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Title: The Collected Works in Verse and Prose of William Butler Yeats, Vol. 8 (of 8) - Discoveries. Edmund Spenser. Poetry and Tradition; and - Other Essays. Bibliography
Author: Yeats, W. B. (William Butler)
Language: English
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THE COLLECTED WORKS OF WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS



    DISCOVERIES. EDMUND SPENSER.
    POETRY AND TRADITION; & OTHER
    ESSAYS:: BEING THE EIGHTH VOLUME
    OF THE COLLECTED WORKS IN VERSE
    & PROSE OF WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS :: IMPRINTED
    AT THE SHAKESPEARE
    HEAD PRESS STRATFORD-ON-AVON
    MCMVIII



CONTENTS


                                                           PAGE
    DISCOVERIES:
      PROPHET, PRIEST AND KING                                3
      PERSONALITY AND THE INTELLECTUAL ESSENCES               8
      THE MUSICIAN AND THE ORATOR                            12
      A GUITAR PLAYER                                        13
      THE LOOKING-GLASS                                      14
      THE TREE OF LIFE                                       15
      THE PRAISE OF OLD WIVES’ TALES                         18
      THE PLAY OF MODERN MANNERS                             20
      HAS THE DRAMA OF CONTEMPORARY LIFE A ROOT OF ITS OWN?  22
      WHY THE BLIND MAN IN ANCIENT TIMES WAS MADE A POET     24
      CONCERNING SAINTS AND ARTISTS                          29
      THE SUBJECT MATTER OF DRAMA                            32
      THE TWO KINDS OF ASCETICISM                            36
      IN THE SERPENT’S MOUTH                                 38
      THE BLACK AND THE WHITE ARROWS                         39
      HIS MISTRESS’S EYEBROWS                                39
      THE TRESSES OF THE HAIR                                41
      A TOWER ON THE APENNINE                                42
      THE THINKING OF THE BODY                               43
      RELIGIOUS BELIEF NECESSARY TO SYMBOLIC ART             45
      THE HOLY PLACES                                        48
    EDMUND SPENSER                                           51
    POETRY AND TRADITION                                     91
    MODERN IRISH POETRY                                     113
    LADY GREGORY’S CUCHULAIN OF MUIRTHEMNE                  131
    LADY GREGORY’S GODS AND FIGHTING MEN                    147
    MR. SYNGE AND HIS PLAYS                                 171
    LIONEL JOHNSON                                          183
    THE PATHWAY                                             189

    BIBLIOGRAPHY                                            197



DISCOVERIES



PROPHET, PRIEST AND KING


THE little theatrical company I write my plays for had come to a west
of Ireland town, and was to give a performance in an old ball-room, for
there was no other room big enough. I went there from a neighbouring
country-house, and, arriving a little before the players, tried to open
a window. My hands were black with dirt in a moment, and presently a
pane of glass and a part of the window-frame came out in my hands.
Everything in this room was half in ruins, the rotten boards cracked
under my feet, and our new proscenium and the new boards of the
platform looked out of place, and yet the room was not really old, in
spite of the musicians’ gallery over the stage. It had been built by
some romantic or philanthropic landlord some three or four generations
ago, and was a memory of we knew not what unfinished scheme.

From there I went to look for the players, and called for information
on a young priest, who had invited them and taken upon himself the
finding of an audience. He lived in a high house with other priests,
and as I went in I noticed with a whimsical pleasure a broken pane of
glass in the fanlight over the door, for he had once told me the story
of an old woman who a good many years ago quarrelled with the bishop,
got drunk and hurled a stone through the painted glass. He was a clever
man who read Meredith and Ibsen, but some of his books had been packed
in the fire-grate by his housekeeper, instead of the customary view of
an Italian lake or the coloured tissue-paper. The players, who had been
giving a performance in a neighbouring town, had not yet come, or were
unpacking their costumes and properties at the hotel he had recommended
them. We should have time, he said, to go through the half-ruined
town and to visit the convent schools and the cathedral, where, owing
to his influence, two of our young Irish sculptors had been set to
carve an altar and the heads of pillars. I had only heard of this
work, and I found its strangeness and simplicity—one of them had been
Rodin’s pupil—could not make me forget the meretriciousness of the
architecture and the commercial commonplace of the inlaid pavements.
The new movement had seized on the cathedral midway in its growth, and
the worst of the old and the best of the new were side by side without
any sign of transition. The convent school was, as other like places
have been to me—a long room in a workhouse hospital at Portumna, in
particular—a delight to the imagination and the eyes. A new floor had
been put into some ecclesiastical building and the light from a great
mullioned window, cut off at the middle, fell aslant upon rows of clean
and seemingly happy children. The nuns, who show in their own convents,
where they can put what they like, a love of what is mean and pretty,
make beautiful rooms where the regulations compel them to do all with
a few colours and a few flowers. I think it was that day, but am not
sure, that I had lunch at a convent and told fairy stories to a couple
of nuns, and I hope it was not mere politeness that made them seem to
have a child’s interest in such things.

A good many of our audience, when the curtain went up in the old
ball-room, were drunk, but all were attentive, for they had a great
deal of respect for my friend, and there were other priests there.
Presently the man at the door opposite to the stage strayed off
somewhere and I took his place, and when boys came up offering two or
three pence and asking to be let into the sixpenny seats, I let them
join the melancholy crowd. The play professed to tell of the heroic
life of ancient Ireland, but was really full of sedentary refinement
and the spirituality of cities. Every emotion was made as dainty-footed
and dainty-fingered as might be, and a love and pathos where passion
had faded into sentiment, emotions of pensive and harmless people,
drove shadowy young men through the shadows of death and battle. I
watched it with growing rage. It was not my own work, but I have
sometimes watched my own work with a rage made all the more salt in
the mouth from being half despair. Why should we make so much noise
about ourselves and yet have nothing to say that was not better said
in that workhouse dormitory, where a few flowers and a few coloured
counterpanes and the coloured walls had made a severe and gracious
beauty? Presently the play was changed and our comedian began to act
a little farce, and when I saw him struggle to wake into laughter
an audience, out of whom the life had run as if it were water, I
rejoiced, as I had over that broken window-pane. Here was something
secular, abounding, even a little vulgar, for he was gagging horribly,
condescending to his audience, though not without contempt.

We had supper in the priest’s house, and a government official, who
had come down from Dublin, partly out of interest in this attempt ‘to
educate the people,’ and partly because it was his holiday and it was
necessary to go somewhere, entertained us with little jokes. Somebody,
not, I think, a priest, talked of the spiritual destiny of our race
and praised the night’s work, for the play was refined and the people
really very attentive, and he could not understand my discontent; but
presently he was silenced by the patter of jokes.

I had my breakfast by myself the next morning, for the players had got
up in the middle of the night and driven some ten miles to catch an
early train to Dublin, and were already on their way to their shops and
offices. I had brought the visitors’ book of the hotel, to turn over
its pages while waiting for my bacon and eggs, and found several pages
full of obscenities, scrawled there some two or three weeks before,
by Dublin visitors, it seemed, for a notorious Dublin street was
mentioned. Nobody had thought it worth his while to tear out the page
or block out the lines, and as I put the book away impressions that
had been drifting through my mind for months rushed up into a single
thought. ‘If we poets are to move the people, we must reintegrate the
human spirit in our imagination. The English have driven away the
kings, and turned the prophets into demagogues, and you cannot have
health among a people if you have not prophet, priest and king.’



PERSONALITY AND THE INTELLECTUAL ESSENCES


MY work in Ireland has continually set this thought before me: ‘How
can I make my work mean something to vigorous and simple men whose
attention is not given to art but to a shop, or teaching in a National
School, or dispensing medicine?’ I had not wanted to ‘elevate them’
or ‘educate them,’ as these words are understood, but to make them
understand my vision, and I had not wanted a large audience, certainly
not what is called a national audience, but enough people for what is
accidental and temporary to lose itself in the lump. In England, where
there have been so many changing activities and so much systematic
education, one only escapes from crudities and temporary interests
among students, but here there is the right audience could one but get
its ears. I have always come to this certainty: what moves natural
men in the arts is what moves them in life, and that is, intensity of
personal life, intonations that show them in a book or a play, the
strength, the essential moment of a man who would be exciting in the
market or at the dispensary door. They must go out of the theatre with
the strength they live by strengthened with looking upon some passion
that could, whatever its chosen way of life, strike down an enemy, fill
a long stocking with money or move a girl’s heart. They have not much
to do with the speculations of science, though they have a little,
or with the speculations of metaphysics, though they have a little.
Their legs will tire on the road if there is nothing in their hearts
but vague sentiment, and though it is charming to have an affectionate
feeling about flowers, that will not pull the cart out of the ditch.
An exciting person, whether the hero of a play or the maker of poems,
will display the greatest volume of personal energy, and this energy
must seem to come out of the body as out of the mind. We must say to
ourselves continually when we imagine a character: ‘Have I given him
the roots, as it were, of all faculties necessary for life?’ And only
when one is certain of that may one give him the one faculty that fills
the imagination with joy. I even doubt if any play had ever a great
popularity that did not use, or seem to use, the bodily energies of its
principal actor to the full. Villon the robber could have delighted
these Irishmen with plays and songs, if he and they had been born to
the same traditions of word and symbol, but Shelley could not; and
as men came to live in towns and to read printed books and to have
many specialised activities, it has become more possible to produce
Shelleys and less and less possible to produce Villons. The last Villon
dwindled into Robert Burns because the highest faculties had faded,
taking the sense of beauty with them, into some sort of vague heaven
and left the lower to lumber where they best could. In literature,
partly from the lack of that spoken word which knits us to normal man,
we have lost in personality, in our delight in the whole man—blood,
imagination, intellect, running together—but have found a new delight,
in essences, in states of mind, in pure imagination, in all that comes
to us most easily in elaborate music. There are two ways before
literature—upward into ever-growing subtlety, with Verhaeren, with
Mallarmé, with Maeterlinck, until at last, it may be, a new agreement
among refined and studious men gives birth to a new passion, and what
seems literature becomes religion; or downward, taking the soul with
us until all is simplified and solidified again. That is the choice of
choices—the way of the bird until common eyes have lost us, or to the
market carts; but we must see to it that the soul goes with us, for the
bird’s song is beautiful, and the traditions of modern imagination,
growing always more musical, more lyrical, more melancholy, casting
up now a Shelley, now a Swinburne, now a Wagner, are, it may be, the
frenzy of those that are about to see what the magic hymn printed
by the Abbé de Villars has called the Crown of Living and Melodious
Diamonds. If the carts have hit our fancy we must have the soul tight
within our bodies, for it has grown so fond of a beauty accumulated by
subtle generations that it will for a long time be impatient with our
thirst for mere force, mere personality, for the tumult of the blood.
If it begin to slip away we must go after it, for Shelley’s Chapel of
the Morning Star is better than Burns’s beer-house—surely it was beer,
not barleycorn—except at the day’s weary end; and it is always better
than that uncomfortable place where there is no beer, the machine shop
of the realists.



THE MUSICIAN AND THE ORATOR


WALTER PATER says music is the type of all the Arts, but somebody else,
I forget now who, that oratory is their type. You will side with the
one or the other according to the nature of your energy, and I in my
present mood am all for the man who, with an average audience before
him, uses all means of persuasion—stories, laughter, tears, and but so
much music as he can discover on the wings of words. I would even avoid
the conversation of the lovers of music, who would draw us into the
impersonal land of sound and colour, and would have no one write with
a sonata in his memory. We may even speak a little evil of musicians,
having admitted that they will see before we do that melodious crown.
We may remind them that the housemaid does not respect the piano-tuner
as she does the plumber, and of the enmity that they have aroused among
all poets. Music is the most impersonal of things and words the most
personal, and that is why musicians do not like words. They masticate
them for a long time, being afraid they would not be able to digest
them, and when the words are so broken and softened and mixed with
spittle that they are not words any longer, they swallow them.



A GUITAR PLAYER


A GIRL has been playing on the guitar. She is pretty, and if I
didn’t listen to her I could have watched her, and if I didn’t watch
her I could have listened. Her voice, the movements of her body,
the expression of her face, all said the same thing. A player of a
different temper and body would have made all different, and might have
been delightful in some other way. A movement not of music only but of
life came to its perfection. I was delighted and I did not know why
until I thought, ‘That is the way my people, the people I see in the
mind’s eye, play music, and I like it because it is all personal, as
personal as Villon’s poetry.’ The little instrument is quite light, and
the player can move freely and express a joy that is not of the fingers
and the mind only but of the whole being; and all the while her
movements call up into the mind, so erect and natural she is, whatever
is most beautiful in her daily life. Nearly all the old instruments
were like that, even the organ was once a little instrument, and when
it grew big our wise forefathers gave it to God in the cathedrals,
where it befits him to be everything. But if you sit at the piano, it
is the piano, the mechanism, that is the important thing, and nothing
of you means anything but your fingers and your intellect.



THE LOOKING-GLASS


I HAVE just been talking to a girl with a shrill monotonous voice and
an abrupt way of moving. She is fresh from school, where they have
taught her history and geography ‘whereby a soul can be discerned,’
but what is the value of an education, or even in the long run of a
science, that does not begin with the personality, the habitual self,
and illustrate all by that? Somebody should have taught her to speak
for the most part on whatever note of her voice is most musical, and
soften those harsh notes by speaking, not singing, to some stringed
instrument, taking note after note and, as it were, caressing her
words a little as if she loved the sound of them, and have taught her
after this some beautiful pantomimic dance, till it had grown a habit
to live for eye and ear. A wise theatre might make a training in strong
and beautiful life the fashion, teaching before all else the heroic
discipline of the looking-glass, for is not beauty, even as lasting
love, one of the most difficult of the arts?



THE TREE OF LIFE


WE artists have taken over-much to heart that old commandment about
seeking after the Kingdom of Heaven. Verlaine told me that he had tried
to translate ‘In Memoriam,’ but could not because Tennyson was ‘too
noble, too Anglais, and, when he should have been broken-hearted, had
many reminiscences.’ About that time I found in some English review an
essay of his on Shakespeare. ‘I had once a fine Shakespeare,’ he wrote,
or some such words, ‘but I have it no longer. I write from memory.’ One
wondered in what vicissitude he had sold it, and for what money; and an
image of the man rose in the imagination. To be his ordinary self as
much as possible, not a scholar or even a reader, that was certainly
his pose; and in the lecture he gave at Oxford he insisted ‘that the
poet should hide nothing of himself,’ though he must speak it all with
‘a care of that dignity which should manifest itself, if not in the
perfection of form, at all events with an invisible, insensible, but
effectual endeavour after this lofty and severe quality, I was about
to say this virtue.’ It was this feeling for his own personality, his
delight in singing his own life, even more than that life itself, which
made the generation I belong to compare him to Villon. It was not till
after his death that I understood the meaning his words should have
had for me, for while he lived I was interested in nothing but states
of mind, lyrical moments, intellectual essences. I would not then have
been as delighted as I am now by that guitar player, or as shocked as
I am now by that girl whose movements have grown abrupt, and whose
voice has grown harsh by the neglect of all but external activities.
I had not learned what sweetness, what rhythmic movement, there is in
those who have become the joy that is themselves. Without knowing it,
I had come to care for nothing but impersonal beauty. I had set out
on life with the thought of putting my very self into poetry, and had
understood this as a representation of my own visions and an attempt
to cut away the non-essential, but as I imagined the visions outside
myself my imagination became full of decorative landscape and of still
life. I thought of myself as something unmoving and silent living in
the middle of my own mind and body, a grain of sand in Bloomsbury or
in Connacht that Satan’s watch fiends cannot find. Then one day I
understood quite suddenly, as the way is, that I was seeking something
unchanging and unmixed and always outside myself, a Stone or an Elixir
that was always out of reach, and that I myself was the fleeting thing
that held out its hand. The more I tried to make my art deliberately
beautiful, the more did I follow the opposite of myself, for deliberate
beauty is like a woman always desiring man’s desire. Presently I found
that I entered into myself and pictured myself and not some essence
when I was not seeking beauty at all, but merely to lighten the mind
of some burden of love or bitterness thrown upon it by the events of
life. We are only permitted to desire life, and all the rest should be
our complaints or our praise of that exacting mistress who can awake
our lips into song with her kisses. But we must not give her all, we
must deceive her a little at times, for, as Le Sage says in _The
Devil on Two Sticks_, the false lovers who do not become melancholy or
jealous with honest passion have the happiest mistress and are rewarded
the soonest and by the most beautiful. Our deceit will give us style,
mastery, that dignity, that lofty and severe quality Verlaine spoke
of. To put it otherwise, we should ascend out of common interests, the
thoughts of the newspapers, of the market-place, of men of science, but
only so far as we can carry the normal, passionate, reasoning self, the
personality as a whole. We must find some place upon the Tree of Life
high enough for the forked branches to keep it safe, and low enough to
be out of the little wind-tossed boughs and twigs, for the Phœnix nest,
for the passion that is exaltation and not negation of the will, for
the wings that are always upon fire.



THE PRAISE OF OLD WIVES’ TALES


AN art may become impersonal because it has too much circumstance
or too little, because the world is too little or too much with it,
because it is too near the ground or too far up among the branches. I
met an old man out fishing a year ago, who said to me, ‘Don Quixote
and Odysseus are always near to me’; that is true for me also, for even
Hamlet and Lear and Œdipus are more cloudy. No playwright ever has made
or ever will make a character that will follow us out of the theatre
as Don Quixote follows us out of the book, for no playwright can be
wholly episodical, and when one constructs, bringing one’s characters
into complicated relations with one another, something impersonal comes
into the story. Society, fate, ‘tendency,’ something not quite human,
begins to arrange the characters and to excite into action only so much
of their humanity as they find it necessary to show to one another. The
common heart will always love better the tales that have something of
an old wives’ tale and that look upon their hero from every side as if
he alone were wonderful, as a child does with a new penny. In plays of
a comedy too extravagant to photograph life, or written in verse, the
construction is of a necessity woven out of naked motives and passions,
but when an atmosphere of modern reality has to be built up as well,
and the tendency, or fate, or society has to be shown as it is about
ourselves, the characters grow fainter, and we have to read the book
many times or see the play many times before we can remember them.
Even then they are only possible in a certain drawing-room and among
such and such people, and we must carry all that lumber in our heads. I
thought Tolstoi’s ‘War and Peace’ the greatest story I had ever read,
and yet it has gone from me; even Lancelot, ever a shadow, is more
visible in my memory than all its substance.



THE PLAY OF MODERN MANNERS


OF all artistic forms that have had a large share of the world’s
attention, the worst is the play about modern educated people. Except
where it is superficial or deliberately argumentative it fills one’s
soul with a sense of commonness as with dust. It has one mortal
ailment. It cannot become impassioned, that is to say vital, without
making somebody gushing and sentimental. Educated and well-bred people
do not wear their hearts upon their sleeves and they have no artistic
and charming language except light persiflage and no powerful language
at all, and when they are deeply moved they look silently into the
fireplace. Again and again I have watched some play of this sort with
growing curiosity through the opening scene. The minor people argue,
chaff one another, hint sometimes at some deeper stream of life just
as we do in our houses, and I am content. But all the time I have
been wondering why the chief character, the man who is to bear the
burden of fate, is gushing, sentimental and quite without ideas. Then
the great scene comes and I understand that he cannot be well-bred or
self-possessed or intellectual, for if he were he would draw a chair to
the fire and there would be no duologue at the end of the third act.
Ibsen understood the difficulty and made all his characters a little
provincial that they might not put each other out of countenance, and
made a leading article sort of poetry, phrases about vine leaves and
harps in the air it was possible to believe them using in their moments
of excitement, and if the play needed more than that, they could always
do something stupid. They could go out and hoist a flag as they do
at the end of _Little Eyolf_. One only understands that this manner,
deliberately adopted one doubts not, had gone into his soul and filled
it with dust, when one has noticed that he could no longer create a
man of genius. The happiest writers are those that, knowing this form
of play is slight and passing, keep to the surface, never showing
anything but the arguments and the persiflage of daily observation, or
now and then, instead of the expression of passion, a stage picture,
a man holding a woman’s hand or sitting with his head in his hands in
dim light by the red glow of a fire. It was certainly an understanding
of the slightness of the form, of its incapacity for the expression of
the deeper sorts of passion, that made the French invent the play with
a thesis, for where there is a thesis people can grow hot in argument,
almost the only kind of passion that displays itself in our daily
life. The novel of contemporary educated life is upon the other hand a
permanent form because having the power of psychological description it
can follow the thought of a man who is looking into the grate.



HAS THE DRAMA OF CONTEMPORARY LIFE A ROOT OF ITS OWN?


IN watching a play about modern educated people, with its meagre
language and its action crushed into the narrow limits of possibility,
I have found myself constantly saying: ‘Maybe it has its power to move,
slight as that is, from being able to suggest fundamental contrasts
and passions which romantic and poetical literature have shown to be
beautiful.’ A man facing his enemies alone in a quarrel over the purity
of the water in a Norwegian Spa and using no language but that of the
newspapers can call up into our minds, let us say, the passion of
Coriolanus. The lovers and fighters of old imaginative literature are
more vivid experiences in the soul than anything but one’s own ruling
passion that is itself riddled by their thought as by lightning, and
even two dumb figures on the roads can call up all that glory. Put the
man who has no knowledge of literature before a play of this kind and
he will say, as he has said in some form or other in every age at the
first shock of naturalism, ‘What has brought me out to hear nothing but
the words we use at home when we are talking of the rates?’ And he will
prefer to it any play where there is visible beauty or mirth, where
life is exciting, at high tide as it were. It is not his fault that he
will prefer in all likelihood a worse play although its kind may be
greater, for we have been following the lure of science for generations
and forgotten him and his. I come always back to this thought. There
is something of an old wives’ tale in fine literature. The makers
of it are like an old peasant telling stories of the great famine or
the hangings of ’98 or his own memories. He has felt something in the
depth of his mind and he wants to make it as visible and powerful
to our senses as possible. He will use the most extravagant words
or illustrations if they suit his purpose. Or he will invent a wild
parable, and the more his mind is on fire or the more creative it is,
the less will he look at the outer world or value it for its own sake.
It gives him metaphors and examples and that is all. He is even a
little scornful of it, for it seems to him while the fit is on that the
fire has gone out of it and left it but white ashes. I cannot explain
it, but I am certain that every high thing was invented in this way,
between sleeping and waking, as it were, and that peering and peeping
persons are but hawkers of stolen goods. How else could their noses
have grown so ravenous or their eyes so sharp?



WHY THE BLIND MAN IN ANCIENT TIMES WAS MADE A POET


A DESCRIPTION in the Iliad or the Odyssey, unlike one in the Æneid or
in most modern writers, is the swift and natural observation of a man
as he is shaped by life. It is a refinement of the primary hungers and
has the least possible of what is merely scholarly or exceptional. It
is, above all, never too observant, too professional, and when the
book is closed we have had our energies enriched, for we have been in
the mid-current. We have never seen anything Odysseus could not have
seen while his thought was of the Cyclops, or Achilles when Briseis
moved him to desire. In the heart of the greatest periods there is
something careless and sudden in all habitual moods though not in their
expression, because these moods are a conflagration of all the energies
of active life. In primitive times the blind man became a poet as he
becomes a fiddler in our villages, because he had to be driven out of
activities all his nature cried for before he could be contented with
the praise of life. And often it is Villon or Verlaine with impediments
plain to all, who sings of life with the ancient simplicity. Poets of
coming days, when once more it will be possible to write as in the
great epochs, will recognise that their sacrifice shall be to refuse
what blindness and evil name, or imprisonment at the outsetting,
denied to men who missed thereby the sting of a deliberate refusal.
The poets of the ages of silver need no refusal of life, the dome of
many-coloured glass is already shattered while they live. They look at
life deliberately and as if from beyond life, and the greatest of them
need suffer nothing but the sadness that the saints have known. This
is their aim, and their temptation is not a passionate activity, but
the approval of their fellows, which comes to them in full abundance
only when they delight in the general thoughts that hold together a
cultivated middle-class, where irresponsibilities of position and
poverty are lacking; the things that are more excellent among educated
men who have political pre-occupations, Augustus Cæsar’s affability,
all that impersonal fecundity which muddies the intellectual passions.
Ben Jonson says in the ‘Poetaster,’ that even the best of men without
Promethean fire is but a hollow statue, and a studious man will
commonly forget after some forty winters that of a certainty Promethean
fire will burn somebody’s fingers. It may happen that poets will be
made more often by their sins than by their virtues, for general praise
is unlucky, as the villages know, and not merely as I imagine—for I
am superstitious about these things—because the praise of all but an
equal enslaves and adds a pound to the ball at the ankle with every
compliment.

