The Lake Isle of Innisfree

English Poems Index

I will arise and go now and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made,

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sing :

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart's core.

By William Butler Yeats

About The Poet :

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born near Dublin in Ireland. He was educated in London and returned to Ireland in 1880. Soon afterwards he began his writing career and many years later, in 1923, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Yeats was a believer in magic and much of his work is mystical. It has a dream-like quality. He was a firm believer in the idea that the age he was living in, with its materialism, was no good and that peace and happiness could only be found in a return to the simple living of the past.

In this poem Yeats shows clearly that even if he has to live in the city with all its ills, he can find happiness and feel in his heart's core the beauty and peace of a far distant isle. This is one of the best known of Yeats' poems. It was written in 1893. Innisfree was an actual place in Ireland and Yeats had spent some time at this beautiful spot. The poet was attracted to the place for the reasons he gives in the poem. It is peaceful, it is quiet and it is surrounded by nature.

Words to know :

Bee-Loud Glade : a clear open space in the forest, which is full of the buzzing of bees

Core : the innermost part

Lapping : moving in gentle waves

Linnet : a small, brown song-bird

Veil : a thin covering (usually worn by a woman to hide her face). Here, the veil is one of mist.

Wattles : interlaced rods and twigs used for fences, walls or roofs. These are then usually covered with clay.

English Poems Index

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