Liberal Arts Blog — Yeats II: Flawed Man, Deep Thinker, Master Craftsman

Liberal Arts Blog — Tuesday is the Joy of Literature, Language, Religion, and Culture Day

Today’s Topic: Yeats (1865–1939) II: Flawed Man, Deep Thinker, Master Craftsman

Last week, I learned how weird a man Yeats was. This week I decided to savor some of his best lines by sharing them with you. I hope they bring you half as much joy and wonder as they have brought me. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

PART ONE — Dreams, magic, love

1. “In dreams begin responsibilities.”

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

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

NB: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

PART TWO: life, poetry, rhetoric

1. “Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.”

2. “What can be explained is not poetry.”

3. “There is another world, but it is in this one.”

NB: “Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.”

PART THREE: the pilgrim soul, strangers, empty souls

1. “But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face.”

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

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

NB: “All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.”

CONCLUSION: numberless dreams “I bring you with reverent hands The books of my numberless dreams.”

FOOTNOTES — the portraits

1. Top: by his father John B Yeats (1839–1922)

2. Middle: by John Singer Sergeant (1856–1925)

3. Bottom: by Alvin Landgdon Coburn (1882–1966)


PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to words, language, literature, religion, culture. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to Words, Language, Literature (eg. quotes, poetry, vocabulary) that you have not yet shared.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.



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