All energy that comes from the whole man is as irregular as the
lightning, for the communicable and forecastable and discoverable is a
part only, a hungry chicken under the breast of the pelican, and the
test of poetry is not in reason but in a delight not different from
the delight that comes to a man at the first coming of love into the
heart. I knew an old man who had spent his whole life cutting hazel
and privet from the paths, and in some seventy years he had observed
little but had many imaginations. He had never seen like a naturalist,
never seen things as they are, for his habitual mood had been that of
a man stirred in his affairs; and Shakespeare, Tintoretto, though the
times were running out when Tintoretto painted, nearly all the great
men of the Renaissance, looked at the world with eyes like his. Their
minds were never quiescent, never as it were in a mood for scientific
observations, always an exaltation, never—to use known words—founded
upon an elimination of the personal factor; and their attention and
the attention of those they worked for dwelt constantly with what is
present to the mind in exaltation. I am too modern fully to enjoy
Tintoretto’s Creation of the Milky Way, I cannot fix my thoughts upon
that glowing and palpitating flesh intently enough to forget, as I
can the make-believe of a fairy tale, that heavy drapery hanging from
a cloud, though I find my pleasure in _King Lear_ heightened by the
make-believe that comes upon it all when the fool says: ‘This prophecy
Merlin shall make, for I live before his time’;—and I always find it
quite natural, so little does logic in the mere circumstance matter in
the finest art, that Richard’s and Richmond’s tents should be side by
side. I saw with delight _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_ when Mr.
Carr revived it, and found it none the worse because the apprentice
acted a whole play upon the spur of the moment and without committing a
line to heart. When Ben Jonson’s _Epicœne_ rammed a century of laughter
into the two hours’ traffic, I found with amazement that almost every
journalist had put logic on the seat, where our lady imagination should
pronounce that unjust and favouring sentence her woman’s heart is ever
plotting, and had felt bound to cherish none but reasonable sympathies
and to resent the baiting of that grotesque old man. I have been
looking over a book of engravings made in the eighteenth century from
those wall-pictures of Herculaneum and Pompeii that were, it seems, the
work of journeymen copying from finer paintings, for the composition
is always too good for the execution. I find in great numbers an
indifference to obvious logic, to all that the eye sees at common
moments. Perseus shows Andromeda the death she lived by in a pool, and
though the lovers are carefully drawn the reflection is upside down
that we may see it the better. There is hardly an old master who has
not made known to us in some like way how little he cares for what
every fool can see and every knave can praise. The men who imagined
the arts were not less superstitious in religion, understanding the
spiritual relations, but not the mechanical, and finding nothing that
need strain the throat in those gnats the floods of Noah and Deucalion,
and in Joshua’s moon at Ascalon.



CONCERNING SAINTS AND ARTISTS


I TOOK the Indian hemp with certain followers of St. Martin on the
ground floor of a house in the Latin Quarter. I had never taken it
before, and was instructed by a boisterous young poet, whose English
was no better than my French. He gave me a little pellet, if I am not
forgetting, an hour before dinner, and another after we had dined
together at some restaurant. As we were going through the streets to
the meeting-place of the Martinists, I felt suddenly that a cloud I was
looking at floated in an immense space, and for an instant my being
rushed out, as it seemed, into that space with ecstasy. I was myself
again immediately, but the poet was wholly above himself, and presently
he pointed to one of the street lamps now brightening in the fading
twilight, and cried at the top of his voice, ‘Why do you look at me
with your great eye?’ There were perhaps a dozen people already much
excited when we arrived; and after I had drunk some cups of coffee and
eaten a pellet or two more, I grew very anxious to dance, but did not,
as I could not remember any steps. I sat down and closed my eyes; but
no, I had no visions, nothing but a sensation of some dark shadow which
seemed to be telling me that some day I would go into a trance and so
out of my body for awhile, but not yet. I opened my eyes and looked at
some red ornament on the mantelpiece, and at once the room was full
of harmonies of red, but when a blue china figure caught my eye the
harmonies became blue upon the instant. I was puzzled, for the reds
were all there, nothing had changed, but they were no longer important
or harmonious; and why had the blues so unimportant but a moment ago
become exciting and delightful? Thereupon it struck me that I was
seeing like a painter, and that in the course of the evening everyone
there would change through every kind of artistic perception.

After a while a Martinist ran towards me with a piece of paper on which
he had drawn a circle with a dot in it, and pointing at it with his
finger he cried out, ‘God, God!’ Some immeasurable mystery had been
revealed, and his eyes shone; and at some time or other a lean and
shabby man, with rather a distinguished face, showed me his horoscope
and pointed with an ecstasy of melancholy at its evil aspects. The
boisterous poet, who was an old eater of the Indian hemp, had told me
that it took one three months growing used to it, three months more
enjoying it, and three months being cured of it. These men were in
their second period; but I never forgot myself, never really rose above
myself for more than a moment, and was even able to feel the absurdity
of that gaiety, an Herr Nordau among the men of genius, but one that
was abashed at his own sobriety. The sky outside was beginning to grey
when there came a knocking at the window shutters. Somebody opened the
window, and a woman in evening dress, who was not a little bewildered
to find so many people, was helped down into the room. She had been at
a students’ ball unknown to her husband, who was asleep overhead, and
had thought to have crept home unobserved, but for a confederate at the
window. All those talking or dancing men laughed in a dreamy way; and
she, understanding that there was no judgment in the laughter of men
that had no thought but of the spectacle of the world, blushed, laughed
and darted through the room and so upstairs. Alas that the hangman’s
rope should be own brother to that Indian happiness that keeps alone,
were it not for some stray cactus, mother of as many dreams, an
immemorial impartiality and simpleness.



THE SUBJECT MATTER OF DRAMA


I READ this sentence a few days ago, or one like it, in an obituary
of Ibsen: ‘Let nobody again go back to the old ballad material of
Shakespeare, to murders, and ghosts, for what interests us on the
stage is modern experience and the discussion of our interests’;
and in another part of the article Ibsen was blamed because he had
written of suicides and in other ways made use of ‘the morbid terror
of death.’ Dramatic literature has for a long time been left to the
criticism of journalists, and all these, the old stupid ones and the
new clever ones, have tried to impress upon it their absorption in the
life of the moment, their delight in obvious originality and in obvious
logic, their shrinking from the ancient and insoluble. The writer I
have quoted is much more than a journalist, but he has lived their
hurried life, and instinctively turns to them for judgment. He is not
thinking of the great poets and painters, of the cloud of witnesses,
who are there that we may become, through our understanding of their
minds, spectators of the ages, but of this age. Drama is a means of
expression, not a special subject matter, and the dramatist is as free
to choose where he has a mind to as the poet of ‘Endymion’ or as the
painter of Mary Magdalene at the door of Simon the Pharisee. So far
from the discussion of our interests and the immediate circumstance of
our life being the most moving to the imagination, it is what is old
and far off that stirs us the most deeply. There is a sentence in _The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell_ that is meaningless until we understand
Blake’s system of correspondences. ‘The best wine is the oldest, the
best water the newest.’

Water is experience, immediate sensation, and wine is emotion, and
it is with the intellect, as distinguished from imagination, that we
enlarge the bounds of experience and separate it from all but itself,
from illusion, from memory, and create among other things science
and good journalism. Emotion, on the other hand, grows intoxicating
and delightful after it has been enriched with the memory of old
emotions, with all the uncounted flavours of old experience, and it is
necessarily an antiquity of thought, emotions that have been deepened
by the experiences of many men of genius, that distinguishes the
cultivated man. The subject-matter of his meditation and invention is
old, and he will disdain a too conscious originality in the arts as
in those matters of daily life where, is it not Balzac who says, ‘we
are all conservatives’? He is above all things well-bred, and whether
he write or paint will not desire a technique that denies or obtrudes
his long and noble descent. Corneille and Racine did not deny their
masters, and when Dante spoke of his master Virgil there was no crowing
of the cock. In their day imitation was conscious or all but conscious,
and while originality was but so much the more a part of the man
himself, so much the deeper because unconscious, no quick analysis
could find out their miracle, that needed, it may be, generations to
reveal; but it is our imitation that is unconscious and that waits the
certainties of time. The more religious the subject-matter of an art,
the more will it be as it were stationary, and the more ancient will
be the emotion that it arouses and the circumstances that it calls up
before our eyes. When in the Middle Ages the pilgrim to St. Patrick’s
Purgatory found himself on the lake side, he found a boat made out
of a hollow tree to ferry him to the cave of vision. In religious
painting and poetry, crowns and swords of an ancient pattern take upon
themselves new meanings, and it is impossible to separate our idea of
what is noble from a mystic stair, where not men and women, but robes,
jewels, incidents, ancient utilities float upward slowly over the all
but sleeping mind, putting on emotional and spiritual life as they
ascend until they are swallowed up by some far glory that they even
were too modern and momentary to endure. All art is dream, and what
the day is done with is dreaming ripe, and what art moulds religion
accepts, and in the end all is in the wine cup, all is in the drunken
phantasy, and the grapes begin to stammer.



THE TWO KINDS OF ASCETICISM


IT is not possible to separate an emotion or a spiritual state from
the image that calls it up and gives it expression. Michael Angelo’s
Moses, Velasquez’ Philip the Second, the colour purple, a crucifix,
call into life an emotion or state that vanishes with them because
they are its only possible expression, and that is why no mind is more
valuable than the images it contains. The imaginative writer differs
from the saint in that he identifies himself—to the neglect of his own
soul, alas!—with the soul of the world, and frees himself from all that
is impermanent in that soul, an ascetic not of women and wine, but of
the newspapers. That which is permanent in the soul of the world upon
the other hand, the great passions that trouble all and have but a
brief recurring life of flower and seed in any man, is the renunciation
of the saint who seeks not an eternal art, but his own eternity. The
artist stands between the saint and the world of impermanent things,
and just in so far as his mind dwells on what is impermanent in his
sense, on all that ‘modern experience and the discussion of our
interests,’ that is to say on what never recurs, as desire and hope,
terror and weariness, spring and autumn, recur in varying rhythms,
will his mind become critical, as distinguished from creative, and his
emotions wither. He will think less of what he sees and more of his own
attitude towards it, and will express this attitude by an essentially
critical selection and emphasis. I am not quite sure of my memory, but
I think that Mr. Ricketts has said in his book on the Prado that he
feels the critic in Velasquez for the first time in painting, and we
all feel the critic in Whistler and Degas, in Browning, even in Mr.
Swinburne, in the finest art of all ages but the greatest. The end for
art is the ecstasy awakened by the presence before an ever-changing
mind of what is permanent in the world, or by the arousing of that
mind itself into the very delicate and fastidious mood habitual with
it when it is seeking those permanent and recurring things. There is a
little of both ecstasies at all times, but at this time we have a small
measure of the creative impulse itself, of the divine vision, a great
one of ‘the lost traveller’s dream under the hill,’ perhaps because all
the old simple things have been painted or written, and they will only
have meaning for us again when a new race or a new civilisation has
made us look upon all with new eyesight.



IN THE SERPENT’S MOUTH


THERE is an old saying that God is a circle whose centre is everywhere.
If that is true, the saint goes to the centre, the poet and artist to
the ring where everything comes round again. The poet must not seek for
what is still and fixed, for that has no life for him; and if he did,
his style would become cold and monotonous, and his sense of beauty
faint and sickly, as are both style and beauty to my imagination in the
prose and poetry of Newman, but be content to find his pleasure in all
that is for ever passing away that it may come again, in the beauty of
woman, in the fragile flowers of spring, in momentary heroic passion,
in whatever is most fleeting, most impassioned, as it were, for its
own perfection, most eager to return in its glory. Yet perhaps he must
endure the impermanent a little, for these things return, but not
wholly, for no two faces are alike, and, it may be, had we more learned
eyes, no two flowers. Is it that all things are made by the struggle of
the individual and the world, of the unchanging and the returning, and
that the saint and the poet are over all, and that the poet has made
his home in the Serpent’s mouth?



THE BLACK AND THE WHITE ARROWS


INSTINCT creates the recurring and the beautiful, all the winding of
the serpent; but reason, the most ugly man, as Blake called it, is
a drawer of the straight line, the maker of the arbitrary and the
impermanent, for no recurring spring will ever bring again yesterday’s
clock. Sanctity has its straight line also, darting from the centre,
and with these arrows the many-coloured serpent, theme of all our
poetry, is maimed and hunted. He that finds the white arrow shall have
wisdom older than the Serpent, but what of the black arrow? How much
knowledge, how heavy a quiver of the crow-feathered ebony rods can the
soul endure?



HIS MISTRESS’S EYEBROWS


THE preoccupation of our Art and Literature with knowledge, with the
surface of life, with the arbitrary, with mechanism, has arisen out
of the root. A careful, but not necessarily very subtle man, could
foretell the history of any religion if he knew its first principle,
and that it would live long enough to fulfil itself. The mind can
never do the same thing twice over, and having exhausted simple
beauty and meaning, it passes to the strange and hidden, and at last
must find its delight, having outrun its harmonies in the emphatic
and discordant. When I was a boy at the art school I watched an
older student late returned from Paris, with a wonder that had no
understanding in it. He was very amorous, and every new love was the
occasion of a new picture, and every new picture was uglier than its
forerunner. He was excited about his mistress’s eyebrows, as was
fitting, but the interest of beauty had been exhausted by the logical
energies of Art, which destroys where it has rummaged, and can but
discover, whether it will or no. We cannot discover our subject-matter
by deliberate intellect, for when a subject-matter ceases to move us we
must go elsewhere, and when it moves us, even though it be ‘that old
ballad material of Shakespeare’ or even ‘the morbid terror of death,’
we can laugh at reason. We must not ask is the world interested in this
or that, for nothing is in question but our own interest, and we can
understand no other. Our place in the Hierarchy is settled for us by
our choice of a subject-matter, and all good criticism is hieratic,
delighting in setting things above one another, Epic and Drama above
Lyric and so on, and not merely side by side. But it is our instinct
and not our intellect that chooses. We can deliberately refashion our
characters, but not our painting or our poetry. If our characters also
were not unconsciously refashioned so completely by the unfolding of
the logical energies of Art, that even simple things have in the end a
new aspect in our eyes, the Arts would not be among those things that
return for ever. The ballads that Bishop Percy gathered returned in the
_Ancient Mariner_ and the delight in the world of old Greek sculptors
sprang into a more delicate loveliness in that archaistic head of
the young athlete down the long corridor to your left hand as you go
into the British Museum. Civilisation too, will not that also destroy
where it has loved, until it shall bring the simple and natural things
again and a new Argo with all the gilding on her bows sail out to find
another fleece?



THE TRESSES OF THE HAIR


HAFIZ cried to his beloved, ‘I made a bargain with that brown hair
before the beginning of time, and it shall not be broken through
unending time,’ and it may be that Mistress Nature knows that we have
lived many times, and that whatsoever changes and winds into itself
belongs to us. She covers her eyes away from us, but she lets us play
with the tresses of her hair.



A TOWER ON THE APENNINE


THE other day I was walking towards Urbino, where I was to spend
the night, having crossed the Apennines from San Sepolcro, and had
come to a level place on the mountain-top near the journey’s end. My
friends were in a carriage somewhere behind, on a road which was still
ascending in great loops, and I was alone amid a visionary fantastic
impossible scenery. It was sunset and the stormy clouds hung upon
mountain after mountain, and far off on one great summit a cloud
darker than the rest glimmered with lightning. Away south upon another
mountain a mediæval tower, with no building near nor any sign of life,
rose into the clouds. I saw suddenly in the mind’s eye an old man,
erect and a little gaunt, standing in the door of the tower, while
about him broke a windy light. He was the poet who had at last, because
he had done so much for the world’s sake, come to share in the dignity
of the saint. He had hidden nothing of himself, but he had taken care
of ‘that dignity ... the perfection of form ... this lofty and severe
quality ... this virtue.’ And though he had but sought it for the
world’s sake, or for a woman’s praise, it had come at last into his
body and his mind. Certainly as he stood there he knew how from behind
that laborious mood, that pose, that genius, no flower of himself but
all himself, looked out as from behind a mask that other Who alone
of all men, the country people say, is not a hair’s breadth more nor
less than six feet high. He has in his ears well instructed voices and
seeming solid sights are before his eyes, and not as we say of many a
one, speaking in metaphor, but as this were Delphi or Eleusis, and the
substance and the voice come to him among his memories which are of
women’s faces; for was it Columbanus or another that wrote ‘There is
one among the birds that is perfect, and one perfect among the fish’?



THE THINKING OF THE BODY


THOSE learned men who are a terror to children and an ignominious
sight in lovers’ eyes, all those butts of a traditional humour where
there is something of the wisdom of peasants, are mathematicians,
theologians, lawyers, men of science of various kinds. They have
followed some abstract reverie, which stirs the brain only and needs
that only, and have therefore stood before the looking-glass without
pleasure and never known those thoughts that shape the lines of the
body for beauty or animation, and wake a desire for praise or for
display.

There are two pictures of Venice side by side in the house where I am
writing this, a Canaletto that has little but careful drawing, and a
not very emotional pleasure in clean bright air, and a Franz Francken,
where the blue water, that in the other stirs one so little, can make
one long to plunge into the green depth where a cloud shadow falls.
Neither painting could move us at all, if our thought did not rush out
to the edges of our flesh, and it is so with all good art, whether the
Victory of Samothrace which reminds the soles of our feet of swiftness,
or the Odyssey that would send us out under the salt wind, or the young
horsemen on the Parthenon, that seem happier than our boyhood ever
was, and in our boyhood’s way. Art bids us touch and taste and hear
and see the world, and shrinks from what Blake calls mathematic form,
from every abstract thing, from all that is of the brain only, from
all that is not a fountain jetting from the entire hopes, memories,
and sensations of the body. Its morality is personal, knows little of
any general law, has no blame for Little Musgrave, no care for Lord
Barnard’s house, seems lighter than a breath and yet is hard and heavy,
for if a man is not ready to face toil and risk, and in all gaiety
of heart, his body will grow unshapely and his heart lack the wild
will that stirs desire. It approved before all men those that talked
or wrestled or tilted under the walls of Urbino, or sat in the wide
window-seats discussing all things, with love ever in their thought,
when the wise Duchess ordered all, and the Lady Emilia gave the theme.



RELIGIOUS BELIEF NECESSARY TO SYMBOLIC ART


ALL art is sensuous, but when a man puts only his contemplative nature,
and his more vague desires into his art, the sensuous images through
which it speaks become broken, fleeting, uncertain, or are chosen for
their distance from general experience, and all grows unsubstantial
and fantastic. When imagination moves in a dim world like the country
of sleep in ‘Love’s Nocturne’ and ‘Siren there winds her dizzy hair and
sings’ we go to it for delight indeed but in our weariness. If we are
to sojourn there that world must grow consistent with itself, emotion
must be related to emotion by a system of ordered images, as in the
_Divine Comedy_. It must grow to be symbolic, that is, for the soul
can only achieve a distinct separated life where many related objects
at once distinguish and arouse its energies in their fulness. All
visionaries have entered into such a world in trances, and all ideal
art has trance for warranty. Shelley seemed to Matthew Arnold to beat
his ineffectual wings in the void, and I only made my pleasure in him
contented pleasure by massing in my imagination his recurring images of
towers and rivers, and caves with fountains in them, and that one star
of his, till his world had grown solid underfoot and consistent enough
for the soul’s habitation.

But even then I lacked something to compensate my imagination for
geographical and historical reality, for the testimony of our ordinary
senses, and found myself wishing for and trying to imagine, as I had
also when reading Keats’ _Endymion_, a crowd of believers who could
put into all those strange sights the strength of their belief and the
rare testimony of their visions. A little crowd had been sufficient,
and I would have had Shelley a sectary that his revelation might have
found the only sufficient evidence of religion, miracle. All symbolic
art should arise out of a real belief, and that it cannot do so in
this age proves that this age is a road and not a resting-place for
the imaginative arts. I can only understand others by myself, and I am
certain that there are many who are not moved as they desire to be by
that solitary light burning in the tower of Prince Athanais, because it
has not entered into men’s prayers nor lighted any through the sacred
dark of religious contemplation.

Lyrical poems even when they but speak of emotions common to all need,
if not a religious belief like the spiritual arts, a life that has
leisure for itself, and a society that is quickly stirred that our
emotion may be strengthened by the emotion of others. All circumstance
that makes emotion at once dignified and visible, increases the poet’s
power, and I think that is why I have always longed for some stringed
instrument and a listening audience not drawn out of the hurried
streets but from a life where it would be natural to murmur over again
the singer’s thought. When I heard Yvette Guilbert the other day, who
has the lyre or as good, I was not content, for she sang among people
whose life had nothing it could share with an exquisite art that should
rise out of life as the blade out of the spearshaft, a song out of the
mood, the fountain from its pool, all art out of the body, laughter
from a happy company. I longed to make all things over again, that she
might sing in some great hall, where there was no one that did not love
life and speak of it continually.



THE HOLY PLACES


WHEN all art was struck out of personality, whether as in our daily
business or in the adventure of religion, there was little separation
between holy and common things, and just as the arts themselves passed
quickly from passion to divine contemplation, from the conversation
of peasants to that of princes, the one song remembering the drunken
miller and but half forgetting Cambynskan bold; so did a man feel
himself near sacred presences when he turned his plough from the slope
of Cruachmaa or of Olympus. The occupations and the places known to
Homer or to Hesiod, those pure first artists, might, as it were, if
but the fashioners’ hands had loosened, have changed before the poem’s
end to symbols and vanished, winged and unweary, into the unchanging
worlds where religion only can discover life as well as peace. A
man of that unbroken day could have all the subtlety of Shelley,
and yet use no image unknown among the common people, and speak no
thought that was not a deduction from the common thought. Unless the
discovery of legendary knowledge and the returning belief in miracle,
or what we must needs call so, can bring once more a new belief in
the sanctity of common ploughland, and new wonders that reward no
difficult ecclesiastical routine but the common, wayward, spirited man,
we may never see again a Shelley and a Dickens in the one body, but
be broken to the end. We have grown jealous of the body, and we dress
it in dull unshapely clothes, that we may cherish aspiration alone.
Molière being but the master of common sense lived ever in the common
daylight, but Shakespeare could not, and Shakespeare seems to bring us
to the very market-place, when we remember Shelley’s dizzy and Landor’s
calm disdain of usual daily things. And at last we have Villiers de
L’Isle Adam crying in the ecstasy of a supreme culture, of a supreme
refusal, ‘as for living, our servants will do that for us.’ One of
the means of loftiness, of marmorean stillness has been the choice of
strange and far away places, for the scenery of art, but this choice
has grown bitter to me, and there are moments when I cannot believe in
the reality of imaginations that are not inset with the minute life
of long familiar things and symbols and places. I have come to think
of even Shakespeare’s journeys to Rome or to Verona as the outflowing
of an unrest, a dissatisfaction with natural interests, an unstable
equilibrium of the whole European mind that would not have come had
Constantinople wall been built of better stone. I am orthodox and pray
for a resurrection of the body, and am certain that a man should find
his Holy Land where he first crept upon the floor, and that familiar
woods and rivers should fade into symbol with so gradual a change that
he never discover, no, not even in ecstasy itself, that he is beyond
space, and that time alone keeps him from Primum Mobile, the Supernal
Eden, and the White Rose over all.



