The Yeats Reader: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose (Revised Edition)

The Yeats Reader: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose (Revised Edition)

by William Butler Yeats, Richard J. Finneran

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Throughout his long life, William Butler Yeats -- Irish writer and premier lyric poet in English in this century -- 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 vocabulary for cataclysmic personal and world events. The writings of his final years offer wisdom, courage, humor, and sheer technical virtuosity. T. S. Eliot pronounced Yeats "the greatest poet of our time -- certainly the greatest in this language, and so far as I am able to judge, in any language" and "one of the few whose history is the history of their own time, who are a part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them."

The Yeats Reader is the most comprehensive single volume to display the full range of Yeats's talents. It presents more than one hundred and fifty of his best-known poems -- more than any other compendium -- plus eight plays, a sampling of his prose tales, and excerpts from his published autobiographical and critical writings. In addition, an appendix offers six early texts of poems that Yeats later revised. Also included are selections from the memoirs left unpublished at his death and complete introductions written for a projected collection that never came to fruition. These are supplemented by unobtrusive annotation and a chronology of the life.

Yeats was a protean writer and thinker, and few writers so thoroughly reward a reader's efforts to essay the whole of their canon. This volume is an excellent place to begin that enterprise, to renew an old acquaintance with one of world literature's great voices, or to continue a lifelong interest in the phenomenon of literary genius.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451673760
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 11/29/2011
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 608,171
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

The late Richard J. Finneran was general editor, with George Mills Harper, of The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats for many years; series editor of The Poems in the Cornell Yeats; and editor of Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies, among other works. He held the Hodges Chair of Excellence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; was a past president of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association; and served as executive director of the Society for Textual Scholarship.

William Butler Yeats is generally considered to be Ireland’s greatest poet, living or dead, and one of the most important literary figures of the twentieth century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

Table of Contents





From Crossways (1889)

The Song of the Happy Shepherd

The Sad Shepherd

The Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes

The Indian to his Love

The Falling of the Leaves


The Stolen Child

To an Isle in the Water

Down by the Salley Gardens

The Meditation of the Old Fisherman

From The Rose (1893)

To the Rose upon the Rood of Time

Fergus and the Druid

The Rose of the World

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

The Pity of Love

The Sorrow of Love

When You are Old

The White Birds

Who goes with Fergus?

The Man who dreamed of Faeryland

The Dedication to a Book of Stories selected from the Irish Novelists

The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner

The Two Trees

To Ireland in the Coming Times

From The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)

The Hosting of the Sidhe

The Lover tells of the Rose in his Heart

The Fish

The Song of Wandering Aengus

The Lover mourns for the Loss of Love

He reproves the Curlew

He remembers forgotten Beauty

A Poet to his Beloved

He gives his Beloved certain Rhymes

To his Heart, bidding it have no Fear

The Cap and Bells

He hears the Cry of the Sedge

He thinks of Those who have spoken Evil of his Beloved

The Lover pleads with his Friend for Old Friends

He wishes his Beloved were Dead

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

From In the Seven Woods (1903)

In the Seven Woods

The Arrow

The Folly of being Comforted

Never give all the Heart

Adam's Curse

Red Hanrahan's Song about Ireland

The Old Men admiring Themselves in the Water

O do not Love Too Long

From The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1910)

His Dream

A Woman Homer sung


No Second Troy


The Fascination of What's Difficult

A Drinking Song

The Coming of Wisdom with Time

On hearing that the Students of our New University have joined the Agitation against Immoral Literature

To a Poet, who would have me Praise certain Bad Poets, Imitators of His and Mine

The Mask

Upon a House shaken by the Land Agitation

All things can tempt me

Brown Penny

From Responsibilities (1914)

[Introductory Rhymes]

To a Wealthy Man who promised a second Subscription to the Dublin Municipal Gallery if it were proved the People wanted Pictures


To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing


When Helen lived

On Those that hated 'The Playboy of the Western World,'

The Three Beggars

Beggar to Beggar cried

The Witch

The Peacock

To a Child dancing in the Wind

Two Years Later

A Memory of Youth

Fallen Majesty


The Cold Heaven

That the Night come

The Magi

The Dolls

A Coat

[Closing Rhyme]

