Selected Poems and Four Plays

Overview

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 of Jonathan Swift's rigorous idealism, baffling love relationships, and tragic madness. The collection profits from recent scholarship that has ...

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Selected Poems And Four Plays

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Overview

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 of Jonathan Swift's rigorous idealism, baffling love relationships, and tragic madness. The collection profits from recent scholarship that has helped to establish Yeats's most reliable texts, in the order set by the poet himself. And his powerful lyrical sequences are amply represented, culminating in the selection from Last Poems and Two Plays, which reaches its climax in the brilliant poetic plays The Death of Cuchulain and Purgatory.
Scholars, students, and all who delight in Yeats's varied music and sheer quality will rejoice in this expanded edition. As the introduction observes, "Early and late he has the simple, indispensable gift of enchanting the ear....He was also the poet who, while very much of his own day in Ireland, spoke best to the people of all countries. And though he plunged deep into arcane studies, his themes are most clearly the general ones of life and death, love and hate, man's condition, and history's meanings. He began as a sometimes effete post-Romantic, heir to the pre-Raphaelites, and then, quite naturally, became a leading British Symbolist; but he grew at last into the boldest, most vigorous voice of this century." Selected Poems and Four Plays represents the essential achievement of the greatest twentieth-century poet to write in English.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684826462
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 9/9/1996
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 447,365
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

from Crossways

(1889)

THE CLOAK, THE BOAT, AND THE SHOES

'What do you make so fair and bright?'

'I make the cloak of Sorrow:

O lovely to see in all men's sight

Shall be the cloak of Sorrow,

In all men's sight.'

'What do you build with sails for flight?'

'I build a boat for Sorrow:

O swift on the seas all day and night

Saileth the rover Sorrow,

All day and night.'

'What do you weave with wool so white?'

'I weave the shoes of Sorrow:

Soundless shall be the footfall light

In all men's ears of Sorrow,

Sudden and light.'

(1885)

EPHEMERA

'Your eyes that once were never weary of mine

Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,

Because our love is waning.'

And then she: 'Although our love is waning, let us stand

By the lone border of the lake once more,

Together in that hour of gentleness

When the poor tired child, Passion, falls asleep:

How far away the stars seem, and how far

Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!'

Pensive they paced along the faded leaves,

While slowly he whose hand held hers replied:

'Passion has often worn our wandering hearts.'

The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves

Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once

A rabbit old and lame limped down the path;

Autumn was over him: and now they stood

On the lone border of the lake once more:

Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves

Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes,

In bosom and hair.

'Ah, do not mourn,' he said,

'That we are tired, for other loves await us;

Hate on and love through unrepining hours.

Before us lies eternity; our souls

Are love, and a continual farewell.'

(1889)

THE STOLEN CHILD

Where dips the rocky highland

Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,

There lies a leafy island

Where flapping herons wake

The drowsy water-rats;

There we've hid our faery vats,

Full of berries

And of reddest stolen cherries.

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.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses

The dim grey sands with light,

Far off by furthest Rosses

We foot it all the night,

Weaving olden dances,

Mingling hands and mingling glances

Till the moon has taken flight;

To and fro we leap

And chase the frothy bubbles,

While the world is full of troubles

And is anxious in its sleep.

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.

Where the wandering water gushes

From the hills above Glen-Car,

In pools among the rushes

That scarce could bathe a star,

We seek for slumbering trout

And whispering in their ears

Give them unquiet dreams;

Leaning softly out

From ferns that drop their tears

Over the young streams.

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.

Away with us he's going,

The solemn-eyed:

He'll hear no more the lowing

Of the calves on the warm hillside

Or the kettle on the hob

Sing peace into his breast,

Or see the brown mice bob

Round and round the oatmeal-chest.

For he comes, the human child,

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

From a world more full of weeping than he can

understand.

(1886)

TO AN ISLE IN THE WATER

Shy one, shy one,

Shy one of my heart,

She moves in the firelight

Pensively apart.

She carries in the dishes,

And lays them in a row.

To an isle in the water

With her would I go.

She carries in the candles,

And lights the curtained room,

Shy in the doorway

And shy in the gloom;

And shy as a rabbit,

Helpful and shy.

To an isle in the water

With her would I fly.

(1889)

DOWN BY THE SALLEY GARDENS

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;

She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.

She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;

But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,

And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.

She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;

But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

(1889)

Foreword and introduction copyright © 1996 by M. L. Rosenthal

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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword to the Fourth Edition

Introduction: The Poetry of Yeats

from Crossways (1889)

The Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes

Ephemera

The Stolen Child

To an Isle in the Water

Down by the Salley Gardens

from The Rose (1893)

To the Rose upon the Rood of Time

Fergus and the Druid

Cuchulain's Fight with the Sea

The Rose of the World

A Faery Song

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

The Pity of Love

The Sorrow of Love

When You Are Old

A Dream of Death

Who Goes with Fergus?

The Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland

The Two Trees

To Ireland in the Coming Times

from The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)

The Hosting of the Sidhe

The Moods

The Unappeasable Host

Into the Twilight

The Song of Wandering Aengus

The Song of the Old Mother

He Bids His Beloved Be at Peace

He Reproves the Curlew

To His Heart, Bidding It Have No Fear

The Cap and Bells

The Valley of the Black Pig

He Hears the Cry of the Sedge

The Lover Pleads with His Friends for Old Friends

He Wishes His Beloved Were Dead

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

from In the Seven Woods (1904)

The Folly of Being Comforted

Adam's Curse

Red Hanrahan's Song About Ireland

The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water

from The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1910)

A Woman Homer Sung

Words

No Second Troy

Against Unworthy Praise

The Fascination of What's Difficult

A Drinking Song

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

These Are the Clouds

All Things Can Tempt Me

Brown Penny

from Responsibilities (1914)

[Pardon, Old Fathers]

September 1913

To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing

Paudeen

To a Shade

When Helen Lived

The Three Hermits

Beggar to Beggar Cried

Running to Paradise

I. The Witch

II. The Peacock

I. To a Child Dancing in the Wind

II. Two Years Later

A Memory of Youth

Fallen Majesty

The Cold Heaven

That the Night Come

The Magi

The Dolls

A Coat

from The Wild Swans at Coole (1919)

The Wild Swans at Coole

In Memory of Major Robert Gregory

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

The Collar-Bone of a Hare

Solomon to Sheba

To a Young Beauty

The Scholars

Tom O'Roughley

Lines Written in Dejection

The Dawn

On Woman

The Fisherman

The Hawk

Memory

The People

A Thought from Propertius

A Deep-Sworn Vow

Presences

On Being Asked for a War Poem

UPON A DYING LADY:

I. Her Courtesy

II. Certain Artists Bring Her Dolls and Drawings

III. She Turns the Dolls' Faces to the Wall

IV. The End of Day

V. Her Race

VI. Her Courage

VII. Her Friends Bring Her a Christmas Tree

Ego Dominus Tuus

The Phases of the Moon

The Cat and the Moon

The Saint and the Hunchback

Two Songs of a Fool

The Double Vision of Michael Robartes

from Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921)

Solomon and the Witch

An Image from a Past Life

Easter, 1916

On a Political Prisoner

The Leaders of the Crowd

Towards Break of Day

Demon and Beast

The Second Coming

A Prayer for My Daughter

A Meditation in Time of War

Calvary (1921)

from The Tower (1928)

Sailing to Byzantium

The Tower

MEDITATIONS IN TIME OF CIVIL WAR:

I. Ancestral Houses

II. My House

III. My Table

IV. My Descendants

V. The Road at My Door

VI. The Stare's Nest by My Window

VII. I See Phantoms of Hatred and of the Heart's Fullness and of the Coming Emptiness

NINETEEN HUNDRED AND NINETEEN

Two Songs from a Play

Fragments

Leda and the Swan

Among School Children

from A MAN YOUNG AND OLD:

I. First Love

IV. The Death of the Hare

IX. The Secrets of the Old

All Souls' Night

from The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933)

In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz

Death

A Dialogue of Self and Soul

Blood and the Moon

Veronica's Napkin

The Nineteenth Century and After

Three Movements

Coole and Ballylee, 1931

For Anne Gregory

Swift's Epitaph

The Choice

Byzantium

The Mother of God

Vacillation

Quarrel in Old Age

Remorse for Intemperate Speech
from WORDS FOR MUSIC PERHAPS:

I. Crazy Jane and the Bishop

II. Crazy Jane Reproved

III. Crazy Jane on the Day of Judgment

IV. Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman

V. Crazy Jane on God

VI. Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop

VII. Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks at the Dancers

VIII. Girl's Song

IX. Young Man's Song

X. Her Anxiety

XV. Three Things

XVI. Lullaby

XVII. After Long Silence

XX. 'I Am of Ireland'

XXII. Tom the Lunatic

XXV. The Delphic Oracle upon Plotinus

from A WOMAN YOUNG AND OLD:

III. A First Confession

VI. Chosen

IX. A Last Confession

The Words Upon the Window-Pane (1934)

from A Full Moon in March:

"Parnell's Funeral" and Other Poems (1935)

Parnell's Funeral

Church and State

from SUPERNATURAL SONGS:

I. Ribh at the Tomb of Baile and Aillinn

III. Ribh in Ecstasy

IV. There

VI. He and She

VIII. Whence Had They Come?

IX. The Four Ages of Man

XII. Meru

from New Poems (1938)

The Gyres

Lapis Lazuli

The Three Bushes

The Lady's First Song

The Lady's Second Song

The Lady's Third Song

The Lover's Song

The Chambermaid's First Song

The Chambermaid's Second Song

An Acre of Grass

What Then?

Beautiful Lofty Things

Come Gather Round Me, Parnellites

The Wild Old Wicked Man

The Great Day

Parnell

The Spur

A Model for the Laureate

The Old Stone Cross

Those Images

The Municipal Gallery Revisited

from On the Boiler (1939)

Why Should Not Old Men Be Mad?

Crazy Jane on the Mountain

A Statesman's Holiday

from Last Poems and Two Plays (1939)

Under Ben Bulben

The Black Tower

Cuchulain Comforted

from Three Marching Songs

The Statues

News for the Delphic Oracle

Long-legged Fly

John Kinsella's Lament for Mrs. Mary Moore

The Apparitions

Man and the Echo

The Circus Animals' Desertion

Politics

The Death of Cuchulain (1939)

Purgatory (1939)

Notes

Glossary of Names and Places

Selective Bibliography

Index to Titles

Index of First Lines of Poems

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