EDMUND SPENSER


    _Included by kind permission of Messrs. T. C. and E. C. Jack._


I

WE know little of Spenser’s childhood and nothing of his parents,
except that his father was probably an Edmund Spenser of north-east
Lancashire, a man of good blood and ‘belonging to a house of ancient
fame.’ He was born in London in 1552, nineteen years after the death
of Ariosto, and when Tasso was about eight years old. Full of the
spirit of the Renaissance, at once passionate and artificial, looking
out upon the world now as craftsman, now as connoisseur, he was to
found his art upon theirs rather than upon the more humane, the more
noble, the less intellectual art of Malory and the Minstrels. Deafened
and blinded by their influence, as so many of us were in boyhood by
that art of Hugo, that made the old simple writers seem but as brown
bread and water, he was always to love the journey more than its end,
the landscape more than the man, and reason more than life, and the
tale less than its telling. He entered Pembroke College, Cambridge,
in 1569, and translated allegorical poems out of Petrarch and Du
Bellay. To-day a young man translates out of Verlaine and Verhaeren;
but at that day Ronsard and Du Bellay were the living poets, who
promised revolutionary and unheard-of things to a poetry moving towards
elaboration and intellect, as ours—the serpent’s tooth in his own tail
again—moves towards simplicity and instinct. At Cambridge he met with
Hobbinol of _The Shepheards Calender_, a certain Gabriel Harvey, son of
a rope-maker at Saffron Walden, but now a Fellow of Pembroke College,
a notable man, some five or six years his elder. It is usual to think
ill of Harvey, because of his dislike of rhyme and his advocacy of
classical metres, and because he complained that Spenser preferred
his _Faerie Queene_ to the _Nine Muses_, and encouraged Hobgoblin ‘to
run off with the Garland of Apollo.’ But at that crossroad, where so
many crowds mingled talking of so many lands, no one could foretell
in what bed he would sleep after nightfall. Milton was in the end to
dislike rhyme as much, and it is certain that rhyme is one of the
secondary causes of that disintegration of the personal instincts
which has given to modern poetry its deep colour for colour’s sake, its
overflowing pattern, its background of decorative landscape, and its
insubordination of detail. At the opening of a movement we are busy
with first principles, and can find out everything but the road we
are to go, everything but the weight and measure of the impulse, that
has come to us out of life itself, for that is always in defiance of
reason, always without a justification but by faith and works. Harvey
set Spenser to the making of verses in classical metre, and certain
lines have come down to us written in what Spenser called ‘Iambicum
trimetrum.’ His biographers agree that they are very bad, but, though
I cannot scan them, I find in them the charm of what seems a sincere
personal emotion. The man himself, liberated from the minute felicities
of phrase and sound, that are the temptation and the delight of rhyme,
speaks of his Mistress some thought that came to him not for the sake
of poetry, but for love’s sake, and the emotion instead of dissolving
into detached colours, into ‘the spangly gloom’ that Keats saw ‘froth
and boil’ when he put his eyes into ‘the pillowy cleft,’ speaks to her
in poignant words as if out of a tear-stained love-letter:

    ‘Unhappie verse, the witnesse of my unhappie state,
    Make thy selfe fluttring winge for thy fast flying
    Thought, and fly forth to my love wheresoever she be.
    Whether lying restlesse in heavy bedde, or else
    Sitting so cheerlesse at the cheerful boorde, or else
    Playing alone carelesse on her heavenlie virginals.
    If in bed, tell hir that my eyes can take no rest;
    If at boorde tell her that my mouth can eat no meate;
    If at her virginals, tell her that I can heare no mirth.’


II

He left College in his twenty-fourth year, and stayed for a while in
Lancashire, where he had relations, and there fell in love with one he
has written of in _The Shepheards Calender_ as ‘Rosalind, the widdowes
daughter of the Glenn,’ though she was, for all her shepherding, as
one learns from a College friend, ‘a gentlewoman of no mean house.’
She married Menalchus of the _Calender_ and Spenser lamented her
for years, in verses so full of disguise that one cannot say if his
lamentations come out of a broken heart or are but a useful movement
in the elaborate ritual of his poetry, a well-ordered incident in
the mythology of his imagination. To no English poet, perhaps to no
European poet before his day, had the natural expression of personal
feeling been so impossible, the clear vision of the lineaments of
human character so difficult; no other’s head and eyes had sunk so far
into the pillowy cleft. After a year of this life he went to London,
and by Harvey’s advice and introduction entered the service of the
Earl of Leicester, staying for a while in his house on the banks of
the Thames; and it was there in all likelihood that he met with the
Earl’s nephew, Sir Philip Sidney, still little more than a boy, but
with his head full of affairs of state. One can imagine that it was the
great Earl or Sir Philip Sidney that gave his imagination its moral
and practical turn, and one imagines him seeking from philosophical
men, who distrust instinct because it disturbs contemplation, and from
practical men who distrust everything they cannot use in the routine
of immediate events, that impulse and method of creation that can only
be learned with surety from the technical criticism of poets, and from
the excitement of some movement in the artistic life. Marlowe and
Shakespeare were still at school, and Ben Jonson was but five years
old. Sidney was doubtless the greatest personal influence that came
into Spenser’s life, and it was one that exalted moral zeal above every
other faculty. The great Earl impressed his imagination very deeply
also, for the lamentation over the Earl of Leicester’s death is more
than a conventional Ode to a dead patron. Spenser’s verses about men,
nearly always indeed, seem to express more of personal joy and sorrow
than those about women, perhaps because he was less deliberately a poet
when he spoke of men. At the end of a long beautiful passage he laments
that unworthy men should be in the dead Earl’s place, and compares them
to the fox—an unclean feeder—hiding in the lair ‘the badger swept.’
The imaginer of the festivals of Kenilworth was indeed the fit patron
for him, and alike, because of the strength and weakness of Spenser’s
art, one regrets that he could not have lived always in that elaborate
life a master of ceremony to the world, instead of being plunged into a
life that but stirred him to bitterness, as the way is with theoretical
minds in the tumults of events they cannot understand. In the winter
of 1579-80 he published _The Shepheards Calender_, a book of twelve
eclogues, one for every month of the year, and dedicated it to Sir
Philip Sidney. It was full of pastoral beauty and allegorical images of
current events, revealing too that conflict between the æsthetic and
moral interests that was to run through well-nigh all his works, and
it became immediately famous. He was rewarded with a place as private
secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Grey de Wilton, and sent to
Ireland, where he spent nearly all the rest of his life. After a few
years there he bought Kilcolman Castle, which had belonged to the rebel
Earl of Desmond, and the rivers and hills about this castle came much
into his poetry. Our Irish Aubeg is ‘Mulla mine, whose waves I taught
to weep,’ and the Ballyvaughan Hills, it has its rise among, ‘old
Father Mole.’ He never pictured the true countenance of Irish scenery,
for his mind turned constantly to the courts of Elizabeth and to the
umbrageous level lands, where his own race was already seeding like a
great poppy:

    ‘Both heaven and heavenly graces do much more
    (Quoth he), abound in that same land then this:
    For there all happie peace and plenteous store
    Conspire in one to make contented blisse.
    No wayling there nor wretchednesse is heard,
    No bloodie issues nor no leprosies,
    No griesly famine, nor no raging sweard,
    No nightly bordrags, nor no hue and cries;
    The shepheards there abroad may safely lie
    On hills and downes, withouten dread or daunger,
    No ravenous wolves the good mans hope destroy,
    Nor outlawes fell affray the forest raunger,
    The learned arts do florish in great honor,
    And Poets wits are had in peerlesse price.’

Nor did he ever understand the people he lived among or the historical
events that were changing all things about him. Lord Grey de Wilton
had been recalled almost immediately, but it was his policy, brought
over ready-made in his ship, that Spenser advocated throughout all his
life, equally in his long prose book _The State of Ireland_ as in the
_Faerie Queene_, where Lord Grey was Artigall and the Iron man the
soldiers and executioners by whose hands he worked. Like an hysterical
patient he drew a complicated web of inhuman logic out of the bowels
of an insufficient premise—there was no right, no law, but that of
Elizabeth, and all that opposed her opposed themselves to God, to
civilisation, and to all inherited wisdom and courtesy, and should be
put to death. He made two visits to England, celebrating one of them
in _Colin Clouts come Home againe_, to publish the first three books
and the second three books of the _Faerie Queene_ respectively, and to
try for some English office or pension. By the help of Raleigh, now
his neighbour at Kilcolman, he had been promised a pension, but was
kept out of it by Lord Burleigh, who said, ‘All that for a song!’ From
that day Lord Burleigh became that ‘rugged forehead’ of the poems,
whose censure of this or that is complained of. During the last three
or four years of his life in Ireland he married a fair woman of his
neighbourhood, and about her wrote many intolerable artificial sonnets
and that most beautiful passage in the sixth book of the _Faerie
Queene_, which tells of Colin Clout piping to the Graces and to her;
and he celebrated his marriage in the most beautiful of all his poems,
the _Epithalamium_. His genius was pictorial, and these pictures of
happiness were more natural to it than any personal pride, or joy, or
sorrow. His new happiness was very brief, and just as he was rising to
something of Milton’s grandeur in the fragment that has been called
_Mutabilitie_, ‘the wandering companies that keep the woods,’ as he
called the Irish armies, drove him to his death. Ireland, where he
saw nothing but work for the Iron man, was in the midst of the last
struggle of the old Celtic order with England, itself about to turn
bottom upward, of the passion of the Middle Ages with the craft of the
Renaissance. Seven years after Spenser’s arrival in Ireland a large
merchant ship had carried off from Loch Swilly, by a very crafty device
common in those days, certain persons of importance. Red Hugh, a boy
of fifteen, and the coming head of Tirconnell, and various heads of
clans had been enticed on board the merchant ship to drink of a fine
vintage, and there made prisoners. All but Red Hugh were released, on
finding substitutes among the boys of their kindred, and the captives
were hurried to Dublin and imprisoned in the Burningham Tower. After
four years of captivity and one attempt that failed, Red Hugh and his
companions escaped into the Dublin mountains, one dying there of cold
and privation, and from that to their own country-side. Red Hugh allied
himself to Hugh O’Neil, the most powerful of the Irish leaders—‘Oh,
deep, dissembling heart, born to great weal or woe of thy country!’
an English historian had cried to him—an Oxford man too, a man of the
Renaissance, and for a few years defeated English armies and shook the
power of England. The Irish, stirred by these events, and with it maybe
some rumours of _The State of Ireland_ sticking in their stomachs,
drove Spenser out of doors and burnt his house, one of his children, as
tradition has it, dying in the fire. He fled to England, and died some
three months later in January, 1599, as Ben Jonson says, ‘of lack of
bread.’

During the last four or five years of his life he had seen, without
knowing that he saw it, the beginning of the great Elizabethan
poetical movement. In 1598 he had pictured the Nine Muses lamenting
each one over the evil state in England, of the things that she had
in charge, but, like William Blake’s more beautiful _Whether on Ida’s
shady brow_, their lamentations should have been a cradle-song. When
he died _Romeo and Juliet_, _Richard III._, and _Richard II._, and the
plays of Marlowe had all been acted, and in stately houses were sung
madrigals and love songs whose like has not been in the world since.
Italian influence had strengthened the old French joy that had never
died out among the upper classes, and an art was being created for
the last time in England which had half its beauty from continually
suggesting a life hardly less beautiful than itself.


III

When Spenser was buried at Westminster Abbey many poets read verses in
his praise, and threw then their verses and the pens that had written
them into his tomb. Like him they belonged, for all the moral zeal
that was gathering like a London fog, to that indolent, demonstrative
Merry England that was about to pass away. Men still wept when they
were moved, still dressed themselves in joyous colours, and spoke
with many gestures. Thoughts and qualities sometimes come to their
perfect expression when they are about to pass away, and Merry England
was dying in plays, and in poems, and in strange adventurous men. If
one of those poets who threw his copy of verses into the earth that
was about to close over his master were to come alive again, he would
find some shadow of the life he knew, though not the art he knew,
among young men in Paris, and would think that his true country. If
he came to England he would find nothing there but the triumph of the
Puritan and the merchant—those enemies he had feared and hated—and
he would weep perhaps, in that womanish way of his, to think that so
much greatness had been, not as he had hoped, the dawn, but the sunset
of a people. He had lived in the last days of what we may call the
Anglo-French nation, the old feudal nation that had been established
when the Norman and the Angevin made French the language of court
and market. In the time of Chaucer English poets still wrote much in
French, and even English labourers lilted French songs over their work;
and I cannot read any Elizabethan poem or romance without feeling the
pressure of habits of emotion, and of an order of life which were
conscious, for all their Latin gaiety, of a quarrel to the death with
that new Anglo-Saxon nation that was arising amid Puritan sermons and
Mar-Prelate pamphlets. This nation had driven out the language of
its conquerors, and now it was to overthrow their beautiful, haughty
imagination and their manners, full of abandon and wilfulness, and to
set in their stead earnestness and logic and the timidity and reserve
of a counting-house. It had been coming for a long while, for it had
made the Lollards; and when Anglo-French Chaucer was at Westminster its
poet, Langland, sang the office at St. Paul’s. Shakespeare, with his
delight in great persons, with his indifference to the State, with his
scorn of the crowd, with his feudal passion, was of the old nation, and
Spenser, though a joyless earnestness had cast shadows upon him, and
darkened his intellect wholly at times, was of the old nation too. His
_Faerie Queene_ was written in Merry England, but when Bunyan wrote
in prison the other great English allegory Modern England had been
born. Bunyan’s men would do right that they might come some day to
the Delectable Mountain, and not at all that they might live happily
in a world whose beauty was but an entanglement about their feet.
Religion had denied the sacredness of an earth that commerce was about
to corrupt and ravish, but when Spenser lived the earth had still its
sheltering sacredness. His religion, where the paganism that is natural
to proud and happy people had been strengthened by the platonism of
the Renaissance, cherished the beauty of the soul and the beauty of
the body with, as it seemed, an equal affection. He would have had men
live well, not merely that they might win eternal happiness but that
they might live splendidly among men and be celebrated in many songs.
How could one live well if one had not the joy of the Creator and of
the Giver of gifts? He says in his _Hymn to Beauty_ that a beautiful
soul, unless for some stubbornness in the ground, makes for itself a
beautiful body, and he even denies that beautiful persons ever lived
who had not souls as beautiful. They may have been tempted until they
seemed evil, but that was the fault of others. And in his _Hymn to
Heavenly Beauty_ he sets a woman little known to theology, one that
he names Wisdom or Beauty, above Seraphim and Cherubim and in the
very bosom of God, and in the _Faerie Queene_ it is pagan Venus and
her lover Adonis who create the forms of all living things and send
them out into the world, calling them back again to the gardens of
Adonis at their lives’ end to rest there, as it seems, two thousand
years between life and life. He began in English poetry, despite a
temperament that delighted in sensuous beauty alone with perfect
delight, that worship of Intellectual Beauty which Shelley carried to a
much greater subtlety and applied to the whole of life.

The qualities, to each of whom he had planned to give a Knight, he
had borrowed from Aristotle and partly Christianised, but not to the
forgetting of their heathen birth. The chief of the Knights, who
would have combined in himself the qualities of all the others, had
Spenser lived to finish the _Faerie Queene_, was King Arthur, the
representative of an ancient quality, Magnificence. Born at the moment
of change, Spenser had indeed many Puritan thoughts. It has been
recorded that he cut his hair short and half regretted his hymns to
Love and Beauty. But he has himself told us that the many-headed beast
overthrown and bound by Calidor, Knight of Courtesy, was Puritanism
itself. Puritanism, its zeal and its narrowness, and the angry
suspicion that it had in common with all movements of the ill-educated,
seemed no other to him than a slanderer of all fine things. One
doubts, indeed, if he could have persuaded himself that there could
be any virtue at all without courtesy, perhaps without something of
pageant and eloquence. He was, I think, by nature altogether a man
of that old Catholic feudal nation, but, like Sidney, he wanted to
justify himself to his new masters. He wrote of knights and ladies,
wild creatures imagined by the aristocratic poets of the twelfth
century, and perhaps chiefly by English poets who had still the French
tongue; but he fastened them with allegorical nails to a big barn
door of common-sense, of merely practical virtue. Allegory itself had
risen into general importance with the rise of the merchant class in
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; and it was natural when that
class was about for the first time to shape an age in its image, that
the last epic poet of the old order should mix its art with his own
long-descended, irresponsible, happy art.


IV

Allegory and, to a much greater degree, symbolism are a natural
language by which the soul when entranced, or even in ordinary sleep,
communes with God and with angels. They can speak of things which
cannot be spoken of in any other language, but one will always, I
think, feel some sense of unreality when they are used to describe
things which can be described as well in ordinary words. Dante used
allegory to describe visionary things, and the first maker of _The
Romance of the Rose_, for all his lighter spirits, pretends that his
adventures came to him in a vision one May morning; while Bunyan, by
his preoccupation with heaven and the soul, gives his simple story
a visionary strangeness and intensity: he believes so little in the
world, that he takes us away from all ordinary standards of probability
and makes us believe even in allegory for a while. Spenser, on the
other hand, to whom allegory was not, as I think, natural at all,
makes us feel again and again that it disappoints and interrupts our
preoccupation with the beautiful and sensuous life he has called up
before our eyes. It interrupts us most when he copies Langland, and
writes in what he believes to be a mood of edification, and the least
when he is not quite serious, when he sets before us some procession
like a court pageant made to celebrate a wedding or a crowning. One
cannot think that he should have occupied himself with moral and
religious questions at all. He should have been content to be, as
Emerson thought Shakespeare was, a Master of the Revels to mankind. I
am certain that he never gets that visionary air which can alone make
allegory real, except when he writes out of a feeling for glory and
passion. He had no deep moral or religious life. He has never a line
like Dante’s ‘Thy Will is our Peace,’ or like Thomas à Kempis’s ‘The
Holy Spirit has liberated me from a multitude of opinions,’ or even
like Hamlet’s objection to the bare bodkin. He had been made a poet
by what he had almost learnt to call his sins. If he had not felt it
necessary to justify his art to some serious friend, or perhaps even to
‘that rugged forehead,’ he would have written all his life long, one
thinks, of the loves of shepherdesses and shepherds, among whom there
would have been perhaps the morals of the dovecot. One is persuaded
that his morality is official and impersonal—a system of life which
it was his duty to support—and it is perhaps a half understanding
of this that has made so many generations believe that he was the
first poet laureate, the first salaried moralist among the poets. His
processions of deadly sins, and his houses, where the very cornices
are arbitrary images of virtue, are an unconscious hypocrisy, an
undelighted obedience to the ‘rugged forehead,’ for all the while he
is thinking of nothing but lovers whose bodies are quivering with the
memory or the hope of long embraces. When they are not together, he
will indeed embroider emblems and images much as those great ladies of
the courts of love embroidered them in their castles; and when these
are imagined out of a thirst for magnificence and not thought out in
a mood of edification, they are beautiful enough; but they are always
tapestries for corridors that lead to lovers’ meetings or for the walls
of marriage chambers. He was not passionate, for the passionate feed
their flame in wanderings and absences, when the whole being of the
beloved, every little charm of body and of soul, is always present to
the mind, filling it with heroical subtleties of desire. He is a poet
of the delighted senses, and his song becomes most beautiful when he
writes of those islands of Phædria and Acrasia, which angered ‘that
rugged forehead,’ as it seems, but gave to Keats his _Belle Dame sans
Merci_ and his ‘perilous seas in faery lands forlorn,’ and to William
Morris his _Water of the Wondrous Isles_.


V

The dramatists lived in a disorderly world, reproached by many,
persecuted even, but following their imagination wherever it led them.
Their imagination, driven hither and thither by beauty and sympathy,
put on something of the nature of eternity. Their subject was always
the soul, the whimsical, self-awakening, self-exciting, self-appeasing
soul. They celebrated its heroical, passionate will going by its own
path to immortal and invisible things. Spenser, on the other hand,
except among those smooth pastoral scenes and lovely effeminate islands
that have made him a great poet, tried to be of his time, or rather
of the time that was all but at hand. Like Sidney, whose charm it may
be led many into slavery, he persuaded himself that we enjoy Virgil
because of the virtues of Æneas, and so planned out his immense poem
that it would set before the imagination of citizens, in whom there
would soon be no great energy, innumerable blameless Æneases. He had
learned to put the State, which desires all the abundance for itself,
in the place of the Church, and he found it possible to be moved by
expedient emotions, merely because they were expedient, and to think
serviceable thoughts with no self-contempt. He loved his Queen a little
because she was the protectress of poets and an image of that old
Anglo-French nation that lay a-dying, but a great deal because she was
the image of the State which had taken possession of his conscience.
She was over sixty years old, and ugly and, it is thought, selfish, but
in his poetry she is ‘fair Cynthia,’ ‘a crown of lilies,’ ‘the image
of the heavens,’ ‘without mortal blemish,’ and has ‘an angelic face,’
where ‘the red rose’ has ‘meddled with the white’; ‘Phœbus thrusts out
his golden head’ but to look upon her, and blushes to find himself
outshone. She is ‘a fourth Grace,’ ‘a queen of love,’ ‘a sacred saint,’
and ‘above all her sex that ever yet has been.’ In the midst of his
praise of his own sweetheart he stops to remember that Elizabeth is
more beautiful, and an old man in _Daphnaida_, although he has been
brought to death’s door by the death of a beautiful daughter, remembers
that though his daughter ‘seemed of angelic race,’ she was yet but the
primrose to the rose beside Elizabeth. Spenser had learned to look to
the State not only as the rewarder of virtue but as the maker of right
and wrong, and had begun to love and hate as it bid him. The thoughts
that we find for ourselves are timid and a little secret, but those
modern thoughts that we share with large numbers are confident and very
insolent. We have little else to-day, and when we read our newspaper
and take up its cry, above all its cry of hatred, we will not think
very carefully, for we hear the marching feet. When Spenser wrote of
Ireland he wrote as an official, and out of thoughts and emotions that
had been organised by the State. He was the first of many Englishmen to
see nothing but what he was desired to see. Could he have gone there
as a poet merely, he might have found among its poets more wonderful
imaginations than even those islands of Phædria and Acrasia. He would
have found among wandering storytellers, not indeed his own power of
rich, sustained description, for that belongs to lettered ease, but
certainly all the kingdom of Faerie, still unfaded, of which his own
poetry was often but a troubled image. He would have found men doing by
swift strokes of the imagination much that he was doing with painful
intellect, with that imaginative reason that soon was to drive out
imagination altogether and for a long time. He would have met with, at
his own door, storytellers among whom the perfection of Greek art was
indeed as unknown as his own power of detailed description, but who,
none the less, imagined or remembered beautiful incidents and strange,
pathetic out-crying that made them of Homer’s lineage. Flaubert says
somewhere, ‘There are things in Hugo, as in Rabelais, that I could
have mended, things badly built, but then what thrusts of power beyond
the reach of conscious art!’ Is not all history but the coming of that
conscious art which first makes articulate and then destroys the old
wild energy? Spenser, the first poet struck with remorse, the first
poet who gave his heart to the State, saw nothing but disorder, where
the mouths that have spoken all the fables of the poets had not yet
become silent. All about him were shepherds and shepherdesses still
living the life that made Theocritus and Virgil think of shepherd and
poet as the one thing; but though he dreamed of Virgil’s shepherds
he wrote a book to advise, among many like things, the harrying of
all that followed flocks upon the hills, and of all ‘the wandering
companies that keep the woods.’ His _View of the State of Ireland_
commends indeed the beauty of the hills and woods where they did
their shepherding, in that powerful and subtle language of his which
I sometimes think more full of youthful energy than even the language
of the great playwrights. He is ‘sure it is yet a most beautiful and
sweet country as any under heaven,’ and that all would prosper but for
those agitators, ’those wandering companies that keep the wood,’ and
he would rid it of them by a certain expeditious way. There should be
four great garrisons. ‘And those fowre garrisons issuing foorthe, at
such convenient times as they shall have intelligence or espiall upon
the enemye, will so drive him from one side to another and tennis him
amongst them, that he shall finde nowhere safe to keepe his creete,
or hide himselfe, but flying from the fire shall fall into the water,
and out of one daunger into another, that in short space his creete,
which is his moste sustenence, shall be wasted in preying, or killed in
driving, or starved for wante of pasture in the woodes, and he himselfe
brought soe lowe, that he shall have no harte nor abilitye to indure
his wretchednesse, the which will surely come to passe in very short
space; for one winters well following of him will so plucke him on his
knees that he will never be able to stand up agayne.’

He could commend this expeditious way from personal knowledge, and
could assure the Queen that the people of the country would soon
’consume themselves and devoure one another. The proofs whereof I
saw sufficiently ensampled in these late warres of Mounster; for
notwithstanding that the same was a most rich and plentifull countrey,
full of corne and cattell, that you would have thought they would
have bene able to stand long, yet ere one yeare and a halfe they were
brought to such wretchednesse, as that any stonye heart would have
rued the same. Out of every corner of the woodes and glynnes they came
creeping forth upon theyr hands, for theyr legges could not beare them;
they looked like anatomyes of death, they spake like ghosts crying out
of their graves; they did eate of the dead carrions, happy were they if
they could finde them, yea, and one another soone after, insomuch as
the very carcasses they spared not to scrape out of theyr graves; and
if they found a plot of water-cresses or shamrokes, there they flocked
as to a feast for the time, yet not able long to continue therewithall;
that in short space there were none allmost left, and a most populous
and plentifull countrey suddaynely left voyde of man or beast; yet sure
in all that warre, there perished not many by the sword, but all by the
extremitye of famine.’


