Friday poem: 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree'

29 May 2015

by W. B. Yeats

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 sings;
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 gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Yeats

'The Lake Isle of Innisfree' was written in 1888. In his biography W. B. Yeats: Man and Poet, the Irish scholar A. Norman Jeffares writes that Yeats was inspired by Thoreau's book Walden. As a teenager, he had wanted to imitate Thoreau's living in isolation in the Massachusetts woods by living on the Isle of Innisfree in Lough Gill. The poem is published in the Collector's Library edition of Collected Poems by W. B. Yeats.

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