Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Motivational quotes by William Butler Yeats on friendship, education, life, joy, beauty and tragedy.

100 Inspirational Quotes By W.B. Yeats That Will Give You New Perspective Of Life

Quick Facts

Famous As: Poet & Dramatist

Born On: June 13, 1865

Died On: January 28, 1939

Born In: Ireland

Died At Age: 73

 A list of the greatest Irish poets and litterateurs of all time cannot go without the mention of William Butler Yeats. A Nobel laureate, Yeats was an indomitable literary figure of the 20th century who eventually became a pillar of British and Irish literary establishments. He served as one of the founders of the Abbey Theatre and was a chief playwright until John Synge. Interestingly, though Yeats received Nobel Prize chiefly for his dramatic works, his significance today however rests on his lyric achievement. He is one of the few writers whose most prolific works came in after the coveted Nobel Prize. Yeats later works comprising of ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’, ‘Michael Robartes and the Dancer’, ‘The Tower’, ‘The Winding Stair and Other Poems’ and ‘Last Poems and Plays’ made him one of the most outstanding and influential twentieth-century poets. Unlike other modernists of his era, Yeats was a master of traditional style. He used allusive imagery and symbolic structures throughout his life. His works are based on recurrent themes that are the contrast of art and life, physical and spiritual masks, cyclical theories of life and the ideal of beauty and ceremony contrasting with the hubbub of modern life. Even today, his poetry remains highly popular and has been repeatedly adapted and rediscovered by new literary and performance movements. However, the rich legacy of poetry is not the only thing that Yeats left behind after him. He also gave the world some of the most meaningful collection of quotes that have given readers a new perspective and a new vision to life and values. Explore this section and brief yourself.
Listed In:

I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W B Yeats

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

W B Yeats

For he would be thinking of love Till the stars had run away And the shadows eaten the moon.

W B Yeats

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.

W B Yeats

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

W B 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.

W B 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.

W B Yeats

Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.

W B 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." (Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven)

W B Yeats

What can be explained is not poetry.

W B Yeats

Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.

W B 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.

W B Yeats

There is another world, but it is in this one.

W B Yeats

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.

W B Yeats

In dreams begin responsibilities.

W B Yeats

Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet.

W B Yeats

...I'm looking for the face I had, before the world was made...

W B Yeats

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

W B Yeats

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.

W B Yeats

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.

W B Yeats

There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet.

W B Yeats

I bring you with reverent hands The books of my numberless dreams.

W B Yeats

The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.

W B Yeats

To long a sacrifice can make a stone of a heart

W B Yeats

All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.

W B Yeats

Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold.

W B Yeats

Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned By those who are not entirely beautiful.

W B 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

W B Yeats

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

W B Yeats

I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere among the clouds above; those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.

W B Yeats

We can only begin to live when we conceive life as Tragedy.

W B Yeats

Wine enters through the mouth, Love, the eyes. I raise the glass to my mouth, I look at you, I sigh.

W B Yeats

Myself I must remake.

W B Yeats

Everything exists, everything is true and the earth is just a bit of dust beneath our feet.

W B Yeats

Literature is always personal, always one man's vision of the world, one man's experience, and it can only be popular when men are ready to welcome the visions of others.

W B Yeats

I whispered, 'I am too young,' and then, 'I am old enough'; wherefore I threw a penny to find out if I might love.

W B Yeats

We taste and feel and see the truth. We do not reason ourselves into it.

W B Yeats

My wretched dragon is perplexed.

W B Yeats

Hearts are not to be had as a gift, hearts are to be earned.

W B Yeats

People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.

W B Yeats

Love comes in at the eye.

W B Yeats

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.

W B Yeats

It is so many years before one can believe enough in what one feels even to know what the feeling is

W B Yeats

Think where man's glory Most begins and ends And say my glory was That I had such friends.

W B Yeats

Out of Ireland have we come. Great hatred, little room, Maimed us at the start. I carry from my mother's womb A fanatic heart.

W B Yeats

O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance?

W B Yeats

It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield

W B Yeats

Sometimes my feet are tired and my hands are quiet, but there is no quiet in my heart.

W B Yeats

And softness came from the starlight and filled me full to the bone.