VI

In a few years the Four Masters were to write the history of that
time, and they were to record the goodness or the badness of Irishman
and Englishman with entire impartiality. They had seen friends and
relatives persecuted, but they would write of that man’s poisoning
and this man’s charities and of the fall of great houses, and hardly
with any other emotion than a thought of the pitiableness of all life.
Friend and enemy would be for them a part of the spectacle of the
world. They remembered indeed those Anglo-French invaders who conquered
for the sake of their own strong hand, and when they had conquered
became a part of the life about them, singing its songs, when they grew
weary of their own Iseult and Guinevere. But the Four Masters had not
come to understand, as I think, despite famines and exterminations,
that new invaders were among them, who fought for an alien State,
for an alien religion. Such ideas were difficult to them, for they
belonged to the old individual, poetical life, and spoke a language
even in which it was all but impossible to think an abstract thought.
They understood Spain, doubtless, which persecuted in the interests
of religion, but I doubt if anybody in Ireland could have understood
as yet that the Anglo-Saxon nation was beginning to persecute in the
service of ideas it believed to be the foundation of the State. I
doubt if anybody in Ireland saw that with certainty, till the Great
Demagogue had come and turned the old house of the noble into ’the
house of the Poor, the lonely house, the accursed house of Cromwell.’
He came, another Cairbry Cat Head, with that great rabble, who had
overthrown the pageantry of Church and Court, but who turned towards
him faces full of the sadness and docility of their long servitude,
and the old individual, poetical life went down, as it seems, for
ever. He had studied Spenser’s book and approved of it, as we know,
finding, doubtless, his own head there, for Spenser, a king of the old
race, carried a mirror which showed kings yet to come though but kings
of the mob. Those Bohemian poets of the theatres were wiser, for the
States that touched them nearly were the States where Helen and Dido
had sorrowed, and so their mirrors showed none but beautiful heroical
heads. They wandered in the places that pale passion loves, and were
happy, as one thinks, and troubled little about those marching and
hoarse-throated thoughts that the State has in its pay. They knew
that those marchers, with the dust of so many roads upon them, are
very robust and have great and well-paid generals to write expedient
despatches in sound prose; and they could hear mother earth singing
among her cornfields:

    ‘Weep not, my wanton! smile upon my knee;
    When thou art old there’s grief enough for thee.’


VII

There are moments when one can read neither Milton nor Spenser,
moments when one recollects nothing but that their flesh had partly
been changed to stone, but there are other moments when one recollects
nothing but those habits of emotion that made the lesser poet
especially a man of an older, more imaginative time. One remembers
that he delighted in smooth pastoral places, because men could be busy
there or gather together there, after their work, that he could love
handiwork and the hum of voices. One remembers that he could still
rejoice in the trees, not because they were images of loneliness and
meditation, but because of their serviceableness. He could praise ‘the
builder oake,’ ’the aspine, good for staves,’ ‘the cypresse funerall,’
’the eugh, obedient to the bender’s will,’ ’the birch for shaftes,’
’the sallow for the mill,’ ’the mirrhe sweete-bleeding in the bitter
wound,’ ’the fruitful olive,’ and ‘the carver holme.’ He was of a time
before undelighted labour had made the business of men a desecration.
He carries one’s memory back to Virgil’s and Chaucer’s praise of trees,
and to the sweet-sounding song made by the old Irish poet in their
praise.

I got up from reading the _Faerie Queene_ the other day and wandered
into another room. It was in a friend’s house, and I came of a sudden
to the ancient poetry and to our poetry side by side—an engraving
of Claude’s ‘Mill’ hung under an engraving of Turner’s ‘Temple of
Jupiter.’ Those dancing country people, those cow-herds, resting after
the day’s work, and that quiet mill-race made one think of Merry
England with its glad Latin heart, of a time when men in every land
found poetry and imagination in one another’s company and in the day’s
labour. Those stately goddesses, moving in slow procession towards that
marble architrave among mysterious trees, belong to Shelley’s thought,
and to the religion of the wilderness—the only religion possible to
poetry to-day. Certainly Colin Clout, the companionable shepherd, and
Calidor, the courtly man-at-arms, are gone, and Alastor is wandering
from lonely river to river finding happiness in nothing but in that
star where Spenser too had imagined the fountain of perfect things.
This new beauty, in losing so much, has indeed found a new loftiness, a
something of religious exaltation that the old had not. It may be that
those goddesses, moving with a majesty like a procession of the stars,
mean something to the soul of man that those kindly women of the old
poets did not mean, for all the fulness of their breasts and the joyous
gravity of their eyes. Has not the wilderness been at all times a place
of prophecy?


VIII

Our poetry, though it has been a deliberate bringing back of the Latin
joy and the Latin love of beauty, has had to put off the old marching
rhythms, that once delighted more than expedient hearts, in separating
itself from a life where servile hands have become powerful. It has
ceased to have any burden for marching shoulders, since it learned
ecstasy from Smart in his mad cell, and from Blake, who made joyous
little songs out of almost unintelligible visions, and from Keats,
who sang of a beauty so wholly preoccupied with itself that its
contemplation is a kind of lingering trance. The poet, if he would not
carry burdens that are not his and obey the orders of servile lips,
must sit apart in contemplative indolence playing with fragile things.

If one chooses at hazard a Spenserian stanza out of Shelley and
compares it with any stanza by Spenser, one sees the change, though it
would be still more clear if one had chosen a lyrical passage. I will
take a stanza out of _Laon and Cythna_, for that is story-telling and
runs nearer to Spenser than the meditative _Adonais_:

    ‘The meteor to its far morass returned:
    The beating of our veins one interval
    Made still; and then I felt the blood that burned
    Within her frame, mingle with mine, and fall
    Around my heart like fire; and over all
    A mist was spread, the sickness of a deep
    And speechless swoon of joy, as might befall
    Two disunited spirits when they leap
    In union from this earth’s obscure and fading sleep.’

The rhythm is varied and troubled, and the lines, which are in
Spenser like bars of gold thrown ringing one upon another, are broken
capriciously. Nor is the meaning the less an inspiration of indolent
muses, for it wanders hither and thither at the beckoning of fancy. It
is now busy with a meteor and now with throbbing blood that is fire,
and with a mist that is a swoon and a sleep that is life. It is bound
together by the vaguest suggestion, while Spenser’s verse is always
rushing on to some preordained thought. ‘A popular poet’ can still
indeed write poetry of the will, just as factory girls wear the fashion
of hat or dress the moneyed classes wore a year ago, but ‘popular
poetry’ does not belong to the living imagination of the world. Old
writers gave men four temperaments, and they gave the sanguineous
temperament to men of active life, and it is precisely the sanguineous
temperament that is fading out of poetry and most obviously out of
what is most subtle and living in poetry—its pulse and breath, its
rhythm. Because poetry belongs to that element in every race which is
most strong, and therefore most individual, the poet is not stirred
to imaginative activity by a life which is surrendering its freedom
to ever new elaboration, organisation, mechanism. He has no longer
a poetical will, and must be content to write out of those parts of
himself which are too delicate and fiery for any deadening exercise.
Every generation has more and more loosened the rhythm, more and more
broken up and disorganised, for the sake of subtlety or detail, those
great rhythms which move, as it were, in masses of sound. Poetry
has become more spiritual, for the soul is of all things the most
delicately organised, but it has lost in weight and measure and in its
power of telling long stories and of dealing with great and complicated
events. _Laon and Cythna_, though I think it rises sometimes into
loftier air than the _Faerie Queene_, and _Endymion_, though its
shepherds and wandering divinities have a stranger and more intense
beauty than Spenser’s, have need of too watchful and minute attention
for such lengthy poems. In William Morris, indeed, one finds a music
smooth and unexacting like that of the old story-tellers, but not their
energetic pleasure, their rhythmical wills. One too often misses in his
_Earthly Paradise_ the minute ecstasy of modern song without finding
that old happy-go-lucky tune that had kept the story marching.

Spenser’s contemporaries, writing lyrics or plays full of lyrical
moments, write a verse more delicately organised than his and crowd
more meaning into a phrase than he, but they could not have kept one’s
attention through so long a poem. A friend who has a fine ear told me
the other day that she had read all Spenser with delight and yet could
remember only four lines. When she repeated them they were from the
poem by Matthew Roydon, which is bound up with Spenser because it is a
commendation of Sir Philip Sidney:

    ‘A sweet, attractive kind of grace,
    A full assurance given by looks,
    Continual comfort in a face,
    The lineaments of Gospel books.’

Yet if one were to put even these lines beside a fine modern song
one would notice that they had a stronger and rougher energy, a
feather-weight more, if eye and ear were fine enough to notice it, of
the active will, of the happiness that comes out of life itself.


IX

I have put into this book[A] only those passages from Spenser that I
want to remember and carry about with me. I have not tried to select
what people call characteristic passages, for that is, I think, the
way to make a dull book. One never really knows anybody’s taste but
one’s own, and if one likes anything sincerely one may be certain
that there are other people made out of the same earth to like it
too. I have taken out of _The Shepheards Calender_ only those parts
which are about love or about old age, and I have taken out of the
_Faerie Queene_ passages about shepherds and lovers, and fauns and
satyrs, and a few allegorical processions. I find that though I love
symbolism, which is often the only fitting speech for some mystery of
disembodied life, I am for the most part bored by allegory, which is
made, as Blake says, ‘by the daughters of memory,’ and coldly, with no
wizard frenzy. The processions I have chosen are either those, like
the House of Mammon, that have enough ancient mythology, always an
implicit symbolism, or, like the Cave of Despair, enough sheer passion
to make one forget or forgive their allegory, or else they are, like
that vision of Scudamour, so visionary, so full of a sort of ghostly
midnight animation, that one is persuaded that they had some strange
purpose and did truly appear in just that way to some mind worn out
with war and trouble. The vision of Scudamour is, I sometimes think,
the finest invention in Spenser. Until quite lately I knew nothing of
Spenser but the parts I had read as a boy. I did not know that I had
read so far as that vision, but year after year this thought would rise
up before me coming from I knew not where. I would be alone perhaps
in some old building, and I would think suddenly ’out of that door
might come a procession of strange people doing mysterious things with
tumult. They would walk over the stone floor, then suddenly vanish,
and everything would become silent again.’ Once I saw what is called,
I think, a Board School continuation class play _Hamlet_. There was no
stage, but they walked in procession into the midst of a large room
full of visitors and of their friends. While they were walking in,
that thought came to me again from I knew not where. I was alone in a
great church watching ghostly kings and queens setting out upon their
unearthly business.

It was only last summer, when I read the Fourth Book of the _Faerie
Queene_, that I found I had been imagining over and over the enchanted
persecution of Amoret.

I give too, in a section which I call ‘Gardens of Delight,’ the good
gardens of Adonis and the bad gardens of Phædria and Acrasia, which
are mythological and symbolical, but not allegorical, and show,
more particularly those bad islands, his power of describing bodily
happiness and bodily beauty at its greatest. He seemed always to feel
through the eyes, imagining everything in pictures. Marlowe’s _Hero and
Leander_ is more energetic in its sensuality, more complicated in its
intellectual energy than this languid story, which pictures always a
happiness that would perish if the desire to which it offers so many
roses lost its indolence and its softness. There is no passion in the
pleasure he has set amid perilous seas, for he would have us understand
that there alone could the war-worn and the sea-worn man find date-less
leisure and unrepining peace.

_October, 1902._



POETRY AND TRADITION


I

WHEN Mr. O’Leary died I could not bring myself to go to his funeral,
though I had been once his close fellow-worker, for I shrank from
seeing about his grave so many whose Nationalism was different from
anything he had taught or that I could share. He belonged, as did his
friend John F. Taylor, to the romantic conception of Irish Nationality
on which Lionel Johnson and myself founded, so far as it was founded
on anything but literature, our Art and our Irish criticism. Perhaps
his spirit, if it can care for or can see old friends now, will accept
this apology for an absence that has troubled me. I learned much from
him and much from Taylor, who will always seem to me the greatest
orator I have heard; and that ideal Ireland, perhaps from this out an
imaginary Ireland, in whose service I labour, will always be in many
essentials their Ireland. They were the last to speak an understanding
of life and Nationality, built up by the generation of Grattan, which
read Homer and Virgil, and by the generation of Davis, which had been
pierced through by the idealism of Mazzini,[B] and of the European
revolutionists of the mid-century.

O’Leary had joined the Fenian movement with no hope of success as
we know, but because he believed such a movement good for the moral
character of the people; and had taken his long imprisonment without
complaining. Even to the very end, while often speaking of his prison
life, he would have thought it took from his Roman courage to describe
its hardship. The worth of a man’s acts in the moral memory, a
continual height of mind in the doing of them, seemed more to him than
their immediate result, if, indeed, the sight of many failures had not
taken away the thought of success. A man was not to lie, or even to
give up his dignity, on any patriotic plea, and I have heard him say,
‘I have but one religion, the old Persian: to bend the bow and tell
the truth,’ and again, ‘There are things a man must not do to save a
nation,’ and again, ‘A man must not cry in public to save a nation,’
and that we might not forget justice in the passion of controversy.
‘There was never cause so bad that it has not been defended by good
men for what seemed to them good reasons.’ His friend had a burning
and brooding imagination that divided men not according to their
achievement but by their degrees of sincerity, and by their mastery
over a straight and, to my thought, too obvious logic that seemed to
him essential to sincerity. Neither man had an understanding of style
or of literature in the right sense of the word, though both were great
readers, but because their imagination could come to rest no place
short of greatness, they hoped, John O’Leary especially, for an Irish
literature of the greatest kind. When Lionel Johnson and Katharine
Tynan (as she was then), and I, myself, began to reform Irish poetry,
we thought to keep unbroken the thread running up to Grattan which
John O’Leary had put into our hands, though it might be our business
to explore new paths of the labyrinth. We sought to make a more subtle
rhythm, a more organic form, than that of the older Irish poets who
wrote in English, but always to remember certain ardent ideas and high
attitudes of mind which were the nation itself, to our belief, so far
as a nation can be summarised in the intellect. If you had asked an
ancient Spartan what made Sparta Sparta, he would have answered, The
Laws of Lycurgus, and many Englishmen look back to Bunyan and to Milton
as we did to Grattan and to Mitchell. Lionel Johnson was able to take
up into his Art one portion of this tradition that I could not, for
he had a gift of speaking political thought in fine verse that I have
always lacked. I, on the other hand, was more preoccupied with Ireland
(for he had other interests), and took from Allingham and Walsh their
passion for country spiritism, and from Ferguson his pleasure in heroic
legend, and while seeing all in the light of European literature found
my symbols of expression in Ireland. One thought often possessed me
very strongly. New from the influence, mainly the personal influence,
of William Morris, I dreamed of enlarging Irish hate, till we had
come to hate with a passion of patriotism what Morris and Ruskin
hated. Mitchell had already all but poured some of that hate drawn
from Carlyle, who had it of an earlier and, as I think, cruder sort,
into the blood of Ireland, and were we not a poor nation with ancient
courage, unblackened fields, and a barbarous gift of self-sacrifice?
Ruskin and Morris had spent themselves in vain because they had
found no passion to harness to their thought, but here was unwasted
passion and precedents in the popular memory for every needed thought
and action. Perhaps, too, it would be possible to find in that new
philosophy of spiritism coming to a seeming climax in the work of
Ernest Myers, and in the investigations of uncounted obscure persons,
what could change the country spiritism into a reasoned belief that
would put its might into all the rest. A new belief seemed coming that
could be so simple and demonstratable and above all so mixed into the
common scenery of the world, that it would set the whole man on fire
and liberate him from a thousand obediences and complexities. We were
to forge in Ireland a new sword on our old traditional anvil for that
great battle that must in the end re-establish the old, confident,
joyous world. All the while I worked with this idea, founding societies
that became quickly or slowly everything I despise. One part of me
looked on, mischievous and mocking, and the other part spoke words
which were more and more unreal, as the attitude of mind became more
and more strained and difficult. Madame Maud Gonne could still draw
great crowds out of the slums by her beauty and sincerity, and speak
to them of ‘Mother Ireland with the crown of stars about her head.’
But gradually the political movement she was associated with, finding
it hard to build up any fine lasting thing, became content to attack
little persons and little things. All movements are held together
more by what they hate than what they love, for love separates and
individualises and quiets, but the nobler movements, the only movements
on which literature can found itself, hate great and lasting things.
All who have any old traditions, have something of aristocracy, but we
had opposing us from the first, though not strongly from the first,
a type of mind which had been without influence in the generation of
Grattan, and almost without it in that of Davis, and which has made a
new nation out of Ireland, that was once old and full of memories.

I remember, when I was twenty years old, arguing, on my way home from
a Young Ireland Society, that Ireland, with its hieratic Church, its
readiness to accept leadership in intellectual things—and John O’Leary
spoke much of this readiness[C]—its Latin hatred of middle paths and
uncompleted arguments, could never create a democratic poet of the
type of Burns, although it had tried to do so more than once, but that
its genius would in the long run be aristocratic and lonely. Whenever
I had known some old countryman, I had heard stories and sayings that
arose out of an imagination that would have understood Homer better
than ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night’ or ‘Highland Mary,’ because it
was an ancient imagination, where the sediment had found the time to
settle, and I believed that the makers of deliberate literature could
still take passion and theme, though but little thought, from such as
he. On some such old and broken stem, I thought, have all the most
beautiful roses been grafted.


II

   _Him who trembles before the flame and the flood,
    And the winds that blow through the starry ways;
    Let the starry winds and the flame and the flood
    Cover over and hide, for he has no part
    With the proud, majestical, multitude._

THREE types of men have made all beautiful things. Aristocracies have
made beautiful manners, because their place in the world puts them
above the fear of life, and the countrymen have made beautiful stories
and beliefs, because they have nothing to lose and so do not fear,
and the artists have made all the rest, because Providence has filled
them with recklessness. All these look backward to a long tradition,
for, being without fear, they have held to whatever pleased them. The
others being always anxious have come to possess little that is good
in itself, and are always changing from thing to thing, for whatever
they do or have must be a means to something else, and they have so
little belief that anything can be an end in itself, that they cannot
understand you if you say ‘All the most valuable things are useless.’
They prefer the stalk to the flower, and believe that painting and
poetry exist that there may be instruction, and love that there may
be children, and theatres that busy men may rest, and holidays that
busy men may go on being busy. At all times they fear and even hate
the things that have worth in themselves, for that worth may suddenly,
as it were a fire, consume their book of Life, where the world is
represented by cyphers and symbols; and before all else, they fear
irreverent joy and unserviceable sorrow. It seems to them, that those
who have been freed by position, by poverty, or by the traditions of
Art, have something terrible about them, a light that is unendurable
to eyesight. They complain much of that commandment that we can do
almost what we will, if we do it gaily, and think that freedom is but a
trifling with the world.

If we would find a company of our own way of thinking, we must go
backward to turreted walls, to courts, to high rocky places, to little
walled towns, to jesters like that jester of Charles the Fifth who made
mirth out of his own death; to the Duke Guidobaldo in his sickness, or
Duke Frederick in his strength, to all those who understood that life
is not lived at all, if not lived for contemplation or excitement.

Certainly we could not delight in that so courtly thing, the poetry
of light love, if it were sad; for only when we are gay over a thing,
and can play with it, do we show ourselves its master, and have minds
clear enough for strength. The raging fire and the destructive sword
are portions of eternity, too great for the eye of man, wrote Blake,
and it is only before such things, before a love like that of Tristan
and Iseult, before noble or ennobled death, that the free mind permits
itself aught but brief sorrow. That we may be free from all the rest,
sullen anger, solemn virtue, calculating anxiety, gloomy suspicion,
prevaricating hope, we should be reborn in gaiety. Because there is
submission in a pure sorrow, we should sorrow alone over what is
greater than ourselves, nor too soon admit that greatness, but all that
is less than we are should stir us to some joy, for pure joy masters
and impregnates; and so to world end, strength shall laugh and wisdom
mourn.


III

IN life, courtesy and self-possession, and in the arts style, are
the sensible impressions of the free mind, for both arise out of a
deliberate shaping of all things, and from never being swept away,
whatever the emotion, into confusion or dulness. The Japanese have
numbered with heroic things courtesy at all times whatsoever, and
though a writer, who has to withdraw so much of his thought out of his
life that he may learn his craft, may find many his betters in daily
courtesy, he should never be without style, which is but high breeding
in words and in argument. He is indeed the Creator of the standards of
manners in their subtlety, for he alone can know the ancient records
and be like some mystic courtier who has stolen the keys from the
girdle of time, and can wander where it please him amid the splendours
of ancient courts.

Sometimes, it may be, he is permitted the license of cap and bell, or
even the madman’s bunch of straws, but he never forgets or leaves at
home the seal and the signature. He has at all times the freedom of the
well-bred, and being bred to the tact of words can take what theme he
pleases, unlike the bourgeoisie, who are rightly compelled to be very
strict in their conversation. Who should be free if he were not? for
none other has a continual deliberate self-delighting happiness—style,
’the only thing that is immortal in literature,’ as Sainte-Beuve has
said, a still unexpended energy, after all that the argument or the
story need, a still unbroken pleasure after the immediate end has
been accomplished—and builds this up into a most personal and wilful
fire, transfiguring words and sounds and events. It is the playing of
strength when the day’s work is done, a secret between a craftsman and
his craft, and is so inseparate in his nature, that he has it most of
all amid overwhelming emotion, and in the face of death. Shakespeare’s
persons when the last darkness has gathered about them, speak out of an
ecstasy that is one half the self-surrender of sorrow, and one half the
last playing and mockery of the victorious sword, before the defeated
world.

It is in the arrangement of events as in the words, and in that touch
of extravagance, of irony, of surprise, which is set there after the
desire of logic has been satisfied and all that is merely necessary
established, and that leaves one, not in the circling necessity, but
caught up into the freedom of self-delight; as it were, the foam upon
the cup, the long pheasant’s feather on the horse’s head, the spread
peacock over the pasty. If it be very conscious, very deliberate, as it
may be in comedy, for comedy is more personal than tragedy, we call it
phantasy, perhaps even mischievous phantasy, recognising how disturbing
it is to all that drag a ball at the ankle. This joy, because it
must be always making and mastering, remains in the hands and in the
tongue of the artist, but with his eyes he enters upon a submissive,
sorrowful contemplation of the great irremediable things, and he is
known from other men by making all he handles like himself, and yet
by the unlikeness to himself of all that comes before him in a pure
contemplation. It may have been his enemy or his love or his cause that
set him dreaming, and certainly the phœnix can but open her young wings
in a flaming nest; but all hate and hope vanishes in the dream, and if
his mistress brag of the song or his enemy fear it, it is not that
either has its praise or blame, but that the twigs of the holy nest
are not easily set afire. The verses may make his mistress famous as
Helen or give a victory to his cause, not because he has been either’s
servant, but because men delight to honour and to remember all that
have served contemplation. It had been easier to fight, to die even,
for Charles’s house with Marvel’s poem in the memory, but there is no
zeal of service that had not been an impurity in the pure soil where
the marvel grew. Timon of Athens contemplates his own end, and orders
his tomb by the beachy margent of the flood, and Cleopatra sets the
asp to her bosom, and their words move us because their sorrow is not
their own at tomb or asp, but for all men’s fate. That shaping joy has
kept the sorrow pure, as it had kept it were the emotion love or hate,
for the nobleness of the Arts is in the mingling of contraries, the
extremity of sorrow, the extremity of joy, perfection of personality,
the perfection of its surrender, overflowing turbulent energy, and
marmorean stillness; and its red rose opens at the meeting of the two
beams of the cross, and at the trysting-place of mortal and immortal,
time and eternity. No new man has ever plucked that rose, or found
that trysting-place, for he could but come to the understanding of
himself, to the mastery of unlocking words after long frequenting of
the great Masters, hardly without ancestral memory of the like. Even
knowledge is not enough, for the ’recklessness’ or negligence which
Castiglione thought necessary in good manners is necessary in this
likewise, and if a man has it not he will be gloomy, and had better to
his marketing again.


