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A lonely impulse of delight.
All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.
An intellectual hate is the worst.
Beauty is truth, truth beauty--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Draw rein, draw breath,
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
- [Death : Life : Time]
I think it better that in times like these a poet's mouth be silent, for in truth we have no gift to set a statesman right.
In dreams begins responsibility.
Joy is the will which labors, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.
O what fine thought we had because we thought that the worst rogues and rascals had died out.
One should not lose one's temper unless one is certain of getting more and more angry to the end.
Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned.
The problem with some people is that when they aren't drunk they're sober.
'Tis the eternal law,
That first in beauty should be first in might.
We . . . are no petty people. We are one of the great stocks of Burke; we are the people of Swift, the people of Emmet, the people of Parnell. We have created most of the modern literature of this country. We have created the best of its political intelligence.
- in a speech in the Irish Senate, June 11, 1925
We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.
What lively lad most pleasured me
Of all that with me lay?
- Collected Poems (p. 270) [Love]
All things can tempt me from this craft of verse:
One time it was a woman's face, or worse--
The seeming needs of my fool-driven land;
Now nothing but comes readier to the hand
Than this accustomed toil.
- Collected Poems (p. 95) [Poetry]
When I was young,
I had not given a penny for a song
Did not the poet sing it with such airs
That one believed he had a sword upstairs.
- Collected Poems (p. 96) [Poetry]
I have believed the best of every man,
And find that to believe it is enough
To make a bad man show him at his best,
Or even a good man swing his lantern higher.
- Deirdre [Belief]
I am still of opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mood--sex and the dead.
- The Letters of W .B. Yeats [Study]
I heard the old, old men say,
"Every thing alters,
And one by one we drop away."
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn trees
By the waters.
I heard the old, old men say,
"All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the waters."
- The Old Men admiring themselves in the Water
Far off, most secret, and invilate Rose.
Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those
Who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre
Or in the wine vat, dwell beyond the stir
And tumult of defeated dreams.
- The Secret Rose [Roses]
Choose your companions from the best; Who draws a bucket with the rest soon topples down the hill.
- To a Young Beauty [Friends]