William Butler Yeats

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
– William Butler Yeats

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.
– William Butler Yeats

There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet.
– William Butler Yeats

We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us.
– William Butler Yeats

The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.
– William Butler Yeats

We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it
may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a
fiercer life because of our quiet.
– 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.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and sigh.
– William Butler Yeats

I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
– William Butler Yeats

O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
– William Butler Yeats

Things said or done long years ago,
Or things I did not do or say
But thought that I might say or do,
Weigh me down, and not a day
But something is recalled,
My conscience or my vanity appalled.
– William Butler Yeats

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
– William Butler Yeats

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
– William Butler Yeats

Man is in love and loves what vanishes, what more is there to say?
– William Butler Yeats

One should say before sleeping: I have lived many lives. I have been a slave and a prince.
Many a beloved has sat upon my knee and I have sat upon the knees of many a beloved.
Everything that has been shall be again.
– William Butler Yeats

The mystical life is at the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write.
– William Butler Yeats

All women dote upon an idle man
Although their children need a rich estate.
No man has ever lived that had enough
Of children’s gratitude or woman’s love.
– William Butler Yeats

The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
– William Butler Yeats

It’s not a writer’s business to hold opinions.
– William Butler Yeats

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands.
– William Butler Yeats

I have found nothing half so good
As my long-planned half solitude,
Where I can sit up half the night
With some friend that has the wit
Not to allow his looks to tell
When I am unintelligible.
– William Butler Yeats

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.
– William Butler Yeats

The only business of the head in the world is to bow a ceaseless obeisance to the heart.
– William Butler Yeats

In dreams begin responsibilities.
– William Butler Yeats

Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.
– 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

This country will not always be an uncomfortable place for a country gentleman to live in,
and it is most important that we should keep in this country a certain leisured class. I am
afraid that Labour disagrees with me in that. On this matter I am a crusted Tory. I am of the
opinion of the ancient Jewish book which says, “there is no wisdom without leisure.”
– William Butler Yeats

All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.
– William Butler Yeats

Words are always getting conventionalized to some secondary meaning. It is one of the
works of poetry to take the truants in custody and bring them back to their right senses.
– William Butler Yeats

One day when I was twenty-three or twenty-four this sentence seemed to form in my head,
without my willing it, much as sentences form when we are half-asleep: “Hammer your
thoughts into unity.” For days I could think of nothing else, and for years I tested all I did by
that sentence.
– William Butler Yeats

The friends that have it I do wrong
Whenever I remake a song
Should know what issue is at stake,
It is myself that I remake.
– William Butler Yeats

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.
– William Butler Yeats

If suffering brings wisdom, I would wish to be less wise.
– William Butler Yeats

A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him up for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.
– 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

Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of a heart.
– William Butler Yeats

The land of faery,
Where nobody gets old and godly and grave,
Where nobody gets old and crafty and wise,
Where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue.
– William Butler Yeats

The blessed spirits must be sought within the self which is common to all.
– William Butler Yeats

Better go down to your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these.
– 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