IV

WHEN I saw John O’Leary first, every young Catholic man who had
intellectual ambition fed his imagination with the poetry of Young
Ireland; and the verses of even the least known of its poets were
expounded with a devout ardour at Young Ireland Societies and the like,
and their birthdays celebrated. The School of writers I belonged to,
tried to found itself on much of the subject-matter of this poetry,
and, what was almost more in our thoughts, to begin a more imaginative
tradition in Irish literature, by a criticism at once remorseless and
enthusiastic. It was our criticism, I think, that set Clarence Mangan
at the head of the Young Ireland poets in the place of Davis, and put
Sir Samuel Ferguson, who had died with but little fame as a poet,
next in the succession. Our attacks, mine especially, on verse which
owed its position to its moral or political worth, roused a resentment
which even I find it hard to imagine to-day, and our verse was attacked
in return, and not for anything peculiar to ourselves, but for all
that it had in common with the accepted poetry of the world, and most
of all for its lack of rhetoric, its refusal to preach a doctrine or
to consider the seeming necessities of a cause. Now, after so many
years, I can see how natural, how poetical even, an opposition was,
that shows what large numbers could not call up certain high feelings
without accustomed verses, or believe we had not wronged the feeling
when we did but attack the verses. I have just read in a newspaper that
Sir Charles Gavan Duffy recited before his death his favourite poem,
one of the worst of the patriotic poems of Young Ireland, and it has
brought all this to mind, for the opposition to our School claimed him
as its leader. When I was at Siena, I noticed that the Byzantine style
persisted in faces of Madonnas for several generations after it had
given way to a more natural style, in the less loved faces of saints
and martyrs. Passion had grown accustomed to those sloping and narrow
eyes, which are almost Japanese, and to those gaunt cheeks, and would
have thought it sacrilege to change. We would not, it is likely, have
found listeners if John O’Leary, the irreproachable patriot, had not
supported us. It was as clear to him that a writer must not write
badly, or ignore the examples of the great masters in the fancied or
real service of a cause, as it was that he must not lie for it or grow
hysterical. I believed in those days that a new intellectual life would
begin, like that of Young Ireland, but more profound and personal,
and that could we but get a few plain principles accepted, new poets
and writers of prose would make an immortal music. I think I was more
blind than Johnson, though I judge this from his poems rather than
anything I remember of his talk, for he never talked ideas, but, as was
common with his generation in Oxford, facts and immediate impressions
from life. With others this renunciation was but a pose, a superficial
reaction from the disordered abundance of the middle century, but with
him it was the radical life. He was in all a traditionalist, gathering
out of the past phrases, moods, attitudes, and disliking ideas less
for their uncertainty than because they made the mind itself changing
and restless. He measured the Irish tradition by another greater
than itself, and was quick to feel any falling asunder of the two,
yet at many moments they seemed but one in his imagination. Ireland,
all through his poem of that name, speaks to him with the voice of
the great poets, and in ‘Ireland Dead’ she is still mother of perfect
heroism, but there doubt comes too.

    Can it be they do repent
    That they went, thy chivalry,
    Those sad ways magnificent.

And in ‘Ways of War,’ dedicated to John O’Leary, he dismissed the
belief in an heroic Ireland as but a dream.

    A dream! A dream! an ancient dream!
    Yet ere peace come to Innisfail,
    Some weapons on some field must gleam,
    Some burning glory fire the Gael.

    That field may lie beneath the sun,
    Fair for the treading of an host:
    That field in realms of thought be won,
    And armed hands do their uttermost:

    Some way, to faithful Innisfail,
    Shall come the majesty and awe
    Of martial truth, that must prevail
    To lay on all the eternal law.

I do not think either of us saw that, as belief in the possibility of
armed insurrection withered, the old romantic nationalism would wither
too, and that the young would become less ready to find pleasure in
whatever they believed to be literature. Poetical tragedy, and indeed
all the more intense forms of literature, had lost their hold on the
general mass of men in other countries as life grew safe, and the sense
of comedy which is the social bond in times of peace as tragic feeling
is in times of war, had become the inspiration of popular art. I always
knew this, but I believed that the memory of danger, and the reality
of it seemed near enough sometimes, would last long enough to give
Ireland her imaginative opportunity. I could not foresee that a new
class, which had begun to rise into power under the shadow of Parnell,
would change the nature of the Irish movement, which, needing no longer
great sacrifices, nor bringing any great risk to individuals, could
do without exceptional men, and those activities of the mind that are
founded on the exceptional moment.[D] John O’Leary had spent much of
his thought in an unavailing war with the agrarian party, believing it
the root of change, but the fox that crept into the badger’s hole did
not come from there. Power passed to small shop-keepers, to clerks,
to that very class who had seemed to John O’Leary so ready to bend to
the power of others, to men who had risen above the traditions of the
countryman, without learning those of cultivated life or even educating
themselves, and who because of their poverty, their ignorance, their
superstitious piety, are much subject to all kinds of fear. Immediate
victory, immediate utility, became everything, and the conviction,
which is in all who have run great risks for a cause’s sake, in the
O’Learys and Mazzinis as in all rich natures, that life is greater than
the cause, withered, and we artists, who are the servants not of any
cause but of mere naked life, and above all of that life in its nobler
forms, where joy and sorrow are one, Artificers of the Great Moment,
became as elsewhere in Europe protesting individual voices. Ireland’s
great moment had passed, and she had filled no roomy vessels with
strong sweet wine, where we have filled our porcelain jars against the
coming winter.

_August, 1907._



MODERN IRISH POETRY

_Included by kind permission of Messrs. Methuen & Co._


THE Irish Celt is sociable, as may be known from his proverb, ‘It is
better to be quarreling than to be lonely,’ and the Irish poets of the
nineteenth century have made songs abundantly when friends and rebels
have been at hand to applaud. The Irish poets of the eighteenth century
found both at a Limerick hostelry, above whose door was written a
rhyming welcome in Gaelic to all passing poets, whether their pockets
were full or empty. Its owner, himself a famous poet, entertained his
fellows as long as his money lasted, and then took to minding the hens
and chickens of an old peasant woman for a living, and ended his days
in rags, but not, one imagines, without content. Among his friends and
guests had been Red O’Sullivan, Gaelic O’Sullivan, blind O’Heffernan,
and many another, and their songs had made the people, crushed by the
disasters of the Boyne and Aughrim, remember their ancient greatness.

The bardic order, with its perfect artifice and imperfect art, had gone
down in the wars of the seventeenth century, and poetry had found
shelter amid the turf smoke of the cabins. The powers that history
commemorates are but the coarse effects of influences delicate and
vague as the beginning of twilight, and these influences were to be
woven like a web about the hearts of men by farm-labourers, pedlars,
potato-diggers, hedge-schoolmasters, and grinders at the quern, poor
wastrels who put the troubles of their native land, or their own happy
or unhappy loves, into songs of an extreme beauty. But in the midst
of this beauty was a flitting incoherence, a fitful dying out of the
sense, as though the passion had become too great for words, as must
needs be when life is the master and not the slave of the singer.

English-speaking Ireland had meanwhile no poetic voice, for Goldsmith
had chosen to celebrate English scenery and manners; and Swift was but
an Irishman by what Mr. Balfour has called the visitation of God, and
much against his will; and Congreve by education and early association;
while Parnell, Denham, and Roscommon were poets but to their own time.
Nor did the coming with the new century of the fame of Moore set the
balance even, for his Irish melodies are too often artificial and
mechanical in their style when separated from the music that gave them
wings. Whatever he had of high poetry is in _The Light of Other Days_
and in _At the Mid Hour of Night_, which express what Matthew Arnold
has taught us to call ’the Celtic melancholy,’ with so much of delicate
beauty in the meaning and in the wavering or steady rhythm that one
knows not where to find their like in literature. His more artificial
and mechanical verse, because of the ancient music that makes it seem
natural and vivid, and because it has remembered so many beloved names
and events and places, has had the influence which might have belonged
to these exquisite verses had he written none but these.

An honest style did not come into English-speaking Ireland until
Callanan wrote three or four naive translations from the Gaelic. _Shule
Aroon_ and _Kathleen O’More_ had indeed been written for a good while,
but had no more influence than Moore’s best verses. Now, however, the
lead of Callanan was followed by a number of translators, and they
in turn by the poets of Young Ireland, who mingled a little learned
from the Gaelic ballad-writers with a great deal learned from Scott,
Macaulay, and Campbell, and turned poetry once again into a principal
means for spreading ideas of nationality and patriotism. They were full
of earnestness, but never understand that, though a poet may govern
his life by his enthusiasms, he must, when he sits down at his desk,
but use them as the potter the clay. Their thoughts were a little
insincere, because they lived in the half-illusions of their admirable
ideals; and their rhythms not seldom mechanical, because their purpose
was served when they had satisfied the dull ears of the common man.
They had no time to listen to the voice of the insatiable artist, who
stands erect, or lies asleep waiting until a breath arouses him, in
the art of every craftsman. Life was their master, as it had been the
master of the poets who gathered in the Limerick hostelry, though it
conquered them not by unreasoned love for a woman, or for native land,
but by reasoned enthusiasm, and practical energy. No man was more
sincere, no man had a less mechanical mind than Thomas Davis, and yet
he is often a little insincere and mechanical in his verse. When he sat
down to write he had so great a desire to make the peasantry courageous
and powerful that he half believed them already ’the finest peasantry
upon the earth,’ and wrote not a few such verses as—

    ‘Lead him to fight for native land,
      His is no courage cold and wary;
    The troops live not that could withstand
      The headlong charge of Tipperary’—

and to-day we are paying the reckoning with much bombast. His little
book has many things of this kind, and yet we honour it for its public
spirit, and recognize its powerful influence with gratitude. He was in
the main an orator influencing men’s acts, and not a poet shaping their
emotions, and the bulk of his influence has been good. He was, indeed,
a poet of much tenderness in the simple love-songs _The Marriage_,
_A Plea for Love_, and _Mary Bhan Astór_, and, but for his ideal of
a fisherman defying a foreign soldiery, would have been as good in
_The Boatman of Kinsale_; and once or twice when he touched upon some
historic sorrow he forgot his hopes for the future and his lessons for
the present, and made moving verse.

His contemporary, Clarence Mangan, kept out of public life and its
half-illusions by a passion for books, and for drink and opium, made
an imaginative and powerful style. He translated from the German, and
imitated Oriental poetry, but little that he did on any but Irish
subjects has a lasting interest. He is usually classed with the Young
Ireland poets, because he contributed to their periodicals and shared
their political views; but his style was formed before their movement
began, and he found it the more easy for this reason, perhaps, to give
sincere expression to the mood which he had chosen, the only sincerity
literature knows of; and with happiness and cultivation might have
displaced Moore. But as it was, whenever he had no fine ancient song
to inspire him, he fell into rhetoric which was only lifted out of
commonplace by an arid intensity. In his _Irish National Hymn_, _Soul
and Country_, and the like, we look into a mind full of parched sands
where the sweet dews have never fallen. A miserable man may think well
and express himself with great vehemence, but he cannot make beautiful
things, for Aphrodite never rises from any but a tide of joy. Mangan
knew nothing of the happiness of the outer man, and it was only when
prolonging the tragic exultation of some dead bard that he knew the
unearthly happiness which clouds the outer man with sorrow, and is
the fountain of impassioned art. Like those who had gone before him,
he was the slave of life, for he had nothing of the self-knowledge,
the power of selection, the harmony of mind, which enables the poet
to be its master, and to mould the world to a trumpet for his lips.
But O’Hussey’s Ode over his outcast chief must live for generations
because of the passion that moves through its powerful images and its
mournful, wayward, and fierce rhythms.

    ‘Though he were even a wolf ranging the round green woods,
    Though he were even a pleasant salmon in the unchainable sea,
    Though he were a wild mountain eagle, he could scarce bear, he,
        This sharp, sore sleet, these howling floods.’

Edward Walsh, a village schoolmaster, who hovered, like Mangan, on the
edge of the Young Ireland movement, did many beautiful translations
from the Gaelic; and Michael Doheny, while out ’on his keeping’ in
the mountains after the collapse at Ballingarry, made one of the
most moving of ballads; but in the main the poets who gathered about
Thomas Davis, and whose work has come down to us in _The Spirit of the
Nation_, were of practical and political, not of literary, importance.

Meanwhile Samuel Ferguson, William Allingham, and Aubrey de Vere were
working apart from politics; Ferguson selecting his subjects from the
traditions of the bardic age, and Allingham from those of his native
Ballyshannon, and Aubrey de Vere wavering between English, Irish,
and Catholic tradition. They were wiser than Young Ireland in the
choice of their models, for, while drawing not less from purely Irish
sources, they turned to the great poets of the world, Aubrey de Vere
owing something of his gravity to Wordsworth, Ferguson much of his
simplicity to Homer, while Allingham had trained an ear, too delicate
to catch the tune of but a single master, upon the lyric poetry of many
lands. Allingham was the best artist, but Ferguson had the more ample
imagination, the more epic aim. He had not the subtlety of feeling,
the variety of cadence of a great lyric poet, but he has touched, here
and there, an epic vastness and _naïveté_, as in the description in
_Congal_ of the mire-stiffened mantle of the giant spectre Mananan mac
Lir striking against his calves with as loud a noise as the mainsail of
a ship ’when with the coil of all its ropes it beat the sounding mast.’
He is frequently dull, for he often lacked the ’minutely appropriate
words’ necessary to embody those fine changes of feeling which enthral
the attention; but his sense of weight and size, of action and tumult,
has set him apart and solitary, an epic figure in a lyric age.

Allingham, whose pleasant destiny has made him the poet of his native
town, and put _The Winding Banks of Erne_ into the mouths of the
ballad-singers of Ballyshannon, is, on the other hand, a master of
’minutely appropriate words,’ and can wring from the luxurious sadness
of the lover, from the austere sadness of old age, the last golden drop
of beauty; but amid action and tumult he can but fold his hands. He is
the poet of the melancholy peasantry of the West, and, as years go on,
and voluminous histories and copious romances drop under the horizon,
will take his place among those minor immortals who have put their
souls into little songs to humble the proud.

The poetry of Aubrey de Vere has less architecture than the poetry
of Ferguson and Allingham, and more meditation. Indeed, his few but
ever memorable successes are enchanted islands in gray seas of stately
impersonal reverie and description, which drift by and leave no
definite recollection. One needs, perhaps, to perfectly enjoy him, a
Dominican habit, a cloister, and a breviary.

These three poets published much of their best work before and during
the Fenian movement, which, like Young Ireland, had its poets, though
but a small number. Charles Kickham, one of the ’triumvirate’ that
controlled it in Ireland; John Casey, a clerk in a flour-mill; and
Ellen O’Leary, the sister of Mr. John O’Leary, were at times very
excellent. Their verse lacks, curiously enough, the oratorical
vehemence of Young Ireland, and is plaintive and idyllic. The agrarian
movement that followed produced but little poetry, and of that little
all is forgotten but a vehement poem by Fanny Parnell and a couple of
songs by T. D. Sullivan, who is a good song-writer, though not, as the
writer has read on an election placard, ’one of the greatest poets who
ever moved the heart of man.’ But while Nationalist verse has ceased to
be a portion of the propaganda of a party, it has been written, and is
being written, under the influence of the Nationalist newspapers and
of Young Ireland societies and the like. With an exacting conscience,
and better models than Thomas Moore and the Young Irelanders, such
beautiful enthusiasm could not fail to make some beautiful verses.
But, as things are, the rhythms are mechanical, and the metaphors
conventional; and inspiration is too often worshipped as a Familiar who
labours while you sleep, or forget, or do many worthy things which are
not spiritual things.

For the most part, the Irishman of our times loves so deeply those arts
which build up a gallant personality, rapid writing, ready talking,
effective speaking to crowds, that he has no thought for the arts which
consume the personality in solitude. He loves the mortal arts which
have given him a lure to take the hearts of men, and shrinks from the
immortal, which could but divide him from his fellows. And in this
century, he who does not strive to be a perfect craftsman achieves
nothing. The poor peasant of the eighteenth century could make fine
ballads by abandoning himself to the joy or sorrow of the moment, as
the reeds abandon themselves to the wind which sighs through them,
because he had about him a world where all was old enough to be steeped
in emotion. But we cannot take to ourselves, by merely thrusting out
our hands, all we need of pomp and symbol, and if we have not the
desire of artistic perfection for an ark, the deluge of incoherence,
vulgarity, and triviality will pass over our heads. If we had no other
symbols but the tumult of the sea, the rusted gold of the thatch, the
redness of the quicken-berry, and had never known the rhetoric of the
platform and of the newspaper, we could do without laborious selection
and rejection; but, even then, though we might do much that would be
delightful, that would inspire coming times, it would not have the
manner of the greatest poetry.

Here and there, the Nationalist newspapers and the Young Ireland
societies have trained a writer who, though busy with the old models,
has some imaginative energy; while the more literary writers, the
successors of Allingham and Ferguson and De Vere, are generally more
anxious to influence and understand Irish thought than any of their
predecessors who did not take the substance of their poetry from
politics. They are distinguished too by their deliberate art, and by
their preoccupation with spiritual passions and memories.

The poetry of Lionel Johnson and Mrs. Hinkson is Catholic and devout,
but Lionel Johnson’s is lofty and austere, and like De Vere’s never
long forgets the greatness of his Church and the interior life whose
expression it is, while Mrs. Hinkson is happiest when she puts
emotions, that have the innocence of childhood, into symbols and
metaphors from the green world about her. She has no reverie nor
speculation, but a devout tenderness like that of St. Francis for
weak instinctive things, old gardeners, old fishermen, birds among
the leaves, birds tossed upon the waters. Miss Hopper belongs to that
school of writers which embodies passions, that are not the less
spiritual because no Church has put them into prayers, in stories and
symbols from old Celtic poetry and mythology. The poetry of ‘A.E.’, at
its best, finds its symbols and its stories in the soul itself, and
has a more disembodied ecstasy than any poetry of our time. He is the
chief poet of the school of Irish mystics, in which there are many
poets besides many who have heard the words, ‘If ye know these things,
happy are ye if ye do them,’ and thought the labours that bring the
mystic vision more important than the labours of any craft.

Mr. Herbert Trench and Mrs. Shorter and ‘Moira O’Neill’ are more
interested in the picturesqueness of the world than in religion. Mr.
Trench and Mrs. Shorter have put old Irish stories into vigorous modern
rhyme, and have written, the one in her _Ceann Dubh Deelish_ and the
other in _Come, let us make Love deathless_, lyrics that should become
a lasting part of Irish lyric poetry. ‘Moira O’Neill’ has written
pretty lyrics of Antrim life; but one discovers that Mrs. Hinkson or
Miss Hopper, although their work is probably less popular, comes nearer
to the peasant passion, when one compares their work and hers with
that Gaelic song translated so beautifully by Dr. Sigerson, where a
ragged man of the roads, having lost all else, is yet thankful for ’the
great love gift of sorrow,’ or with many songs translated by Dr. Hyde
in his _Love Songs of Connacht_, or by Lady Gregory in her _Poets and
Dreamers_.

Except some few Catholic and mystical poets and Professor Dowden in
one or two poems, no Irishman living in Ireland has sung excellently
of any but a theme from Irish experience, Irish history, or Irish
tradition. Trinity College, which desires to be English, has been the
mother of many verse writers and of few poets; and this can only be
because she has set herself against the national genius, and taught her
children to imitate alien styles and choose out alien themes, for it
is not possible to believe that the educated Irishman alone is prosaic
and uninventive. Her few poets have been awakened by the influence of
the farm-labourers, potato-diggers, pedlars, and hedge-schoolmasters
of the eighteenth century, and their imitators in this, and not by a
scholastic life, which, for reasons easy for all to understand and for
many to forgive, has refused the ideals of Ireland, while those of
England are but far-off murmurs. An enemy to all enthusiasms, because
all enthusiasms seemed her enemies, she has taught her children to look
neither to the world about them, nor into their own souls, where some
dangerous fire might slumber.

To remember that in Ireland the professional and landed classes have
been through the mould of Trinity College or of English universities,
and are ignorant of the very names of the best Irish writers, is to
know how strong a wind blows from the ancient legends of Ireland,
how vigorous an impulse to create is in her heart to-day. Deserted
by the classes from among whom has come the bulk of the world’s
intellect, she struggles on, gradually ridding herself of incoherence
and triviality, and slowly building up a literature in English, which,
whether important or unimportant, grows always more unlike others; nor
does it seem as if she would long lack a living literature in Gaelic,
for the movement for the preservation of Gaelic, which has been so much
more successful than anybody foresaw, has already its poets. Dr. Hyde
has written Gaelic poems which pass from mouth to mouth in the west
of Ireland. The country people have themselves fitted them to ancient
airs, and many that can neither read nor write sing them in Donegal and
Connemara and Galway. I have, indeed, but little doubt that Ireland,
communing with herself in Gaelic more and more, but speaking to foreign
countries in English, will lead many that are sick with theories and
with trivial emotion to some sweet well-waters of primeval poetry.

       *       *       *       *       *

_P.S._—This essay, written in 1895, though revised from time to time,
sounds strangely to my ears to-day. I still admire much that I then
admired, but if I rewrote it now I should take more pleasure in the
temper of our writers and deal more sternly with their achievement.
The magnanimous integrity of their politics, and their own gallant
impetuous minds, needed no commendation among the young Irishmen for
whom I wrote, and a very little dispraise of their verses seemed an
attack upon the nation itself. Taylor, the orator, a man of genius and
of great learning, never forgave me what I have said of Davis here and
elsewhere, and it is easier for me to understand his anger in this year
than thirteen years ago when the lofty thought of men like Taylor and
O’Leary was the strength of Irish nationality. A new tradition is being
built up on Gaelic poetry and romance and on the writings of the school
I belong to, but the very strength of the new foundations, their lack
of obvious generalization, their instinctive nature, the impossibility
of ill-educated minds shaping the finer material, has for the moment
marred the moral temper among those who are young enough to feel the
change.

_April, 1908._



LADY GREGORY’S _CUCHULAIN OF MUIRTHEMNE_

    Mr. Bullen has just shown me the fifth volume of this
    edition of my writings, and I discover that a note to
    the stories of _Red Hanrahan_ has been forgotten by the
    printer. That note should have said that I owe thanks
    to Lady Gregory, who helped me to rewrite the stories
    of _Red Hanrahan_ in the beautiful country speech of
    Kiltartan, and nearer to the tradition of the people
    among whom he, or some likeness of him, drifted and is
    remembered.—_April 14, 1908._


I

I THINK this book is the best that has come out of Ireland in my
time. Perhaps I should say that it is the best book that has ever
come out of Ireland; for the stories which it tells are a chief part
of Ireland’s gift to the imagination of the world—and it tells them
perfectly for the first time. Translators from the Irish have hitherto
retold one story or the other from some one version, and not often
with any fine understanding of English, of those changes of rhythm,
for instance, that are changes of the sense. They have translated
the best and fullest manuscripts they knew, as accurately as they
could, and that is all we have the right to expect from the first
translators of a difficult and old literature. But few of the stories
really begin to exist as great works of imagination until somebody
has taken the best out of many manuscripts. Sometimes, as in Lady
Gregory’s version of _Deirdre_, a dozen manuscripts have to give their
best before the beads are ready for the necklace. It has been as
necessary also to leave out as to add, for generations of copyists,
who had often but little sympathy with the stories they copied, have
mixed versions together in a clumsy fashion, often repeating one
incident several times, and every century has ornamented what was once
a simple story with its own often extravagant ornament. One does not
perhaps exaggerate when one says that no story has come down to us in
the form it had when the story-teller told it in the winter evenings.
Lady Gregory has done her work of compression and selection at once so
firmly and so reverently that I cannot believe that anybody, except now
and then for a scientific purpose, will need another text than this,
or than the version[E] of it the Gaelic League has begun to publish in
Modern Irish. When she has added her translations from other cycles,
she will have given Ireland its _Mabinogion_, its _Morte D’Arthur_,
its _Nibelungenlied_. She has already put a great mass of stories,
in which the ancient heart of Ireland still lives, into a shape at
once harmonious and characteristic; and without writing more than a
very few sentences of her own to link together incidents or thoughts
taken from different manuscripts, without adding more indeed than
the story-teller must often have added to amend the hesitation of a
moment. Perhaps more than all, she has discovered a fitting dialect to
tell them in. Some years ago I wrote some stories of mediæval Irish
life, and as I wrote I was sometimes made wretched by the thought
that I knew of no kind of English that befitted them as the language
of Morris’s prose stories—that lovely crooked language—befitted his
journeys to woods and wells beyond the world. I knew of no language
to write about Ireland in but our too smooth, too straight, too
logical modern English; but now Lady Gregory has discovered a speech
as beautiful as that of Morris, and a living speech into the bargain.
As she lived among her people she grew to love the beautiful speech
of those who think in Irish, and to understand that it is as true a
dialect of English as the dialect that Burns wrote in. It is some
hundreds of years old, and age gives a language authority. One finds in
it the vocabulary of the translators of the Bible, joined to an idiom
which makes it tender, compassionate, and complaisant, like the Irish
language itself. It is certainly well suited to clothe a literature
which never ceased to be folk-lore even when it was recited in the
Courts of Kings.


II

Lady Gregory could with less trouble have made a book that would have
better pleased the hasty reader. She could have plucked away details,
smoothed out characteristics till she had left nothing but the bare
stories; but a book of that kind would never have called up the past,
or stirred the imagination of a painter or a poet, and would be as
little thought of in a few years as if it had been a popular novel.

