William Butler Yeats biography :The 13th of June 1865 marked the entry of Irish poet, dramatist, mystic and civil servant, William Butler Yeats into the world. Yeats’ father was John Butler Yeats, and his mother was Susan Mary Pollexfen. Their family was very artistically inclined. His brother was a well-known painter, and both his sisters were actively involved in the Arts & Crafts movement.
From Dublin, the family moved to London. Yeats was initially educated at home, but in 1877, he was able to enter the Godolphin School. He studied there for four years but was considered by his masters as a mediocre student. The family returned to Dublin in 1880 and in 1881, Yeats continued his education at the Erasmus Smith High School until he left in 1883.
He started writing poetry between these periods and in 1885, his first poems were published in the Dublin University Review. His earlier works include Irish Fairy Tales (1892), The Celtic Twilight (1893), and The Wanderings Of Oisin And Other Poems (1889).
Yeats returned to Ireland in 1896 and reformed, first the Irish Literary Society; followed by the National Literary Society. In1897, he co-founded the Irish Literary Theater. He met and married Georgie Hyde-Lee in 1917, and together, they collaborated on a book on marriage entitled, A Vision (1925).
In 1923, Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and in 1934, he and Rudyard Kipling received the Gothenburg Prize for Poetry. His autobiography, Autobiographies of William Butler Yeats was published in 1938.
Yeats suffered from several illnesses in his old age, and on 28 January 1939, Yeats was laid to rest. He was 73.
When You Are Old
by William Butler Yeats
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Here is another one.
HE REMEMBERS FORGOTTEN BEAUTY
by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
- HEN my arms wrap you round I press
- My heart upon the loveliness
- That has long faded from the world;
- The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
- In shadowy pools, when armies fled;
- The love-tales wrought with silken thread
- By dreaming ladies upon cloth
- That has made fat the murderous moth;
- The roses that of old time were
- Woven by ladies in their hair,
- The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
- Through many a sacred corridor
- Where such grey clouds of incense rose
- That only God's eyes did not close:
- For that pale breast and lingering hand
- Come from a more dream-heavy land,
- A more dream-heavy hour than this;
- And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
- I hear white Beauty sighing, too,
- For hours when all must fade like dew,
- But flame on flame, and deep on deep,
- Throne over throne where in half sleep,
- Their swords upon their iron knees,
- Brood her high lonely mysteries.