From The Wild Swans at Coole (1917)

The Wild Swans at Coole

In Memory of Major Robert Gregory

An Irish Airman foresees his Death

Men improve with the Years

The Living Beauty

A Song

The Scholars

Lines written in Dejection

On Woman

The Fisherman


The People

Broken Dreams

A Deep-sworn Vow

The Balloon of the Mind

On being asked for a War Poem

Ego Dominus Tuus

The Double Vision of Michael Robartes

From Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921)

Michael Robartes and the Dancer

Easter, 1916

Sixteen Dead Men

The Rose Tree

On a Political Prisoner

The Second Coming

A Prayer for my Daughter

To be carved on a Stone at Thoor Ballylee

dFrom The Tower (1928)

Sailing to Byzantium

The Tower

Meditations in Time of Civil War

Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen

A Prayer for my Son


Leda and the Swan

Among School Children

From 'Oedipus at Colonus'

All Souls' Night

From The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933)

In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz

A Dialogue of Self and Soul

Coole Park,

Coole and Ballylee,

The Choice

Mohini Chatterjee



Crazy Jane and the Bishop

Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop

Her Anxiety


After Long Silence

Father and Child


Her Vision in the Wood

A Last Confession

From the 'Antigone'

From Parnell's Funeral and Other Poems (1935)

Parnell's Funeral

A Prayer for Old Age

Ribh at the Tomb of Baile and Aillinn

The Four Ages of Man


From New Poems (1938)

The Gyres

Lapis Lazuli

Imitated from the Japanese

An Acre of Grass

What Then?

Beautiful Lofty Things

Come Gather Round Me Parnellites

The Great Day


The Spur

The Municipal Gallery Re-visited

Are You Content

From [Last Poems, 1938-39]

Under Ben Bulben

The Black Tower

Cuchulain Comforted

The Statues

Long-legged Fly

High Talk

Man and the Echo

The Circus Animals' Desertion



[Dates and order follow The Plays (2001)]

Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902)

On Baile's Strand (1904)

Deirdre (1907)

At the Hawk's Well (1917)

The Words upon the Window-pane (1930)

The Resurrection (1931)

Purgatory (1938)

The Death of Cuchulain (1939)

Autobiographical Writings

From Reveries Over Childhood and Youth (1916)

From The Trembling of the Veil (1922)

From Book I: Four Years, 1887-1891

From Book II: Ireland After Parnell

From Book III: Hodos Chameliontos

From Book IV: The Tragic Generation

From Book V: The Stirring of the Bones

From Dramatis Personae (1935)

From The Bounty of Sweden (1925)

From Memoirs (Written 1916-17, Published 1972)

From Journal (Written 1909-30, Published 1972)

From Pages from a Diary Written in Nineteen Hundred and Thirty (1944)

Critical Writings

From Ideas of Good and Evil (1903)

What is 'Popular Poetry'?

From Magic

William Blake and the Imagination

The Symbolism of Poetry

Ireland and the Arts

From Samhain (1903)

The Reform of the Theatre

From Samhain (1908)

First Principles

From The Cutting of an Agate (1912)

The Tragic Theatre

From Per Amica Silentia Lunae (1918)

From Anima Hominis

From Anima Mundi

From A Vision (1925, 1937)

From Introduction

From Book I: The Great Wheel

From Part I: The Principal Symbol

From Part II: Examination of the Wheel

From Part III: The Twenty-eight Incarnations

From Book V: Dove or Swan

Essays for the Scribner Edition (1937)


Introduction to Essays

Introduction to Plays

From On the Boiler (1939)

From Preliminaries

Prose Fiction

From The Celtic Twilight (1893, 1902)

'Dust Hath Closed Helen's Eye'

Regina, Regina Pigmeorum, Veni

The Adoration of the Magi (1897)

From Stories of Red Hanrahan (1905)

Red Hanrahan

The Death of Hanrahan


First Published Texts of Six Poems


A Note on the Notes

A Note on the Text

Notes to the Poems

Notes to the Plays

Notes to Autobiographical Writings

Notes to Critical Writings

Notes to Prose Fiction

Customer Reviews