W B Yeats

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

W B Yeats

An intellectual hatred is the worst.

W B Yeats

One loses, as one grows older, something of the lightness of one's dreams; one begins to take life up in both hands, and to care more for the fruit than the flower, and that is no great loss perhaps.

W B Yeats

Everything that's lovely is But a brief, dreamy kind of delight.

W B Yeats

I kiss you and kiss you, With arms around my own, Ah, how shall I miss you, When, dear, you have grown.

W B Yeats

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold...

W B Yeats

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

W B Yeats

Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise.

W B Yeats

God guard me from those thoughts men think In the mind alone.

W B Yeats

Now that my ladder's gone, I must lie down where all my ladders start, In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.

W B Yeats

What do we know but that we face one another in this place?

W B Yeats

Ecstasy is from the contemplation of things vaster than the individual and imperfectly seen perhaps, by all those that still live.

W B Yeats

Where there is nothing, there is God.

W B Yeats

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.

W B Yeats

Too long a sacrifice Can make a stone of the heart. Oh, when may it suffice?

W B Yeats

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet's wings.

W B Yeats

I am still of [the] opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mood--sex and the dead.

W B 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.

W B Yeats

And I will find some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,/ Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings...

W B Yeats

I heard the old, old, men say 'all that's beautiful drifts away, like the waters.

W B Yeats

When one gets quiet, then something wakes up inside one, something happy and quiet like the stars.

W B Yeats

I think all happiness depends on the energy to assume the mask of some other life, on a re-birth as something not one's self.

W B Yeats

I went out to the hazelwood because a fire was in my head.

W B 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.

W B Yeats

For the winds that awakened the stars are blowing through my blood.

W B Yeats

I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping...I hear it in the deep heart's core.

W B Yeats

A lonely impulse of delight

W B Yeats

Fairies in Ireland are sometimes as big as we are, sometimes bigger, and sometimes, as I have been told, about three feet high.

W B Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

W B Yeats

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;...

W B Yeats

I must lie down where all the ladders start, in the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

W B Yeats

We had fed the heart on fantasies, The heart's grown brutal from the fare, More substance in our enmities Than in our love

W B Yeats

Time drops in decay Like a candle burnt out. And the mountains and woods Have their day, have their day; But, kindly old rout Of the fire-born moods, You pass not away.

W B Yeats

We have fallen in the dreams the ever-living Breathe on the tarnished mirror of the world, And then smooth out with ivory hands and sigh.

W B Yeats

The blessed spirits must be sought within the self which is common to all

W B Yeats

Cast a cold eye on life, on death Horseman pass by

W B Yeats

I hate journalists. There is nothing in them but tittering jeering emptiness. They have all made what Dante calls the Great Refusal. The shallowest people on the ridge of the earth.

W B Yeats

The tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul.

W B Yeats

Hearts with one purpose alone/Through summer and winter seem/Enchanted to a stone/To trouble the living stream.

W B Yeats

I spit into the face of Time That has transfigured me.

W B Yeats

Nor dread nor hope attend A dying animal; A man awaits his end Dreading and hoping all.

W B Yeats

The Irishman sustains himself during brief periods of joy by the knowledge that tragedy is just around the corner.

W B Yeats

Cuchulain stirred, Stared on the horses of the sea, and heard The cars of battle and his own name cried; And fought with the invulnerable tide.

W B Yeats

How but in custom and in ceremony are innocence and beauty born?

W B Yeats

All the wild-witches, those most notable ladies For all their broom-sticks and their tears, Their angry tears, are gone.

W B Yeats

I wish for you constantly for I want to talk about everybody and everything. I can't go up to a stranger & say 'your manners &looks have stirred me to this profound meditation'-

W B Yeats

Man can embody the truth but he cannot know it.

W B Yeats

The intellect of man is forced to choose Perfection of the life, or of the work.

W B Yeats

Is it not certain that the Creator yawns in earthquake and thunder and other popular displays, but toils in rounding the delicate spiral of a shell? -Yeats, The Trembling of the Veil

W B Yeats

BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart, The holy tree is growing there;

W B Yeats

The Light of lights looks always on the motive, not the deed The Shadow of Shadows looks on the deed alone.

W B Yeats