A Book of Irish Verse

Front Cover
Courier Corporation, Feb 1, 2000 - Poetry - 256 pages
This treasury of over 100 poems focuses on Irish poets of the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to the works of such well-known poets as Goldsmith, Sheridan, Moore, and Wilde, this compilation features the poetry of lesser-known writers who are nevertheless important in the history of Irish verse: James Clarence Mangan, Sir Samuel Ferguson, Aubrey de Vere, William Allingham, Douglas Hyde, Katharine Tynan Hinkson, Nora Hopper, and more. Original Introduction and Notes by W. B. Yeats. New Introduction by Denis Donoghue.
 

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Contents

III
1
V
2
VII
3
VIII
4
X
5
XI
6
XII
10
XIV
11
LXXXVI
169
LXXXVIII
172
LXXXIX
174
XC
176
XCI
180
XCII
182
XCIII
183
XCV
186

XVI
12
XVII
14
XVIII
16
XX
17
XXII
20
XXIII
22
XXIV
24
XXV
27
XXVI
31
XXVII
41
XXVIII
43
XXX
47
XXXI
50
XXXIII
55
XXXIV
57
XXXVI
59
XXXVIII
61
XXXIX
63
XLI
65
XLIII
67
XLV
69
XLVI
71
XLVIII
74
XLIX
91
LI
99
LII
102
LIV
104
LV
107
LVII
115
LVIII
117
LIX
119
LXI
120
LXIII
121
LXV
135
LXVI
138
LXVIII
140
LXX
142
LXXII
143
LXXIII
145
LXXIV
147
LXXV
148
LXXVII
150
LXXVIII
157
LXXX
160
LXXXII
164
LXXXIII
166
LXXXV
167
XCVII
188
C
189
CII
191
CIII
192
CIV
193
CV
195
CVI
197
CVIII
198
CX
199
CXI
200
CXIII
201
CXV
204
CXVI
205
CXVIII
206
CXIX
209
CXX
212
CXXI
215
CXXIII
216
CXXV
218
CXXVI
219
CXXVII
220
CXXVIII
221
CXXX
222
CXXXII
223
CXXXIV
224
CXXXV
225
CXXXVII
226
CXXXVIII
227
CXLII
228
CXLIII
229
CXLV
230
CXLVI
231
CXLVIII
232
CXLIX
232
CLI
232
CLII
232
CLIII
232
CLIV
232
CLV
235
CLVI
237
CLVII
238
CLVIII
240
CLIX
242
CLX
243
CLXI
245
CLXII
246
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About the author (2000)

In his 1940 memorial lecture in Dublin, T. S. Eliot pronounced Yeats "one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are a part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them." Modern readers have increasingly agreed, and some now view Yeats even more than Eliot as the greatest modern poet in our language. Son of the painter John Butler Yeats, the poet divided his early years among Dublin, London, and the port of Sligo in western Ireland. Sligo furnished many of the familiar places in his poetry, among them the mountain Ben Bulben and the lake isle of Innisfree. Important influences on his early adulthood included his father, the writer and artist William Morris, the nationalist leader John O'Leary, and the occultist Madame Blavatsky. In 1889 he met the beautiful actress and Irish nationalist Maud Gonne; his long and frustrated love for her (she refused to marry him) would inspire some of his best work. Often and mistakenly viewed as merely a dreamy Celtic twilight, Yeats's work in the 1890s involved a complex attempt to unite his poetic, nationalist, and occult interests in line with his desire to "hammer [his] thoughts into unity." By the turn of the century, Yeats was immersed in the work with the Irish dramatic movement that would culminate in the founding of the Abbey Theatre in 1904 as a national theater for Ireland. Partly as a result of his theatrical experience, his poetry after 1900 began a complex "movement downwards upon life" fully evident in the Responsibilities volume of 1914. After that he published the extraordinary series of great volumes, all written after age 50, that continued until the end of his career. Widely read in various literary and philosophic traditions, Yeats owed his greatest debt to romantic poetry and once described himself, along with his coworkers John Synge and Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory, as a "last romantic." Yet he remained resolutely Irish as well and presented in his verse a persona bearing a subtle, idealized relationship to his everyday self. Political events such as the Easter Rising and the Irish civil war found their way into his poetry, as did personal ones such as marriage to the Englishwoman Georgiana "Georgie" Hyde-Lees in 1917, the birth of his children, and his sometime home in the Norman tower at Ballylee. So, too, did his increasing status as a public man, which included both the Nobel Prize in 1923 and a term as senator of the Irish Free State (1922--28). Yeats's disparate activities led to a lifelong quest for what he called "unity of being," which he pursued by "antinomies," or opposites. These included action and contemplation, life and art, fair and foul, and other famous pairs from his poetry. The most original poet of his age, he was also in ways the most traditional, and certainly the most substantial. His varied literary output included not only poems and plays but an array of prose forms such as essays, philosophy, fiction, reviews, speeches, and editions of folk and literary material. He also frequently revised his own poems, which exist in various published texts helpfully charted in the Variorum edition (1957).

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