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Selected Poems and Four Plays
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Selected Poems and Four Plays

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,462 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Since its first appearance in 1962, M. L. Rosenthal's classic selection of Yeats's poems and plays has attracted hundreds of thousands of readers. This newly revised edition includes 211 poems and 4 plays. It adds The Words Upon the Window-Pane, one of Yeats's most startling dramatic works in its realistic use of a seance as the setting for an eerily powerful reenactment o ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published September 9th 1996 by Scribner
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Oh Yeats, Oh Yeats,
Your words poured into my head
As water through a sieve;
You bade Swift undead,
Mourned Ireland's plight,
And waited the soul's reprieve.

But neither verse nor play
Could hold my weary eye.

So get thee behind me,
Upon the shelf I send you back;
Get thee behind me,
There are other books to crack.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have always been more acquainted with unorthodox and “avant-garde” literature. Lately I have been going back and reading some of the more traditional classics. I must say, at first I wanted to pull my eyes out while reading Yeats. He definitely has an unhealthy obsession with swift and although Keats, who as a poet is good, I feel he draws too much in his early writings from the deficient pathos I find in his works. Therefore as a self proclaimed “neo-romantic” I struggled through his early wr ...more
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
still the best reading edition.
Feb 06, 2013 marked it as to-read
“Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.”

O Do Not Love Too Long

SWEETHEART, do not love too long:
I loved long and long,
And grew to be out of fashion
Like an old song.
All through the years of our youth
Neither could have known
Their own thought from the other's,
We were so much at one.
But O, in a minute she changed -
O do not love too long,
Or you will grow out of fashion
Like an old song.

The Lover T
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This elegant collection of the poet's work takes us from his early, idealistic times, to his final days and mortally aware literature. Yeats's poetry is hyper-representative of Ireland, oftentimes exhibiting anthropomorphic figures of the country in his tale-like sing-song rhyming structures and poetic plots. Interspersed throughout, though, are his heavy Irish revolutionary thoughts, his lover's laments (damn you, Maude Gonne), and his pensive final summation of life and art.

There are some trul
Eveline Chao
Jun 01, 2008 marked it as to-read
I'm actually not reading this much now so maybe it shouldn't be in my currently reading, but I had a couple weeks where I had really bad insomnia and was reading this to help me get to sleep. I always had a vague idea that I probably liked Yeats but wasn't actually very familiar with his work, and then I read the intro to this book and I'm glad I did because it's basically like, "Yeats makes gazillions of references and allusions to super obscure things that you aren't gonna know, and neither do ...more
Ani Vardanyan
I couldn't find the exact e-book called just "Poems" from "Gutenberg" project with some plays and other poetry, which I am currently reading, but this one seems to be the closest to it with its content and volume.

So, I just read "The Countess Cathleen" and several poems about Fergus and The Druid and Cuchulain and his son ("The Death of Cuchulain"), and I have to say this was one of the most absorbing reads I have ever had in my life. I would never expect that I will enjoy reading a play so much
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
M.L. Rosenthal has edited and written a most useful introduction to this 4th edition of William Butler Yeats – Selected Poems and Four Plays. What a delight it always is to return to Yeats after the blandness and mediocrity of much of today’s poetry. I suppose each age has its share of uninspired verse; we simply have the disadvantage of not yet having outlived ours. I greatly enjoyed rereading so many favorite poems in this edition, sometimes savoring entire works, more often sitting contentedl ...more
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Jun 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I read this collection too fast, a couple poems a night just before going to sleep, and that's not the way to read Yeats. You need resources nearby for looking up his references (unless you have a really strong background in classical literature, Irish mythology, and the past century and a half or so of the history of Ireland) to fully appreciate many of the poems in this collection.

Nevertheless, much of what you can understand and some of what you can't, you are stirred by and love.
Bobbi Martens
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some quite excellent poetry, some not so much. Reminds me some of T S Eliot. Many excellent one-or-two-liners in the middle of mediocre work. Lots of literary allusions, philosophical thoughts, historical mentions and theological stuff.
Jan 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
WBY is probably my favorite poet (it's close w/ Keats and Eliot). I think this collection gives a good intro to his works. My personal favorites are the Byzantium poems, which contemplate the role of the artist v/v death (cf. Shakespeare's sonnets).
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to IOSEPHVS by: Bono Vox of O'Connell Street
Shelves: 2014, favourites
This collection was my introduction to Yeats, the Irish author of gorgeous and powerful verse that has deeply moved me for two decades. I'm forever grateful my girlfriend (now my wife) bought it for me.
Many was the dreamy sigh I spent over this collection of poems and plays. Oh, darling William, keeper of my collegiate heart!
Feb 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
One poem: Adam's Curse.
Thom Dunn
[My edition has THREE plays, not FOUR. Different cover, as revised, 3rd edition, 1986.
Maureen McKenna
May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
The Wilde Swans at Coole... my favorite
Sep 14, 2009 added it
Selected Poems And Four Plays by William Butler Yeats (1996)
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I always liked Yeats. But I got older. Then I truly loved Yeats.
Mia Morrison
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I sorely enjoyed this book, I love Yeats and having a chance to again re-read some of his works was a nice change of pace.
Oct 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
i went through a irish literature phase in college. i read as much as possible however i feel like i have retained little from it.
Feb 16, 2011 rated it liked it
i dont like poetry. but this isn't so bad yet.
Jun 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
No matter who you are or what your interests, I can find at least one poem here that will move you deeply.
Stephanie Marie
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modernism
a powerful glimpse into what was then the future of literature, with an added history lesson and analysis of the [still ongoing:] Irish-English political struggle.
Laura-nassidesa Eschbaugh
There are good annotated remarks, and the excellent service resources to continue to reading Years.
Apr 10, 2007 rated it did not like it
Hate it! all of it!
Jan 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Most certainly deserves closer attention than the one read through I gave it. Many poems I've never read before but found very moving.
Josh Rojas
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Apr 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
he's the man
Elizabeth Ehrhardt
rated it it was amazing
Jul 12, 2013
Dave Carder
rated it it was amazing
Mar 29, 2013
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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
“For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.”
“Jonathan Swift made a soul for the gentlemen of this city by hating his neighbor as himself.” 4 likes
More quotes…