Longing. Despair. PO-etry!

This is a surprisingly consistent, formidable, subtle and wide ranging oeuvre and I'm not the only person to have overheard the suggestion that Yeats was the greatest poet of the 20th Century.

Lets not forget the influence. Not only in Ireland but in elsewhere, as part of some variation on the human cultural inheritance. As far as I can tell, there were at least three major (to my mind, anyway) poets who admitted that w
The reason everyone digs Shakespeare is not because he was the greatest writer in the modern English language, or because he was even the greatest playwright, but because he had a nice way of putting things, and people like to apply his pithy sentiments to their own lives. This is stupid, and I've never subscribed to the idea that you can or should evaluate literature based on its relation to or resonance with your own life and experience. If you must do so, however, please do yourself a favor a ...more
John Doe
I told my friend Nichole yesterday that I wasn't planning to live a long life. She said, "Why do you say that?" And I mumbled something about rock stars and creative people. But, I feel that I can become an old man when I read Yeats. This is a favorite:

When You are Old

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;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
My favourite piece of Yeats, which I've known since I was a teenager. I've never really figured out what it means, but I think it's wonderful all the same:
Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.
Beauty grown sad with its eternity
Made you of us, and of the dim grey sea.
Our long ships loose thought-woven sails and wait,
For God has bid them share an equa
Rosa Jamali
ییتس به فارسی
برگردان : رُزا جمالی

دریا نوردی به سمت بیزانس

اینجا سرزمینی برای مردی پیر نیست
جوانان در کنار هم اند
و پرندگانی در درختان
نسلی رو به مرگ
در آوازهایش
قزل آلایی که به زمین می افتد، دریاهایی از گورماهی ها
گوشتی از ماهی یا ماکیان در تمامِ طول تابستان حکمرانی می کند
آنچه به فرزندی پذیرفته شده است به دنیا می آید و می میرد
تمام آنچه که در آن موسیقی شهوانی نهفته است ، غفلت است
بنایی تاریخی از خردی بی زمان.

مردی پیر که تحفه ای ناچیز است
مگر لباسی ژنده آویخته بر عصایی
روحی ست که دست می زند و آواز می خو
I like Yeats, I think. Mostly because he likes Irish mythology and writes lots of poems about it - a basic knowledge of Irish myths is helpful, but not totally necessary.

One of my favorites, for sheer Icky But Awesome Factor, is Leda and the Swan. My class spent nearly an hour discussing it and I almost understand it.


A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless brea
Douglas Wilson
Frequently did not know what was going on, but enjoyed many wonderful phrases and images. An endless wood, full of Celtic twilight.
May 08, 2009 Libby rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of Irish legends and the metaphysical
Shelves: lush, sensual, spirit
Aaah W.B, you were my first love! The first poet that ever made me cry real tears purely from the beauty of words. I travelled from the other side of the world to visit your grave and leave you flowers as thanks.
It is very hard to pick a favourite poem but if pressed on the subject I guess it would be:

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I w
If it were possible to award a book six stars out of a possible five, I would award it for this volume. I purchased this book last month in Galway, Ireland, and believe that it is not yet available in the US. The book contains Yeats’ complete and unabridged verse, exclusive of his plays. All the poems are arranged chronologically, and if one knows the poet’s biography it is thus easy to recognize allusions in the verses to what might otherwise be obscure, greatly enhancing one’s understanding an ...more
Anne Nikoline
Jul 22, 2012 Anne Nikoline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of poetry
Recommended to Anne Nikoline by: no one
The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by William Butler Yeats has a gift for language even when the subject of his poetry devolves into repetition of Irish myths. His way with words is admirable, and even though I am not very religious, his poems about God and angles really got to me.

There is no doubt that he is a Shakespeare with his words, but he is still rather good and very enjoyable on rainy days. My favourite poem also happens to be written by Yeats and it goes like this: A mermaid found a sw
Feb 21, 2008 Mo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
He's conceited. He's an elitist. He's sexist. He's more than a little crazy. But he's also a genius so we'll forgive him all that.

That's what my Yeats teacher told me anyways!
I have given hourlong recitations of Yeats's poems, among the easiest to recall in English; for example, his tetrameters in the late "Under Ben Bulben" which contains his epitaph. I defy you to say this aloud three times without knowing most of it by heart: "Whether man die in his bed,/ Or the rifle knocks him dead,/ A brief parting from those dear/ Is the worst man has to fear." Ad his own epitaph is memorable, "Cast a cold eye/ On life, on death/ Horseman, pass by!" It is anti-conventional, s ...more
Nick Black
When you hear a slouch
In your neighborhood
What troubles your sight?
(I ain't afraid of no rough beasts!)
Claudia  Ciardi
There are in history so huge personalities, so creative and rich minds that they inlet at a deeper level the normal progress of arts and change without solution the direction of its stream.
Of Dante Eliot said: Dante’s is a visual imagination.
Of Yeats we can say that his poetry is visionary matter in a symbolic motion.
All Yeats’ art could be read as a “formula alchemica” and we’re led on this path of symbols which feeds the visual associations at any rank.
“The Wild Swans at Coole” celebrate the
Some beautiful poems on life, aging and love. Some of my favorites:

- The sad shepherd
- Ephemera
- Down by the salley gardens
- The white birds
- He wishes for the cloths of heaven
- Beggar to beggar cried
- To a child dancing in the wind
- Shepherd and goatherd
- A prayer for my daughter
- Meditations in time of civil war
- Words for music perhaps - XV Three things

Two poems I will quote:

He wishes for the cloths of heaven

Had I the heaves' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue
I have enjoyed the poetry of William Butler Yeats for many years as evidenced by my well-worn copy of his Complete Poems. But there is more to enjoy when considering this protean author for throughout his long life, William Butler Yeats produced important works in every literary genre, works of astonishing range, energy, erudition, beauty, and skill. His early poetry is memorable and moving. His poems and plays of middle age address the human condition with language that has entered our vocabula ...more
I discovered Years last year during a university English unit. I am not a big fan of poetry but something about Yeats really resonated with me.
Beautiful. I regularly return to this collection and reread them at random, out loud, to savor the language - a sign of poetry done right.
I still cannot read 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree' without being transported to another (better) place. Yeats' integral contains amazing verses such as 'When you are old and grey and full of sleep,' and poems such as 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death' which I cannot resist to quote below. The only problem with WB Yeats in that you cannot translate it to any other language. Well, OK, you cannot actually properly translate any good poetry, but WBY makes the case.

An Irish Airman Foresees His Deat
Yeats is the grumpy, head-shaking, Irish Grandpa I never had, and to be frank, that's probably something i'm slightly grateful for. If this anthology was personified, It would be a swan-headed elderly man shaking his walking stick and grimly staring at the outside world with scorn. Either that, or Dora the Explorer. Take your preference.

Self-isolating, graced with a rather evasive superiority complex, and often pessimistic to the core, it is Yeats' strong and rigid narrative voice that mainly pu
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
Found at-

There is a range to be found in the work of Yeats which owes much to the literary era he inhabited, one of transition towards modernism, which is mirrored in his own evolution as a poet, seen clearly here should one follow the the entries chronologically. However, Yeats himself was a trailblazer in many respects for this transition and his work is more than merely its portrait.

It is just as well appreciated for the rejuvenation of old forms and t
Frank Hickey

Yeats opens our eyes.

He shows us through myth and tall tale how he sees the


In spare matter-of-fact words, he shows how the poet's vision

makes everything possible.

There are no limits to the imagination.

The love poems such as "When You Are Old" or "The Pity Of Love"

show his genius.

He matches that with strident fighting poems that tell of the

struggle between England and Ireland.

But wars and politics will always fade.

His gift for word and metaphor stay with us always.

Readers new to Ye
Matthew Bellamy
If Yeats had only ever written the "Circus Animals' Desertion," he would be remembered as a fine poet. If he had written that and "Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen" he would be remembered as one of the greatest Irish poets. If he had written both of those and "Lapis Lazuli" he would be remembered as one of the 20th century's greatest poets. Add "Sailing to Byzantium," "The Tower," the "Double Vision of Michael Robartes," etc., and it becomes obvious the William Butler Yeats is the greatest English- ...more
Aug 08, 2009 Jake rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
When I was a junior in college minoring in music, I had to give a Voice Recital. In between my sets, I had a friend in the theatre department read some Yeats poetry. Yeats' poetry was as rich with ambiance and depth as any of the arias I sang.

I was introduced to Yeats's poetry by the movie Memphis Bell, which quotes from one of this poets greatest poems, "An Irish Airman Forsees His Death." The poem, during only a few moments of film time,makes a profound contribution to the movie's emotional i
Sailing To Byzantium

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
---Those dying generations---at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.

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,
My favorite poet, though he shares that spot with Eliot. This is the most comprehensive edition of his poems available in major bookstores, a fact that I can attest to after having to track it down twice after giving my copies away.

Yeats' meditations on aging are by far my favorite - though most people are more familiar with him than they know - "The Second Coming" alone contains at least eight lines which developed lives of their own in 20th century media.
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

El inicio de uno de los más grandes poemas en todos los tiempos, el poema de la inmortalidad, el deseo y el alma. Yeats puede ser no tan conocido fuera de su idioma, pero es un pl
Sarah Key
For the love of Crazy Jane!

It took the summer for me to work my way through this collection.

" I do not know if days
Or hours passed by, yet hold the morning rays
Shone many times among the glimmering flowers
Woven into her hair, before dark towers
Rose in the darkness, and the white surf gleamed
About them; and the horse of Faery screamed
And shivered, knowing the Isle of Many Fears,
Nor ceased until white Niamh stroked his ears
And named him by sweet names."
(from Book II of "The Wande
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William Butler Yeats (pronounced /ˈjeɪts/) was an Irish poet and dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years Yeats served as an Irish Senator for two terms. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and along with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn founded the Abbey Theatre, se ...more
More about W.B. Yeats...
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales Selected Poems Poetry, Drama and Prose Selected Poems and Four Plays The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore

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“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.”
“THAT crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea”
More quotes…