The abundance of what may seem at first irrelevant invention in a story
like the death of Conaire, is essential if we are to recall a time when
people were in love with a story, and gave themselves up to imagination
as if to a lover. One may think there are too many lyrical outbursts,
or too many enigmatical symbols here and there in some other story,
but delight will always overtake one in the end. One comes to accept
without reserve an art that is half epical, half lyrical, like that
of the historical parts of the Bible, the art of a time when perhaps
men passed more readily than they do now from one mood to another, and
found it harder than we do to keep to the mood in which one tots up
figures or banters a friend.


III

The Church when it was most powerful created an imaginative unity, for
it taught learned and unlearned to climb, as it were, to the great
moral realities through hierarchies of Cherubim and Seraphim, through
clouds of Saints and Angels who had all their precise duties and
privileges. The story-tellers of Ireland, perhaps of every primitive
country, created a like unity, only it was to the great æsthetic
realities that they taught people to climb. They created for learned
and unlearned alike, a communion of heroes, a cloud of stalwart
witnesses; but because they were as much excited as a monk over his
prayers, they did not think sufficiently about the shape of the poem
and the story. One has to get a little weary or a little distrustful
of one’s subject, perhaps, before one can lie awake thinking how one
will make the most of it. They were more anxious to describe energetic
characters, and to invent beautiful stories, than to express themselves
with perfect dramatic logic or in perfectly-ordered words. They
shared their characters and their stories, their very images, with
one another, and handed them down from generation to generation; for
nobody, even when he had added some new trait, or some new incident,
thought of claiming for himself what so obviously lived its own merry
or mournful life. The wood-carver who first put a sword into St.
Michael’s hand would have as soon claimed as his own a thought which
was perhaps put into his mind by St. Michael himself. The Irish poets
had also, it may be, what seemed a supernatural sanction, for a chief
poet had to understand not only innumerable kinds of poetry, but how
to keep himself for nine days in a trance. They certainly believed in
the historical reality of even their wildest imaginations. And so soon
as Christianity made their hearers desire a chronology that would run
side by side with that of the Bible, they delighted in arranging their
Kings and Queens, the shadows of forgotten mythologies, in long lines
that ascended to Adam and his Garden. Those who listened to them must
have felt as if the living were like rabbits digging their burrows
under walls that had been built by Gods and Giants, or like swallows
building their nests in the stone mouths of immense images, carved by
nobody knows who. It is no wonder that one sometimes hears about men
who saw in a vision ivy-leaves that were greater than shields, and
blackbirds whose thighs were like the thighs of oxen. The fruit of all
those stories, unless indeed the finest activities of the mind are but
a pastime, is the quick intelligence, the abundant imagination, the
courtly manners of the Irish country people.


IV

William Morris came to Dublin when I was a boy, and I had some talk
with him about these old stories. He had intended to lecture upon them,
but ’the ladies and gentlemen’—he put a communistic fervour of hatred
into the phrase—knew nothing about them. He spoke of the Irish account
of the battle of Clontarf and of the Norse account, and said, that one
saw the Norse and Irish tempers in the two accounts. The Norseman was
interested in the way things are done, but the Irishman turned aside,
evidently well pleased to be out of so dull a business, to describe
beautiful supernatural events. He was thinking, I suppose, of the
young man who came from Aoibhill of the Grey Rock, giving up immortal
love and youth, that he might fight and die by Murrough’s side. He
said that the Norseman had the dramatic temper, and the Irishman had
the lyrical. I think I should have said with Professor Ker, epical
and romantic rather than dramatic and lyrical, but his words, which
have so great an authority, mark the distinction very well, and not
only between Irish and Norse, but between Irish and other un-Celtic
literatures. The Irish story-teller could not interest himself with an
unbroken interest in the way men like himself burned a house, or won
wives no more wonderful than themselves. His mind constantly escaped
out of daily circumstance, as a bough that has been held down by a
weak hand suddenly straightens itself out. His imagination was always
running to Tir-nan-og, to the Land of Promise, which is as near to the
country-people of to-day as it was to Cuchulain and his companions.
His belief in its nearness, cherished in its turn the lyrical temper,
which is always athirst for an emotion, a beauty which cannot be found
in its perfection upon earth, or only for a moment. His imagination,
which had not been able to believe in Cuchulain’s greatness, until it
had brought the Great Queen, the red-eyebrowed goddess, to woo him
upon the battlefield, could not be satisfied with a friendship less
romantic and lyrical than that of Cuchulain and Ferdiad, who kissed
one another after the day’s fighting, or with a love less romantic
and lyrical than that of Baile and Aillinn, who died at the report
of one another’s deaths, and married in Tir-nan-og. His art, too, is
often at its greatest when it is most extravagant, for he only feels
himself among solid things, among things with fixed laws and satisfying
purposes, when he has reshaped the world according to his heart’s
desire. He understands as well as Blake that the ruins of time build
mansions in eternity, and he never allows anything, that we can see
and handle, to remain long unchanged. The characters must remain the
same, but the strength of Fergus may change so greatly, that he, who a
moment before was merely a strong man among many, becomes the master
of Three Blows that would destroy an army, did they not cut off the
heads of three little hills instead, and his sword, which a fool had
been able to steal out of its sheath, has of a sudden the likeness of
a rainbow. A wandering lyric moon must knead and kindle perpetually
that moving world of cloaks made out of the fleeces of Mananan; of
armed men who change themselves into sea-birds; of goddesses who
become crows; of trees that bear fruit and flower at the same time.
The great emotions of love, terror, and friendship must alone remain
untroubled by the moon in that world, which is still the world of the
Irish country-people, who do not open their eyes very wide at the most
miraculous change, at the most sudden enchantment. Its events, and
things, and people are wild, and are like unbroken horses, that are
so much more beautiful than horses that have learned to run between
shafts. One thinks of actual life, when one reads those Norse stories,
which had shadows of their decadence, so necessary were the proportions
of actual life to their efforts, when a dying man remembered his
heroism enough to look down at his wound and say, ‘Those broad spears
are coming into fashion’; but the Irish stories make us understand
why the Greeks called myths the activities of the dæmons. The great
virtues, the great joys, the great privations come in the myths, and,
as it were, take mankind between their naked arms, and without putting
off their divinity. Poets have chosen their themes more often from
stories that are all, or half, mythological, than from history or
stories that give one the sensation of history, understanding, as I
think, that the imagination which remembers the proportions of life is
but a long wooing, and that it has to forget them before it becomes the
torch and the marriage-bed.


V

One finds, as one expects, in the work of men who were not troubled
about any probabilities or necessities but those of emotion itself, an
immense variety of incident and character and of ways of expressing
emotion. Cuchulain fights man after man during the quest of the Brown
Bull, and not one of those fights is like another, and not one is
lacking in emotion or strangeness; and when one thinks imagination can
do no more, the story of the Two Bulls, emblematic of all contests,
suddenly lifts romance into prophecy. The characters too have a
distinctness we do not find among the people of the _Mabinogion_,
perhaps not even among the people of the _Morte D’Arthur_. We know we
will be long forgetting Cuchulain, whose life is vehement and full
of pleasure, as though he always remembered that it was to be soon
over; or the dreamy Fergus who betrays the sons of Usnach for a feast,
without ceasing to be noble; or Conal who is fierce and friendly and
trustworthy, but has not the sap of divinity that makes Cuchulain
mysterious to men, and beloved of women. Women indeed, with their
lamentations for lovers and husbands and sons, and for fallen rooftrees
and lost wealth, give the stories their most beautiful sentences; and,
after Cuchulain, one thinks most of certain great queens—of angry,
amorous Maeve, with her long pale face; of Findabair, her daughter, who
dies of shame and of pity; of Deirdre, who might be some mild modern
housewife but for her prophetic wisdom. If one does not set Deirdre’s
lamentations among the greatest lyric poems of the world, I think one
may be certain that the wine-press of the poets has been trodden for
one in vain; and yet I think it may be proud Emer, Cuchulain’s fitting
wife, who will linger longest in the memory. What a pure flame burns
in her always, whether she is the newly-married wife fighting for
precedence, fierce as some beautiful bird, or the confident housewife,
who would awaken her husband from his magic sleep with mocking words;
or the great queen who would get him out of the tightening net of his
doom, by sending him into the Valley of the Deaf, with Niamh, his
mistress, because he will be more obedient to her; or the woman whom
sorrow has set with Helen and Iseult and Brunnhilda, and Deirdre, to
share their immortality in the rosary of the poets.

‘“And oh! my love!” she said, “we were often in one another’s company,
and it was happy for us; for if the world had been searched from the
rising of the sun to sunset, the like would never have been found in
one place, of the Black Sainglain and the Grey of Macha, and Laeg the
chariot-driver, and myself and Cuchulain.”

‘And after that Emer bade Conal to make a wide, very deep grave for
Cuchulain; and she laid herself down beside her gentle comrade, and she
put her mouth to his mouth, and she said: “Love of my life, my friend,
my sweetheart, my one choice of the men of the earth, many is the
woman, wed or unwed, envied me until to-day; and now I will not stay
living after you.”’


VI

To us Irish these personages should be very moving, very important, for
they lived in the places where we ride and go marketing, and sometimes
they have met one another on the hills that cast their shadows upon our
doors at evening. If we will but tell these stories to our children
the Land will begin again to be a Holy Land, as it was before men
gave their hearts to Greece and Rome and Judea. When I was a child I
had only to climb the hill behind the house to see long, blue, ragged
hills flowing along the southern horizon. What beauty was lost to me,
what depth of emotion is still perhaps lacking in me, because nobody
told me, not even the merchant captains who knew everything, that
Cruachan of the Enchantments lay behind those long, blue, ragged hills!

_March, 1902._



LADY GREGORY’S

_GODS AND FIGHTING MEN_


I

A FEW months ago I was on the bare Hill of Allen, ’wide Almhuin of
Leinster,’ where Finn and the Fianna are said to have had their house,
although there are no earthen mounds there like those that mark
the sites of old houses on so many hills. A hot sun beat down upon
flowering gorse and flowerless heather; and on every side except the
east, where there were green trees and distant hills, one saw a level
horizon and brown boglands with a few green places and here and there
the glitter of water. One could imagine that had it been twilight and
not early afternoon, and had there been vapours drifting and frothing
where there were now but shadows of clouds, it would have set stirring
in one, as few places even in Ireland can, a thought that is peculiar
to Celtic romance, as I think, a thought of a mystery coming not as
with Gothic nations out of the pressure of darkness, but out of great
spaces and windy light. The hill of Teamhair, or Tara, as it is now
called, with its green mounds and its partly-wooded sides, and its more
gradual slope set among fat grazing lands, with great trees in the
hedgerows, had brought before one imaginations, not of heroes who were
in their youth for hundreds of years, or of women who came to them in
the likeness of hunted fawns, but of kings that lived brief and politic
lives, and of the five white roads that carried their armies to the
lesser kingdoms of Ireland, or brought to the great fair that had given
Teamhair its sovereignty all that sought justice or pleasure or had
goods to barter.


II

It is certain that we must not confuse these kings, as did the
mediæval chroniclers, with those half-divine kings of Almhuin. The
chroniclers, perhaps because they loved tradition too well to cast
out utterly much that they dreaded as Christians, and perhaps because
popular imagination had begun the mixture, have mixed one with another
ingeniously, making Finn the head of a kind of Militia under Cormac
MacArt, who is supposed to have reigned at Teamhair in the second
century, and making Grania, who travels to enchanted houses under
the cloak of Aengus, god of Love, and keeps her troubling beauty
longer than did Helen hers, Cormac’s daughter, and giving the stories
of the Fianna, although the impossible has thrust its proud finger
into them all, a curious air of precise history. It is only when we
separate the stories from that mediæval pedantry, as in this book,
that we recognise one of the oldest worlds that man has imagined,
an older world certainly than we find in the stories of Cuchulain,
who lived, according to the chroniclers, about the time of the birth
of Christ. They are far better known, and we may be certain of the
antiquity of incidents that are known in one form or another to every
Gaelic-speaking countryman in Ireland or in the Highlands of Scotland.
Sometimes a labourer digging near to a cromlech, or Bed of Diarmuid and
Grania as it is called, will tell one a tradition that seems older and
more barbaric than any description of their adventures or of themselves
in written text or in story that has taken form in the mouths of
professed story-tellers. Finn and the Fianna found welcome among the
court poets later than did Cuchulain; and one finds memories of Danish
invasions and standing armies mixed with the imaginations of hunters
and solitary fighters among great woods. One never hears of Cuchulain
delighting in the hunt or in woodland things; and one imagines that
the story-teller would have thought it unworthy in so great a man,
who lived a well-ordered, elaborate life, and had his chariot and his
chariot-driver and his barley-fed horses to delight in. If he is in
the woods before dawn one is not told that he cannot know the leaves
of the hazel from the leaves of the oak; and when Emer laments him no
wild creature comes into her thoughts but the cuckoo that cries over
cultivated fields. His story must have come out of a time when the wild
wood was giving way to pasture and tillage, and men had no longer a
reason to consider every cry of the birds or change of the night. Finn,
who was always in the woods, whose battles were but hours amid years
of hunting, delighted in the ’cackling of ducks from the Lake of the
Three Narrows; the scolding talk of the blackbird of Doire an Cairn;
the bellowing of the ox from the Valley of the Berries; the whistle of
the eagle from the Valley of Victories or from the rough branches of
the Ridge of the Stream; the grouse of the heather of Cruachan; the
call of the otter of Druim re Coir.’ When sorrow comes upon the queens
of the stories, they have sympathy for the wild birds and beasts that
are like themselves: ‘Credhe wife of Cael came with the others and went
looking through the bodies for her comely comrade, and crying as she
went. And as she was searching she saw a crane of the meadows and her
two nestlings, and the cunning beast the fox watching the nestlings;
and when the crane covered one of the birds to save it, he would make a
rush at the other bird, the way she had to stretch herself out over the
birds; and she would sooner have got her own death by the fox than the
nestlings to be killed by him. And Credhe was looking at that, and she
said: “It is no wonder I to have such love for my comely sweetheart,
and the bird in that distress about her nestlings.”’


III

One often hears of a horse that shivers with terror, or of a dog that
howls at something a man’s eyes cannot see, and men who live primitive
lives where instinct does the work of reason are fully conscious of
many things that we cannot perceive at all. As life becomes more
orderly, more deliberate, the supernatural world sinks farther away.
Although the gods come to Cuchulain, and although he is the son of
one of the greatest of them, their country and his are far apart, and
they come to him as god to mortal; but Finn is their equal. He is
continually in their houses; he meets with Bodb Dearg, and Aengus, and
Mananan, now as friend with friend, now as with an enemy he overcomes
in battle; and when he has need of their help his messenger can say:
‘There is not a king’s son or a prince, or a leader of the Fianna of
Ireland, without having a wife or a mother or a foster-mother or a
sweetheart of the Tuatha de Danaan.’ When the Fianna are broken up
at last, after hundreds of years of hunting, it is doubtful that he
dies at all, and certain that he comes again in some other shape, and
Oisin, his son, is made king over a divine country. The birds and
beasts that cross his path in the woods have been fighting-men or great
enchanters or fair women, and in a moment can take some beautiful or
terrible shape. We think of him and of his people as great-bodied men
with large movements, that seem, as it were, flowing out of some deep
below the shallow stream of personal impulse, men that have broad brows
and quiet eyes full of confidence in a good luck that proves every
day afresh that they are a portion of the strength of things. They are
hardly so much individual men as portions of universal nature, like the
clouds that shape themselves and reshape themselves momentarily, or
like a bird between two boughs, or like the gods that have given the
apples and the nuts; and yet this but brings them the nearer to us, for
we can remake them in our image when we will, and the woods are the
more beautiful for the thought. Do we not always fancy hunters to be
something like this, and is not that why we think them poetical when we
meet them of a sudden, as in these lines in _Pauline_?——

                              ‘An old hunter
    Talking with gods; or a high-crested chief
    Sailing with troops of friends to Tenedos.’


IV

One must not expect in these stories the epic lineaments, the many
incidents, woven into one great event of, let us say, the story of
the War for the Brown Bull of Cuailgne, or that of the last gathering
at Muirthemne. Even _Diarmuid and Grania_, which is a long story,
has nothing of the clear outlines of _Deirdre_, and is indeed but a
succession of detached episodes. The men who imagined the Fianna had
the imagination of children, and as soon as they had invented one
wonder, heaped another on top of it. Children—or, at any rate, it is so
I remember my own childhood—do not understand large design, and they
delight in little shut-in places where they can play at houses more
than in great expanses where a country-side takes, as it were, the
impression of a thought. The wild creatures and the green things are
more to them than to us, for they creep towards our light by little
holes and crevices. When they imagine a country for themselves, it is
always a country where one can wander without aim, and where one can
never know from one place what another will be like, or know from the
one day’s adventure what may meet one with to-morrow’s sun. I have
wished to become a child again that I might find this book, that not
only tells me of such a country, but is fuller than any other book that
tells of heroic life, of the childhood that is in all folk-lore, dearer
to me than all the books of the western world.


V

Children play at being great and wonderful people, at the ambitions
they will put away for one reason or another before they grow into
ordinary men and women. Mankind as a whole had a like dream once;
everybody and nobody built up the dream bit by bit, and the ancient
story-tellers are there to make us remember what mankind would have
been like, had not fear and the failing will and the laws of nature
tripped up its heels. The Fianna and their like are themselves so full
of power, and they are set in a world so fluctuating and dream-like,
that nothing can hold them from being all that the heart desires.

I have read in a fabulous book that Adam had but to imagine a bird and
it was born into life, and that he created all things out of himself
by nothing more important than an unflagging fancy; and heroes who
can make a ship out of a shaving have but little less of the divine
prerogatives. They have no speculative thoughts to wander through
eternity and waste heroic blood; but how could that be otherwise?
for it is at all times the proud angels who sit thinking upon the
hill-side and not the people of Eden. One morning we meet them hunting
a stag that is ’as joyful as the leaves of a tree in summer-time’;
and whatever they do, whether they listen to the harp or follow an
enchanter over-sea, they do for the sake of joy, their joy in one
another, or their joy in pride and movement; and even their battles
are fought more because of their delight in a good fighter than because
of any gain that is in victory. They live always as if they were
playing a game; and so far as they have any deliberate purpose at all,
it is that they may become great gentlemen and be worthy of the songs
of poets. It has been said, and I think the Japanese were the first
to say it, that the four essential virtues are to be generous among
the weak, and truthful among one’s friends, and brave among one’s
enemies, and courteous at all times; and if we understand by courtesy
not merely the gentleness the story-tellers have celebrated, but a
delight in courtly things, in beautiful clothing and in beautiful
verse, one understands that it was no formal succession of trials
that bound the Fianna to one another. Only the Table Round, that is
indeed, as it seems, a rivulet from the same well-head, is bound in a
like fellowship, and there the four heroic virtues are troubled by the
abstract virtues of the cloister. Every now and then some noble knight
builds himself a cell upon the hill-side, or leaves kind women and
joyful knights to seek the vision of the Grail in lonely adventures.
But when Oisin or some kingly forerunner—Bran, son of Febal, or the
like—rides or sails in an enchanted ship to some divine country, he
but looks for a more delighted companionship, or to be in love with
faces that will never fade. No thought of any life greater than that of
love, and the companionship of those that have drawn their swords upon
the darkness of the world, ever troubles their delight in one another
as it troubles Iseult amid her love, or Arthur amid his battles. It is
one of the ailments of our speculation that thought, when it is not the
planning of something, or the doing of something or some memory of a
plain circumstance separates us from one another because it makes us
always more unlike, and because no thought passes through another’s
ear unchanged. Companionship can only be perfect when it is founded
on things, for things are always the same under the hand, and at last
one comes to hear with envy the voices of boys lighting a lantern to
ensnare moths, or of the maids chattering in the kitchen about the
fox that carried off a turkey before breakfast. This book is full of
fellowship untroubled like theirs, and made noble by a courtesy that
has gone perhaps out of the world. I do not know in literature better
friends and lovers. When one of the Fianna finds Osgar dying the proud
death of a young man, and asks is it well with him, he is answered, ‘I
am as you would have me be.’ The very heroism of the Fianna is indeed
but their pride and joy in one another, their good fellowship. Goll,
old and savage, and letting himself die of hunger in a cave because he
is angry and sorry, can speak lovely words to the wife whose help he
refuses. ‘It is best as it is,’ he said, ’and I never took the advice
of a woman east or west, and I never will take it. And oh, sweet-voiced
queen,’ he said, ‘what ails you to be fretting after me? And remember
now your silver and your gold, and your silks ... and do not be crying
tears after me, queen with the white hands,’ he said, ’but remember
your constant lover Aodh, son of the best woman of the world, that came
from Spain asking for you, and that I fought on Corcar-an-Dearg; and
go to him now,’ he said, ’for it is bad when a woman is without a good
man.’


VI

They have no asceticism, but they are more visionary than any ascetic,
and their invisible life is but the life about them made more perfect
and more lasting, and the invisible people are their own images in the
water. Their gods may have been much besides this, for we know them
from fragments of mythology picked out with trouble from a fantastic
history running backward to Adam and Eve, and many things that may have
seemed wicked to the monks who imagined that history, may have been
altered or left out; but this they must have been essentially, for
the old stories are confirmed by apparitions among the country-people
to-day. The Men of Dea fought against the mis-shapen Fomor, as Finn
fights against the Cat-Heads and the Dog-Heads; and when they are
overcome at last by men, they make themselves houses in the hearts of
hills that are like the houses of men. When they call men to their
houses and to their Country Under-Wave they promise them all that they
have upon earth, only in greater abundance. The god Midhir sings to
Queen Etain in one of the most beautiful of the stories: ‘The young
never grow old; the fields and the flowers are as pleasant to be
looking at as the blackbird’s eggs; warm streams of mead and wine flow
through that country; there is no care or no sorrow on any person; we
see others, but we ourselves are not seen.’ These gods are indeed more
wise and beautiful than men; but men, when they are great men, are
stronger than they are, for men are, as it were, the foaming tide-line
of their sea. One remembers the Druid who answered, when some one
asked him who made the world, ‘The Druids made it.’ All was indeed
but one life flowing everywhere, and taking one quality here, another
there. It sometimes seems to one as if there is a kind of day and night
of religion, and that a period when the influences are those that
shape the world is followed by a period when the greater power is in
influences that would lure the soul out of the world, out of the body.
When Oisin is speaking with St. Patrick of the friends and the life he
has outlived, he can but cry out constantly against a religion that has
no meaning for him. He laments, and the country-people have remembered
his words for centuries: ‘I will cry my fill, but not for God, but
because Finn and the Fianna are not living.’


VII

Old writers had an admirable symbolism that attributed certain
energies to the influence of the sun, and certain others to the
lunar influence. To lunar influence belong all thoughts and emotions
that were created by the community, by the common people, by nobody
knows who, and to the sun all that came from the high disciplined or
individual kingly mind. I myself imagine a marriage of the sun and
moon in the arts I take most pleasure in; and now bride and bridegroom
but exchange, as it were, full cups of gold and silver, and now they
are one in a mystical embrace. From the moon come the folk-songs
imagined by reapers and spinners out of the common impulse of their
labour, and made not by putting words together, but by mixing verses
and phrases, and the folk-tales made by the capricious mixing of
incidents known to everybody in new ways, as one deals out cards, never
getting the same hand twice over. When one hears some fine story, one
never knows whether it has not been hazard that put the last touch
of adventure. Such poetry, as it seems to me, desires an infinity
of wonder or emotion, for where there is no individual mind there
is no measurer-out, no marker-in of limits. The poor fisher has no
possession of the world and no responsibility for it; and if he dreams
of a love-gift better than the brown shawl that seems too common for
poetry, why should he not dream of a glove made from the skin of a
bird, or shoes made from the skin of a herring, or a coat made from
the glittering garment of the salmon? Was it not Æschylus who said he
but served up fragments from the banquet of Homer?—but Homer himself
found the great banquet on an earthen floor and under a broken roof.
We do not know who at the foundation of the world made the banquet for
the first time, or who put the pack of cards into rough hands; but we
do know that, unless those that have made many inventions are about
to change the nature of poetry, we may have to go where Homer went if
we are to sing a new song. Is it because all that is under the moon
thirsts to escape out of bounds, to lose itself in some unbounded tidal
stream, that the songs of the folk are mournful, and that the story
of the Fianna, whenever the queens lament for their lovers, reminds
us of songs that are still sung in country-places? Their grief, even
when it is to be brief like Grania’s, goes up into the waste places of
the sky. But in supreme art or in supreme life there is the influence
of the sun too, and the sun brings with it, as old writers tell us,
not merely discipline but joy; for its discipline is not of the kind
the multitudes impose upon us by their weight and pressure, but the
expression of the individual soul turning itself into a pure fire
and imposing its own pattern, its own music, upon the heaviness and
the dumbness that is in others and in itself. When we have drunk the
cold cup of the moon’s intoxication, we thirst for something beyond
ourselves, and the mind flows outward to a natural immensity; but if
we have drunk from the hot cup of the sun, our own fulness awakens,
we desire little, for wherever one goes one’s heart goes too; and
if any ask what music is the sweetest, we can but answer, as Finn
answered, ‘What happens.’ And yet the songs and stories that have come
from either influence are a part, neither less than the other, of the
pleasure that is the bride-bed of poetry.


VIII

Gaelic-speaking Ireland, because its art has been made, not by the
artist choosing his material from wherever he has a mind to, but
by adding a little to something which it has taken generations to
invent, has always had a popular literature. We cannot say how much
that literature has done for the vigour of the race, for who can
count the hands its praise of kings and high-hearted queens made hot
upon the sword-hilt, or the amorous eyes it made lustful for strength
and beauty? We remember indeed that when the farming people and the
labourers of the towns made their last attempt to cast out England by
force of arms they named themselves after the companions of Finn.
Even when Gaelic has gone, and the poetry with it, something of the
habit of mind remains in ways of speech and thought and ’come-all-ye’s’
and poetical saying; nor is it only among the poor that the old
thought has been for strength or weakness. Surely these old stories,
whether of Finn or Cuchulain, helped to sing the old Irish and the old
Norman-Irish aristocracy to their end. They heard their hereditary
poets and story-tellers, and they took to horse and died fighting
against Elizabeth or against Cromwell; and when an English-speaking
aristocracy had their place, it listened to no poetry indeed, but it
felt about it in the popular mind an exacting and ancient tribunal,
and began a play that had for spectators men and women that loved the
high wasteful virtues. I do not think that their own mixed blood or the
habit of their time need take all, or nearly all, credit or discredit
for the impulse that made our gentlemen of the eighteenth century fight
duels over pocket-handkerchiefs, and set out to play ball against the
gates of Jerusalem for a wager, and scatter money before the public
eye; and at last, after an epoch of such eloquence the world has hardly
seen its like, lose their public spirit and their high heart and grow
querulous and selfish as men do who have played life out not heartily
but with noise and tumult. Had they known the people and the game a
little better, they might have created an aristocracy in an age that
has lost the understanding of the word. When one reads of the Fianna,
or of Cuchulain, or of some great hero, one remembers that the fine
life is always a part played finely before fine spectators. There also
one notices the hot cup and the cold cup of intoxication; and when the
fine spectators have ended, surely the fine players grow weary, and
aristocratic life is ended. When O’Connell covered with a dark glove
the hand that had killed a man in the duelling-field, he played his
part; and when Alexander stayed his army marching to the conquest of
the world that he might contemplate the beauty of a plane-tree, he
played his part. When Osgar complained as he lay dying of the keening
of the women and the old fighting-men, he too played his part; ‘No man
ever knew any heart in me,’ he said, ’but a heart of twisted horn,
and it covered with iron; but the howling of the dogs beside me,’ he
said, ’and the keening of the old fighting-men and the crying of the
women one after another, those are the things that are vexing me.’ If
we would create a great community—and what other game is so worth
the labour?—we must recreate the old foundations of life, not as they
existed in that splendid misunderstanding of the eighteenth century,
but as they must always exist when the finest minds and Ned the beggar
and Seaghan the fool think about the same thing, although they may not
think the same thought about it.


IX

When I asked the little boy who had shown me the pathway up the Hill
of Allen if he knew stories of Finn and Oisin, he said he did not, but
that he had often heard his grandfather telling them to his mother in
Irish. He did not know Irish, but he was learning it at school, and all
the little boys he knew were learning it. In a little while he will
know enough stories of Finn and Oisin to tell them to his children some
day. It is the owners of the land whose children might never have known
what would give them so much happiness. But now they can read this book
to those that shall come after them, and it will make Slieve-naman,
Allen, and Benbulben, the great mountain that showed itself before me
every day through all my childhood and was yet unpeopled, and half
the country-sides of south and west, as populous with memories as are
Dundealgan and Emain Macha and Muirthemne; and after a while somebody
may take boy and girl to some famous place and say, ‘This land where
your fathers lived proudly and finely should be dear and dear and again
dear’; and perhaps when many names have grown musical to their ears, a
more imaginative love will have taught them a better service.


X

I need say nothing about the translation and arrangement of this book
except that it is worthy to be put beside _Cuchulain of Muirthemne_.
Such books should not be commended by written words but by spoken
words, were that possible, for the written words commending a book,
wherein something is done supremely well, remain, to sound in the ears
of a later generation, like the foolish sound of church bells from the
tower of a church when every pew is full.

_Autumn, 1903._



MR. SYNGE AND HIS PLAYS


SIX years ago I was staying in a students’ hotel in the Latin quarter,
and somebody, whose name I cannot recollect, introduced me to an
Irishman, who, even poorer than myself, had taken a room at the top
of the house. It was J. M. Synge, and I, who thought I knew the name
of every Irishman who was working at literature, had never heard of
him. He was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, too, and Trinity
College does not, as a rule, produce artistic minds. He told me that
he had been living in France and Germany, reading French and German
Literature, and that he wished to become a writer. He had, however,
nothing to show but one or two poems and impressionistic essays, full
of that kind of morbidity that has its root in too much brooding over
methods of expression, and ways of looking upon life, which come, not
out of life, but out of literature, images reflected from mirror to
mirror. He had wandered among people whose life is as picturesque as
the middle ages, playing his fiddle to Italian sailors, and listening
to stories in Bavarian woods, but life had cast no light into his
writings. He had learned Irish years ago, but had begun to forget
it, for the only language that interested him was that conventional
language of modern poetry which has begun to make us all weary. I was
very weary of it for I had finished _The Secret Rose_, and felt how
it had separated my imagination from life, sending my Red Hanrahan,
who should have trodden the same roads with myself, into some
undiscoverable country. I said ‘Give up Paris, you will never create
anything by reading Racine, and Arthur Symons will always be a better
critic of French literature. Go to the Arran Islands. Live there as if
you were one of the people themselves; express a life that has never
found expression.’ I had just come from Arran, and my imagination was
full of those gray islands where men must reap with knives because of
the stones.

He went to Arran and became a part of its life, living upon salt fish
and eggs, talking Irish for the most part, but listening also to the
beautiful English which has grown up in Irish-speaking districts, and
takes its vocabulary from the time of Malory and of the translators
of the Bible, but its idiom and its vivid metaphor from Irish. When
Mr. Synge began to write in this language, Lady Gregory had already
used it finely in her translations of Dr. Hyde’s lyrics and plays, or
of old Irish literature, but she had listened with different ears. He
made his own selection of word and phrase, choosing what would express
his own personality. Above all, he made word and phrase dance to a
very strange rhythm, which will always, till his plays have created
their own tradition, be difficult to actors who have not learned it
from his lips. It is essential, for it perfectly fits the drifting
emotion, the dreaminess, the vague yet measureless desire, for which
he would create a dramatic form. It blurs definition, clear edges,
everything that comes from the will, it turns imagination from all
that is of the present, like a gold background in a religious picture,
and it strengthens in every emotion whatever comes to it from far off,
from brooding memory and dangerous hope. When he brought _The Shadow
of the Glen_, his first play, to the Irish National Theatre Society,
the players were puzzled by the rhythm, but gradually they became
certain that his woman of the glens, as melancholy as a curlew, driven
to distraction by her own sensitiveness, her own fineness, could not
speak with any other tongue, that all his people would change their
life if the rhythm changed. Perhaps no Irish countryman had ever that
exact rhythm in his voice, but certainly if Mr. Synge had been born a
countryman, he would have spoken like that. It makes the people of his
imagination a little disembodied; it gives them a kind of innocence
even in their anger and their cursing. It is part of its maker’s
attitude towards the world, for while it makes the clash of wills among
his persons indirect and dreamy, it helps him to see the subject-matter
of his art with wise, clear-seeing, unreflecting eyes; to preserve the
innocence of good art in an age of reasons and purposes. Whether he
write of old beggars by the roadside, lamenting over the misery and
ugliness of life, or of an old Arran woman mourning her drowned sons,
or of a young wife married to an old husband, he has no wish to change
anything, to reform anything; all these people pass by as before an
open window, murmuring strange, exciting words.

If one has not fine construction, one has not drama, but if one has not
beautiful or powerful and individual speech, one has not literature,
or, at any rate, one has not great literature. Rabelais, Villon,
Shakespeare, William Blake, would have known one another by their
speech. Some of them knew how to construct a story, but all of them had
abundant, resonant, beautiful, laughing, living speech. It is only the
writers of our modern dramatic movement, our scientific dramatists,
our naturalists of the stage, who have thought it possible to be like
the greatest, and yet to cast aside even the poor persiflage of the
comedians, and to write in the impersonal language that has come, not
out of individual life, nor out of life at all, but out of necessities
of commerce, of parliament, of board schools, of hurried journeys by
rail.

If there are such things as decaying art and decaying institutions,
their decay must begin when the element they receive into their care
from the life of every man in the world, begins to rot. Literature
decays when it no longer makes more beautiful, or more vivid, the
language which unites it to all life; and when one finds the criticism
of the student, and the purpose of the reformer, and the logic of the
man of science, where there should have been the reveries of the common
heart, ennobled into some raving Lear or unabashed Don Quixote. One
must not forget that the death of language, the substitution of phrases
as nearly impersonal as algebra for words and rhythms varying from man
to man, is but a part of the tyranny of impersonal things. I have been
reading through a bundle of German plays, and have found everywhere a
desire not to express hopes and alarms common to every man that ever
came into the world, but politics or social passion, a veiled or open
propaganda. Now it is duelling that has need of reproof; now it is the
ideas of an actress, returning from the free life of the stage, that
must be contrasted with the prejudice of an old-fashioned town; now it
is the hostility of Christianity and Paganism in our own day that is
to find an obscure symbol in a bell thrown from its tower by spirits
of the wood. I compare the work of these dramatists with the greater
plays of their Scandinavian master, and remember that even he, who has
made so many clear-drawn characters, has made us no abundant character,
no man of genius in whom we could believe, and that in him also, even
when it is Emperor and Galilean that are face to face, even the most
momentous figures are subordinate to some tendency, to some movement,
to some inanimate energy, or to some process of thought whose very
logic has changed it into mechanism—always to something other than
human life.

We must not measure a young talent, whether we praise or blame, with
that of men who are among the greatest of our time, but we may say
of any talent, following out a definition, that it takes up the
tradition of great drama as it came from the hands of the masters who
are acknowledged by all time, and turns away from a dramatic movement,
which, though it has been served by fine talent, has been imposed upon
us by science, by artificial life, by a passing order.

When the individual life no longer delights in its own energy, when the
body is not made strong and beautiful by the activities of daily life,
when men have no delight in decorating the body, one may be certain
that one lives in a passing order, amid the inventions of a fading
vitality. If Homer were alive to-day, he would only resist, after a
deliberate struggle, the temptation to find his subject not in Helen’s
beauty, that every man has desired, nor in the wisdom and endurance of
Odysseus that has been the desire of every woman that has come into the
world, but in what somebody would describe, perhaps, as ’the inevitable
contest,’ arising out of economic causes, between the country-places
and small towns on the one hand, and, upon the other, the great city of
Troy, representing one knows not what ’tendency to centralization.’

Mr. Synge has in common with the great theatre of the world, with
that of Greece and that of India, with the creator of Falstaff, with
Racine, a delight in language, a preoccupation with individual life. He
resembles them also by a preoccupation with what is lasting and noble,
that came to him, not as I think from books, but while he listened
to old stories in the cottages, and contrasted what they remembered
with reality. The only literature of the Irish country-people is their
songs, full often of extravagant love, and their stories of kings
and of kings’ children. ‘I will cry my fill, but not for God, but
because Finn and the Fianna are not living,’ says Oisin in the story.
Every writer, even every small writer, who has belonged to the great
tradition, has had his dream of an impossibly noble life, and the
greater he is, the more does it seem to plunge him into some beautiful
or bitter reverie. Some, and of these are all the earliest poets of
the world, gave it direct expression; others mingle it so subtly with
reality, that it is a day’s work to disentangle it; others bring it
near by showing one whatever is most its contrary. Mr. Synge, indeed,
sets before us ugly, deformed or sinful people, but his people, moved
by no practical ambition, are driven by a dream of that impossible
life. That we may feel how intensely his woman of the glen dreams
of days that shall be entirely alive, she that is ’a hard woman to
please,’ must spend her days between a sour-faced old husband, a man
who goes mad upon the hills, a craven lad and a drunken tramp; and
those two blind people of _The Well of the Saints_ are so transformed
by the dream, that they choose blindness rather than reality. He tells
us of realities, but he knows that art has never taken more than its
symbols from anything that the eye can see or the hand measure.

It is the preoccupation of his characters with their dream that gives
his plays their drifting movement, their emotional subtlety. In most
of the dramatic writing of our time, and this is one of the reasons
why our dramatists do not find the need for a better speech, one finds
a simple motive lifted, as it were, into the full light of the stage.
The ordinary student of drama will not find anywhere in _The Well of
the Saints_ that excitement of the will in the presence of attainable
advantages, which he is accustomed to think the natural stuff of drama,
and if he see it played he will wonder why act is knitted to act so
loosely, why it is all, as it were, flat, why there is so much leisure
in the dialogue, even in the midst of passion. If he see the _Shadow of
the Glen_, he will ask, why does this woman go out of her house? Is it
because she cannot help herself, or is she content to go? Why is it not
all made clearer? And yet, like everybody when caught up into great
events, she does many things without being quite certain why she does
them. She hardly understands at moments why her action has a certain
form, more clearly than why her body is tall or short, fair or brown.
She feels an emotion that she does not understand. She is driven by
desires that need for their expression, not ‘I admire this man,’ or ‘I
must go, whether I will or no,’ but words full of suggestion, rhythms
of voice, movements that escape analysis. In addition to all this, she
has something that she shares with none but the children of one man’s
imagination. She is intoxicated by a dream which is hardly understood
by herself, but possesses her like something half-remembered on a
sudden wakening.

While I write, we are rehearsing _The Well of the Saints_, and are
painting for it decorative scenery, mountains in one or two flat
colours and without detail, ash trees and red salleys with something of
recurring pattern in their woven boughs. For though the people of the
play use no phrase they could not use in daily life, we know that we
are seeking to express what no eye has ever seen.

    ABBEY THEATRE,
      _January 27, 1905_.



LIONEL JOHNSON


CONTEMPORARY Irish poets believe in a spiritual life, invisible and
troubling, and express this belief in their poetry. Contemporary
English poets are interested in the glory of the world, like Mr.
Rudyard Kipling; or in the order of the world, like Mr. William Watson;
or in the passion of the world, like Mr. John Davidson; or in the
pleasure of the world, like Mr. Arthur Symons. Mr. Francis Thompson,
who has fallen under the shadow of Mr. Coventry Patmore, the poet of
an older time and in protest against that time, is alone preoccupied
with a spiritual life; and even he, except at rare moments, has less
living fervour of belief than pleasure in the gleaming and scented and
coloured symbols that are the footsteps where the belief of others has
trodden. Ireland, upon the other hand, is creating in English a poetry
as full of spiritual ardour as the poetry that praised in Gaelic _The
Country of the Two Mists_, and _The Country of the Young_, and _The
Country of the Living Heart_.

‘A.E.’ has written an ecstatic pantheistic poetry which reveals in all
things a kind of scented flame consuming them from within. Miss Hopper,
an unequal writer, whose best verses are delicate and distinguished,
has no clear vision of spiritual things, but makes material things
as frail and fragile as if they were but smouldering leaves, that we
stirred in some mid-world of dreams, as ’the gossips’ in her poem ’stir
their lives’ red ashes.’ Mrs. Hinkson, uninteresting at her worst,
as only uncritical and unspeculative writers are uninteresting, has
sometimes expressed an impassioned and instinctive Catholicism in poems
that are, as I believe, as perfect as they are beautiful, while Mr.
Lionel Johnson has in his poetry completed the trinity of the spiritual
virtues by adding Stoicism to Ecstasy and Asceticism. He has renounced
the world and built up a twilight world instead, where all the colours
are like the colours in the rainbow that is cast by the moon, and
all the people as far from modern tumults as the people upon fading
and dropping tapestries. He has so little interest in our pains and
pleasures, and is so wrapped up in his own world, that one comes from
his books wearied and exalted, as though one had posed for some noble
action in a strange _tableau vivant_ that cast its painful stillness
upon the mind instead of the body. He might have cried with Axel, ‘As
for living, our servants will do that for us.’ As Axel chose to die,
he has chosen to live among his books and between two memories—the
religious tradition of the Church of Rome and the political tradition
of Ireland. From these he gazes upon the future, and whether he write
of Sertorius or of Lucretius, or of Parnell or of ‘Ireland’s dead,’ or
of ’98, or of St. Columba or of Leo XIII., it is always with the same
cold or scornful ecstasy. He has made a world full of altar lights and
golden vestures, and murmured Latin and incense clouds, and autumn
winds and dead leaves, where one wanders remembering martyrdoms and
courtesies that the world has forgotten.

His ecstasy is the ecstasy of combat, not of submission to the Divine
will; and even when he remembers that ‘the old Saints prevail,’ he sees
the ‘one ancient Priest’ who alone offers the Sacrifice, and remembers
the loneliness of the Saints. Had he not this ecstasy of combat, he
would be the poet of those peaceful and unhappy souls, who, in the
symbolism of a living Irish visionary, are compelled to inhabit when
they die a shadowy island Paradise in the West, where the moon always
shines, and a mist is always on the face of the moon, and a music of
many sighs is always in the air, because they renounced the joy of the
world without accepting the joy of God.

1899.



THE PATHWAY


MOST of us who are writing books in Ireland to-day have some kind of
a spiritual philosophy; and some among us when we look backward upon
our lives see that the coming of a young Brahmin into Ireland helped
to give our vague thoughts a shape. When we were schoolboys we used to
discuss whatever we could find to read of mystical philosophy and to
pass crystals over each others’ hands and eyes and to fancy that we
could feel a breath flowing from them as people did in a certain German
book; and one day somebody told us he had met a Brahmin in London who
knew more of these things than any book. With a courage which I still
admire, we wrote and asked him to come and teach us, and he came with
a little bag in his hand and _Marius the Epicurean_ in his pocket, and
stayed with one of us, who gave him a plate of rice and an apple every
day at two o’clock; and for a week and all day long he unfolded what
seemed to be all wisdom. He sat there beautiful, as only an Eastern is
beautiful, making little gestures with his delicate hands, and to him
alone among all the talkers I have heard, the delight of ordered words
seemed nothing, and all thought a flight into the heart of truth.

We brought him, on the evening of his coming, to a certain club which
still discusses everything with that leisure which is the compensation
of unsuccessful countries; and there he overthrew or awed into silence
whatever metaphysics the town had. And next day, when we would have
complimented him, he was remorseful and melancholy, for was it not
‘intellectual lust’? And sometimes he would go back over something he
had said and explain to us that his argument had been a fallacy, and
apologise as though he had offended against good manners. And once,
when we questioned him of some event, he told us what he seemed to
remember, but asked us not to give much weight to his memory, for he
had found that he observed carelessly. He said, ‘We Easterns are taught
to state a principle carefully, but we are not taught to observe and to
remember and to describe a fact. Our sense of what truthfulness is is
quite different from yours.’ His principles were a part of his being,
while our facts, though he was too polite to say it, were doubtless
a part of that bodily life, which is, as he believed, an error. He
certainly did hold that we lived too much to understand the truth or
to live long, for he remembered that his father, who had been the first
of his family for two thousand years to leave his native village, had
repeated over and over upon his deathbed, ‘The West is dying because of
its restlessness.’ Once when he had spoken of some Englishman who had
gone down the crater of Vesuvius, some listener adventured: ‘We like
men who do that kind of thing, because a man should not think too much
of his life,’ but was answered solidly, ‘You do not think little of
your lives, but you think so much of your lives that you would enjoy
them everywhere, even in the crater of Vesuvius.’ Somebody asked him
if we should pray, but even prayer was too full of hope, of desire, of
life, to have any part in that acquiescence that was his beginning of
wisdom, and he answered that one should say, before sleeping: ‘I have
lived many lives. I have been a slave and a prince. Many a beloved has
sat upon my knees, and I have sat upon the knees of many a beloved.
Everything that has been shall be again.’ Beautiful words, that I
spoilt once by turning them into clumsy verse.

Nearly all that we call education was to him but a means to bring us
under the despotism of life; and I remember the bewilderment of a
schoolmaster who asked about the education of children and was told
to ‘teach them fairy tales, and that they did not possess even their
own bodies.’ I think he would not have taught anybody anything that had
to be written in prose, for he said, very seriously, ‘I have thought
much about it, and I have never been able to discover any reason why
prose should exist.’ I think he would not have trained anybody in
anything but in the arts and in philosophy, which sweeps the pathway
before them, for he certainly thought, as William Blake did, that the
‘imagination is the man himself,’ and can, if it be strong enough,
work every miracle. A man had come to him in London, and had said, ‘My
wife believes that you have the wisdom of the East and can cure her
neuralgia, from which she has suffered for years.’ He had answered:
‘Are you certain that she believes that? because, if you are, I can
cure her.’ He had gone to her and made a circle round her and recited
a poem in Sanscrit, and she had never had neuralgia since. He recited
the poem to us, and was very disappointed because we did not know by
the sound that it was a description of the spring. Not only did he
think that the imaginative arts were the only things that were quite
sinless, but he spent more than half a day proving, by many subtle and
elaborate arguments, that ‘art for art’s sake’ was the only sinless
doctrine, for any other would hide the shadow of the world as it
exists in the mind of God by shadows of the accidents and illusions of
life, and was but Sadducean blasphemy. Religion existed also for its
own sake; and every soul quivered between two emotions, the desire to
possess things, to make them a portion of its egotism, and a delight
in just and beautiful things for their own sake—and all religions were
a doctrinal or symbolical crying aloud of this delight. He would not
give his own belief a name for fear he might seem to admit that there
could be religion that expressed another delight, and if one urged him
too impetuously, he would look embarrassed and say, ‘This body is a
Brahmin.’ All other parts of religion were unimportant, for even our
desire of immortality was no better than our other desires. Before
I understood him, I asked what he would answer to one who began the
discussion by denying the immortality of the soul, for the accident
of a discussion with religious people had set him grafting upon this
stock, and he said, ‘I would say to him, What has that to do with you?’

I remember these phrases and these little fragments of argument quite
clearly, for their charm and their unexpectedness has made them cling
to the memory; but when I try to remember his philosophy as a whole, I
cannot part it from what I myself have built about it, or have gathered
in the great ruined house of ‘the prophetic books’ of William Blake;
but I am certain that he taught us by what seemed an invincible logic
that those who die, in so far as they have imagined beauty or justice,
are made a part of beauty or justice, and move through the minds of
living men, as Shelley believed; and that mind overshadows mind even
among the living, and by pathways that lie beyond the senses; and that
he measured labour by this measure, and put the hermit above all other
labourers, because, being the most silent and the most hidden, he lived
nearer to the Eternal Powers, and showed their mastery of the world.
Alcibiades fled from Socrates lest he might do nothing but listen to
him all life long, and I am certain that we, seeking as youth will for
some unknown deed and thought, all dreamed that but to listen to this
man who threw the enchantment of power about silent and gentle things,
and at last to think as he did, was the one thing worth doing and
thinking; and that all action and all words that lead to action were a
little vulgar, a little trivial. Ah, how many years it has taken me to
awake out of that dream!

1900-1908.



A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF

THE WRITINGS

OF

WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

BY

ALLAN WADE.


_NOTE._

_I began to make this bibliography a good many years ago, putting
into an old note-book a list of all the writings of Mr. Yeats that I
knew, and adding others from time to time, as chance led me to find
them in newspapers or periodicals. I had no thought in doing this but
my own pleasure, and it is with a kind of wonder that I see my notes
taking the form of a book or part of a book at Mr. Bullen’s beautiful
Shakespeare Head Press._

_I do not think the arrangement of the bibliography needs any
explanation. I have not found it possible always to identify the
first appearance of poems and essays, particularly in the earlier
collections; nor have I thought it necessary to include a reference to
every letter written by Mr. Yeats to the Press, since many of these
have dealt merely with small points of fact in this or that controversy
of the moment. But otherwise I have tried to make the work as complete
as possible, and have given many details to serve as guides to those
who would study the path along which beauty has come into the world. I
have watched the roses blossoming in the garden, though I may not know
the secret of their growth._

_My thanks for help and suggestions are due to Mr. Yeats himself and to
Mr. A. H. Bullen, Mrs. Tynan Hinkson, Miss A. E. F. Horniman, Mr. John
Masefield and Mr. T. W. Rolleston. The details of the American editions
of Mr. Yeats’s books have been kindly supplied by Mr. John Quinn of New
York._

                                                      _ALLAN WADE._

_June, 1908._


   _Accursed who brings to light of day
    The writings I have cast away!
    But blessed he that stirs them not
    And lets the kind worm take the lot!_
                                  —W.B.Y.



PART I.—ORIGINAL WORKS.



1886.


Mosada. | A Dramatic Poem. | By | W. B. Yeats. | With a | Frontispiece
Portrait of the Author | By J. B. Yeats. | Reprinted from the Dublin
University Review. | Dublin: | Printed by Sealy, Bryers, and Walker, |
94, 95 and 96 Middle Abbey Street. | 1886.

The whole enclosed in decorated border.

8vo, pp. ii and 12. Light brown paper covers.

There is no title-page, the above description being taken from the
front cover.

_Mosada_ originally appeared in _The Dublin University Review_, June,
1886.



1889.


The Wanderings of Oisin | and other Poems | by | W. B. Yeats | London |
Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1, Paternoster Square | 1889

    Fcap. 8vo, pp. vi and 156. Cloth.


CONTENTS.

    _The Wanderings of Oisin._

    _Time and the Witch Vivien._

    _The Stolen Child._ Originally appeared in _The Irish
      Monthly_, December, 1886.

    _Girl’s Song._

    _Ephemera. An Autumn Idyll._

    _An Indian Song._ Originally appeared in _The Dublin
      University Review_, December, 1886.

    _Kanva, the Indian, on God._ Originally appeared,
      under the title _From the Book of Kauri the Indian_.
      Section V., _On the Nature of God_, in _The Dublin
      University Review_, October, 1886.

    _Kanva on Himself._

    _Jealousy._

    _Song of the Last Arcadian._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _An Epilogue. To ‘The Island of Statues’_
      and ‘_The Seeker_,’ in _The Dublin University
      Review_, October, 1885.

    _King Goll._ (_Third Century._) Originally appeared,
      under the title _King Goll_. _An Irish Legend_, in
      _The Leisure Hour_, September, 1887.

    _The Meditation of the Old Fisherman._ Originally
      appeared in _The Irish Monthly_, October, 1886.

    _The Ballad of Moll Magee._

    _The Phantom Ship._

    _A Lover’s Quarrel among the Fairies._

    _Mosada._ Originally appeared in _The Dublin University
      Review_, June, 1886.

    _How Ferencz Renyi kept Silent._ Originally appeared in
      _The Boston Pilot_.

    _The Fairy Doctor._ Originally appeared in _The Irish
      Fireside_, September 10, 1887.

    _Falling of the Leaves._

    _Miserrimus._ Originally appeared in _The Dublin
      University Review_, October, 1886.

    _The Priest and the Fairy._

    _The Fairy Pedant._ Originally appeared in _The Irish
      Monthly_, March, 1887.

    _She who dwelt among the Sycamores. A Fancy._
      Originally appeared in _The Irish Monthly_,
      September, 1887.

    _On Mr. Nettleship’s Picture at the Royal Hibernian
      Academy_, 1885. Originally appeared in _The Dublin
      University Review_, April, 1886.

    _A Legend._

    _An Old Song re-sung._

    _Street Dancers._ This poem appeared in _The Leisure
      Hour_, March, 1890.

    _To an Isle in the Water._

    _Quatrains and Aphorisms._ The first quatrain
      originally appeared in _The Dublin University
      Review_, February, 1886, under the title _Life_, and
      the second and sixth in January, 1886, under the
      title _In a Drawing Room_.

    _The Seeker._ Originally appeared, under the title _The
      Seeker. A Dramatic Poem. In Two Scenes_, in _The
      Dublin University Review_, September, 1885.

    _Island of Statues._ Originally appeared, under the
      title _The Island of Statues. An Arcadian Faery Tale.
      In Two Acts_, in _The Dublin University Review_,
      April, May, June and July, 1885.



1891.


Ganconagh | John Sherman | and | Dhoya | London | T. Fisher Unwin |
Paternoster Square | M DCCC XCI

24mo, pp. iv and 196. _The Pseudonym Library_, issued in yellow paper
and in light brown linen. No. 10.


CONTENTS.

    _Ganconagh’s Apology._

    _John Sherman._

    _Dhoya._



1892.


The | Countess Kathleen | and various Legends and Lyrics. | By | W. B.
Yeats. | “He who tastes a crust of bread | tastes all the stars and all
| the heavens.” | Paracelsus ab Hohenheim | Cameo Series | T. Fisher
Unwin Paternoster Sq. | London E.C. MDCCCXCII.

12mo, pp. 144. Paper boards with vellum back. Published in the Cameo
Series. Frontispiece by J. T. Nettleship.


CONTENTS.

    _Preface._

    _The Countess Cathleen._

    _To the Rose upon the Rood of Time._

    _Fergus and the Druid._ Originally appeared in _The
      National Observer_, May 21, 1891.

    _The Rose of the World._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _Rosa Mundi_, in _The National Observer_,
      January 2, 1892.

    _The Peace of the Rose._ Originally appeared in _The
      National Observer_, February 13, 1892.

    _The Death of Cuchullin._ Originally appeared in
      _United Ireland_, June 11, 1892.

    _The White Birds._ Originally appeared in _The National
      Observer_, May 7, 1892.

    _Father Gilligan._ Originally appeared, under the title
      _Father Gilligan_. (_A Legend told by the People of
      Castleisland, Kerry._), in _The Scots Observer_, July
      5, 1890.

    _Father O’Hart._ Appeared, under the title _The Priest
      of Coloony_ in _Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish
      Peasantry_, 1888.

    _When You are Old._

    _The Sorrow of Love._

    _The Ballad of the Old Foxhunter._ Originally appeared
      in _East and West_, November, 1889.

    _A Fairy Song._ Originally appeared in _The National
      Observer_, September 12, 1891.

    _The Pity of Love._

    _The Lake Isle of Innisfree._ Originally appeared in
      _The National Observer_, December 13, 1890.

    _A Cradle Song._ Originally appeared in _The Scots
      Observer_, April 19, 1890.

    _The Man who Dreamed of Fairy Land._ Originally
      appeared, under the title _A Man who dreamed of
      Fairyland_, in _The National Observer_, February 7,
      1891.

    _Dedication of Irish Tales._ Originally appeared in
      _Representative Irish Tales_, 1890.

    _The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner._ Originally
      appeared in _The Scots Observer_, November 15, 1890.

    _When You are Sad._

    _The Two Trees._

    _They went forth to the Battle, but they always Fell._

    _An Epitaph._ Originally appeared in _The National
      Observer_, December 12, 1891.

    _Apologia Addressed to Ireland in the Coming Days._

    _Notes._



1893.


The Celtic Twilight. [in red] | Men and Women, Dhouls and | Faeries. |
By | W. B. Yeats. | With a frontispiece by J. B. Yeats. | (Press mark
of Lawrence and Bullen) | London: | Lawrence and Bullen, [in red] | 16,
Henrietta St., Covent Garden. | 1893.

    18mo, pp. xii and 212. Cloth.


CONTENTS.

    Poem: _Time drops in decay_. Originally appeared, under
      the title _The Moods_, in _The Bookman_, Aug., 1893.

    _The Host._ Originally appeared under the title _The
      Faery Host_, in _The National Observer_, October 7,
      1893.

    _This Book._

    _A Teller of Tales._ A part of this essay originally
      appeared in the introduction to _Fairy and Folk Tales
      of the Irish Peasantry_, 1888.

    _Belief and Unbelief._ A part of this essay originally
      appeared in an essay _Irish Fairies_ in _The Leisure
      Hour_, October, 1890.

    _A Visionary._ Originally appeared, under the title _An
      Irish Visionary_, in _The National Observer_, October
      3, 1891.

    _Village Ghosts._ Originally appeared in _The Scots
      Observer_, May 11, 1889.

    _A Knight of the Sheep._ Originally appeared, under the
      title _An Impression_, in _The Speaker_, October 21,
      1893.

    _The Sorcerers._

    _The Last Gleeman._ Originally appeared in _The
      National Observer_, May 6, 1893.

    _Regina, Regina Pigmeorum, Veni._

    _Kidnappers._ Originally appeared in _The Scots
      Observer_, June 15, 1889.

    _The Untiring Ones._

    _The Man and his Boots._

    _A Coward._

    _The Three O’Byrnes and the Evil Faeries._ Originally
      appeared as part of an essay _Irish Fairies_ in _The
      Leisure Hour_, October, 1890.

    _Drumcliff and Rosses._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _Columkille and Rosses_, in _The Scots
      Observer_, October 5, 1889.

    _The Thick Skull of the Fortunate._

    _The Religion of a Sailor._

    _Concerning the Nearness Together of Heaven, Earth and
      Purgatory._

    _The Eaters of Precious Stones._

    _Our Lady of the Hills._ Originally appeared in _The
      Speaker_, November 11, 1893.

    _The Golden Age._

    _A Remonstrance with Scotsmen for having soured the
      disposition of their Ghosts and Faeries._ Originally
      appeared under the title _Scots and Irish Fairies_ in
      _The Scots Observer_, March 2, 1889.

    _The Four Winds of Desire._

    _Into the Twilight._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _The Celtic Twilight_ in _The National
      Observer_, July 29, 1893.



1894.


The Land | of Heart’s | Desire | by | W. B. Yeats. | London: T. Fisher
| Unwin, Paternoster | Square. MDCCCXCIV

    The left-hand side of the title-page bears Aubrey
      Beardsley’s design for the Avenue Theatre poster,
      much reduced in size and printed in black.

    Sm. 4to, pp. 48. Pink paper cover, bearing reprint of
      the title-page.



1895.


Poems | By W. B. Yeats | London: Published by T. Fisher Unwin. | No.
XI: Paternoster Buildings: MDCCCXCV [The whole forms part of a design
by H.G.F.]

    Cr. 8vo, pp. xii and 288. Cloth.


CONTENTS.

    _Preface._ (Dated Sligo, March 24, 1895.)

    _To Some I have talked with by the fire._ Originally
      appeared in _The Bookman_, May, 1895.

    _The Wanderings of Usheen._[F]

    _The Countess Cathleen._[G]

    _The Land of Heart’s Desire._

    _The Rose_:

      _To the Rose upon the Rood of Time._[G]

      _Fergus and the Druid._[G]

      _The Death of Cuhoolin._[G]

      _The Rose of the World._[G]

      _The Rose of Peace._[G]

      _The Rose of Battle._[G]

      _A Faery Song._[G]

      _The Lake Isle of Innisfree._[G]

      _A Cradle Song._[G]

      _The Pity of Love._[G]

      _The Sorrow of Love._[G]

      _When You are Old._[G]

      _The White Birds._[G]

      _A Dream of Death._[G]

      _A Dream of a Blessed Spirit._ Originally appeared,
        under the title _Kathleen_, in _The National
        Observer_, October 31, 1891.

      _The Man who Dreamed of Faeryland._[G]

      _The Dedication to a Book of Stories selected from
        the Irish Novelists._[G]

      _The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner._[G]

      _The Ballad of Father Gilligan._[G]

      _The Two Trees._[G]

      _To Ireland in the Coming Times._[G]

_Crossways_:

      _The Song of the Happy Shepherd._[F]

      _The Sad Shepherd._[F]

      _The Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes._[F] (A
        re-writing of the first lines of _Island of
        Statues_.)

      _Anashuya and Vijaya._[F]

      _The Indian upon God._[F]

      _The Indian to his Love._[F]

      _The Falling of the Leaves._[F]

      _Ephemera._[F]

      _The Madness of King Goll._[F]

      _The Stolen Child._[F]

      _To an Isle in the Water._[F]

      _Down by the Salley Gardens._[F]

      _The Meditation of the Old Fisherman._[F]

      _The Ballad of Father O’Hart._[G]

      _The Ballad of Moll Magee._[F]

      _The Ballad of the Foxhunter._[G]

_Glossary._


1899. Second Edition, revised.

This edition has a portrait of the author by J. B. Yeats facing
title-page, the preface is re-written, and the contents re-arranged
thus:—


      _Preface._ (Dated February 24, 1899.)

      _To Some I have talked with by the fire._

      _The Countess Cathleen._

      _The Rose._

      _The Land of Heart’s Desire._

      _Crossways._

      _The Wanderings of Oisin._

      _Glossary._



1901. Third Edition, revised.

This edition has a new preface, dated January, 1901, and the note in
the glossary on _The Countess Cathleen_ is much enlarged.



1897.


The Secret Rose: [in red] | By W. B. Yeats, with | Illustrations by J.
B. | Yeats. | (Press mark of Lawrence and Bullen) | Lawrence & Bullen,
Limited, [in red] | 16 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, | London,
MDCCCXCVII.

    Cr. 8vo, pp. xii and 268. Cloth.


CONTENTS.

    _Dedication to ‘A.E.’_

    _To the Secret Rose._ Originally appeared, under the
      title _O’Sullivan Rua to the Secret Rose_, in _The
      Savoy_, September, 1896.

    _The Binding of the Hair._ Originally appeared in _The
      Savoy_, January, 1896.

    _The Wisdom of the King._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _Wisdom_, in _The New Review_, Sept., 1895.

    _Where there is Nothing, there is God._ Originally
      appeared in _The Sketch_, October 21, 1896.

    _The Crucifixion of the Outcast._ Originally appeared,
      under the title _A Crucifixion_, in _The National
      Observer_, March 24, 1894.

    _Out of the Rose._ Originally appeared in _The National
      Observer_, May 27, 1893.

    _The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows._ Originally
      appeared in _The National Observer_, Aug. 5, 1893.

    _The Heart of the Spring._ Originally appeared in _The
      National Observer_, April 15, 1893.

    _Of Costello the Proud, of Oona the Daughter of Dermott
      and of the Bitter Tongue._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _Costello the Proud, Oona MacDermott and
      the Bitter Tongue_, in _The Pageant_, 1896.

    _The Book of the Great Dhoul and Hanrahan the Red._
      Originally appeared, under the title _The Devil’s
      Book_, in _The National Observer_, November 26, 1892.

    _The Twisting of the Rope and Hanrahan the Red._
      Originally appeared, under the title _The Twisting of
      the Rope_, in _The National Observer_, December 24,
      1892.

    _Kathleen the Daughter of Hoolihan and Hanrahan
      the Red._ Originally appeared, under the title
      _Kathleen-ny-Houlihan_, in _The National Observer_,
      Aug. 4, 1894.

    _The Curse of Hanrahan the Red._ Originally appeared,
      under the title _The Curse of O’Sullivan the Red upon
      Old Age_, in _The National Observer_, September 29,
      1894.

    _The Vision of Hanrahan the Red._ Originally appeared,
      under the title _The Vision of O’Sullivan the Red_,
      in _The New Review_, April, 1896.

    _The Death of Hanrahan the Red._ Originally appeared,
      under the title _The Death of O’Sullivan the Red_, in
      _The New Review_, December, 1896.

    _The Rose of Shadow._ Originally appeared under
      the title _Those Who Live in the Storm_, in _The
      Speaker_, July 21, 1894.

    _The Old Men of the Twilight._ Originally appeared,
      under the title _St. Patrick and the Pedants_, in
      _The Weekly Sun Literary Supplement_, December 1,
      1895.

    _Rosa Alchemica._ Originally appeared in _The Savoy_,
      April, 1896.

The Tables of the Law. | The Adoration of the Magi. | By W. B. Yeats. |
(Press mark of Lawrence and Bullen) | Privately Printed | MDCCCXCVII.

Cr. 8vo, pp. 48. Cloth. Portrait by J. B. Yeats facing title-page.


CONTENTS.

    _The Tables of the Law._ Originally appeared in _The
      Savoy_, November, 1896.

    _The Adoration of the Magi._

One hundred and ten copies printed.


1904. First published edition:—

The Tables of the Law | and | The Adoration of the Magi | by | W. B.
Yeats | London | Elkin Mathews, Vigo Street | 1904

Royal 16mo, pp. 60 and iv of advertisements. Paper covers. No. 17 of
_The Vigo Cabinet Series_.


CONTENTS.

    _Prefatory Note._

    _The Tables of the Law._

    _The Adoration of the Magi._

Also an Edition de Luxe, limited.



1899.


The Wind | Among the Reeds | By | W. B. Yeats | London: Elkin Mathews |
Vigo Street, W., 1899.

    Cr. 8vo, pp. viii and 108. Cloth.


CONTENTS.

    _The Hosting of the Sidhe._ For original appearance see
      under title _The Host_, in _The Celtic Twilight_,
      1893.

    _The Everlasting Voices._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _Everlasting Voices_, in _The New Review_,
      January, 1896.

    _The Moods._ For original appearance see _The Celtic
      Twilight_, 1893.

    _Aedh tells of the Rose in his Heart._ Originally
      appeared, under the title _The Rose in my Heart_, in
      _The National Observer_, November 12, 1892.

    _The Host of the Air._ Originally appeared, under the
      title _The Stolen Bride_, in _The Bookman_, Nov.,
      1893.

    _Breasal the Fisherman._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _Bressel the Fisherman_, in _The Cornish
      Magazine_, December, 1898.

    _A Cradle Song._ Originally appeared as the first of
      _Two Poems concerning Peasant Visionaries_, in _The
      Savoy_, April, 1896.

    _Into the Twilight._ For original appearance see _The
      Celtic Twilight_, 1893.

    _The Song of Wandering Aengus._

    _The Song of the Old Mother._ Originally appeared in
      _The Bookman_, April, 1894.

    _The Fiddler of Dooney._ Originally appeared in _The
      Bookman_, December, 1892.

    _The Heart of the Woman._ Originally appeared in the
      story _The Rose of Shadow_, in _The Secret Rose_.

    _Aedh Laments the Loss of Love._ Originally appeared as
      the second of _Aodh to Dectora. Three Songs_, in _The
      Dome_, May, 1898.

    _Mongan Laments the Change that has come upon him and
      his Beloved._ Originally appeared, under the title
      _The Desire of Man and of Woman_, in _The Dome_,
      June, 1897.

    _Michael Robartes bids his Beloved be at Peace._
      Originally appeared, under the title _The Shadowy
      Horses_, in _The Savoy_, January, 1896.

    _Hanrahan reproves the Curlew._ Originally appeared,
      under the title _Windlestraws_. 1. _O’Sullivan Rua to
      the Curlew_, in _The Savoy_, November, 1896.

    _Michael Robartes remembers forgotten Beauty._
      Originally appeared, under the title _O’Sullivan Rua
      to Mary Lavell_, in _The Savoy_, July, 1896.

    _A Poet to his Beloved._ Originally appeared, under the
      title _O’Sullivan the Red to Mary Lavell_, in _The
      Senate_, March, 1896.

    _Aedh gives his Beloved certain Rhymes_. Originally
      appeared in the story _The Binding of the Hair_. See
      _The Secret Rose_, 1897.

    _To my Heart, bidding it have no Fear._ Originally
      appeared, under the title _Windlestraws_. 11. _Out of
      the Old Days_, in _The Savoy_, November, 1896.

    _The Cap and Bells._ Originally appeared, under the
      title _Cap and Bell_, in _The National Observer_,
      March 17, 1894.

    _The Valley of the Black Pig._ Originally appeared,
      as the second of _Two Poems concerning Peasant
      Visionaries_, in _The Savoy_, April, 1896.

    _Michael Robartes asks Forgiveness because of his many
      Moods._ Originally appeared, under the title _The
      Twilight of Forgiveness_, in _The Saturday Review_,
      November 2, 1895.

    _Aedh tells of a Valley full of Lovers._ Originally
      appeared under the title _The Valley of Lovers_, in
      _The Saturday Review_, January 9, 1897.

    _Aedh tells of the perfect Beauty._ Originally
      appeared, under the title _O’Sullivan the Red to Mary
      Lavell_, in _The Senate_, March, 1896.

    _Aedh hears the Cry of the Sedge._ Originally appeared
      as the first of _Aodh to Dectora. Three Songs_, in
      _The Dome_, May, 1898.

    _Aedh thinks of those who have spoken Evil of his
      Beloved._ Originally appeared as the third of _Aodh
      to Dectora. Three Songs_, in _The Dome_, May, 1898.

    _The Blessed._ Originally appeared in _The Yellow
      Book_, Volume XIII, April, 1897.

    _The Secret Rose._ For original appearance see under
      _The Secret Rose_, 1897.

    _Hanrahan laments because of his Wanderings._
      Originally appeared, under the title _O’Sullivan
      the Red upon his Wanderings_, in _The New Review_,
      August, 1897.

    _The Travail of Passion._ Originally appeared in _The
      Savoy_, January, 1896.

    _The Poet pleads with his Friend for old Friends._
      Originally appeared, under the title _Song_, in _The
      Saturday Review_, July 24, 1897.

    _Hanrahan Speaks to the Lovers of his Songs in coming
      Days._ Originally appeared in the story _The Vision
      of Hanrahan the Red_. See _The Secret Rose_, 1897.

    _Aedh pleads with the Elemental Powers._ Originally
      appeared, under the title _Aodh Pleads with the
      Elemental Powers_, in _The Dome_, December, 1898.

    _Aedh wishes his Beloved were dead._

    _Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven._

    _Mongan thinks of his past Greatness._ Originally
      appeared, under the title _Song of Mongan_, in _The
      Dome_, October, 1898.

    _Notes._



1900.


The Shadowy Waters | By W. B. Yeats | London: Hodder and | Stoughton |
27 Paternoster Row: MCM

    Cr. 4to, pp. 60. Cloth.


CONTENTS.

    _I walked among the seven woods of Coole._ Originally
      appeared, under the title _Introduction to a Dramatic
      Poem_, in _The Speaker_, December 1, 1900.

    _The Shadowy Waters._ Originally appeared in _The North
      American Review_, May, 1900.



1902.

The Celtic Twilight [in red] | By W. B. Yeats | A. H. Bullen, [in red]
18 Cecil Court | St. Martin’s Lane, London, W.C. | MCMII

    Cr. 8vo, pp. x and 236. Cloth.

Portrait by J. B. Yeats facing title-page.


CONTENTS.

    Poem: _Time drops in decay._

    _The Hosting of the Sidhe._

    _This Book._ I. 1893. II. 1902.

    _A Teller of Tales._

    _Belief and Unbelief._

    _Mortal Help._ Originally appeared in The Speaker,
      April 19, 1902.

    _A Visionary._ (With a new footnote.)

    _Village Ghosts._

    ‘_Dust hath closed Helen’s Eye._’ I. 1900. II. 1902.
      Part I originally appeared in _The Dome_, October,
      1899.

    _A Knight of the Sheep._

    _An Enduring Heart._ Originally appeared in _The
      Speaker_, April 26, 1902.

    _The Sorcerers._ (With a new footnote.)

    _The Devil._ Originally appeared in _The Speaker_,
      April 19, 1902.

    _Happy and Unhappy Theologians._ Originally appeared in
      _The Speaker_, February 15, 1902.

    _The Last Gleeman._

    _Regina, Regina Pigmeorum Veni._ (With a new footnote.)

    ‘_And Fair, Fierce Women._’ Originally appeared in _The
      Speaker_, April 19, 1902.

    _Enchanted Woods._ Originally appeared in _The
      Speaker_, January 18, 1902.

    _Miraculous Creatures._ Originally appeared in _The
      Speaker_, April 26, 1902.

    _Aristotle of the Books._ Originally appeared in _The
      Speaker_, April 19, 1902.

    _The Swine of the Gods._ Originally appeared in _The
      Speaker_, April 19, 1902.

    _A Voice._ Originally appeared in _The Speaker_, April
      19, 1902.

    _Kidnappers._ (With a new footnote.)

    _The Untiring Ones._ (With a new footnote.)

    _Earth, Fire and Water._ Originally appeared in _The
      Speaker_, March 15, 1902.

    _The Old Town._ Originally appeared in _The Speaker_,
      March 15, 1902.

    _The Man and his Boots._

    _A Coward._

    _The Three O’Byrnes and the Evil Faeries._

    _Drumcliffe and Rosses._

    _The Thick Skull of the Fortunate._ I. 1893. II. 1902.

    _The Religion of a Sailor._

    _Concerning the nearness together of Heaven, Earth and
      Purgatory._ 1892 and 1902.

    _The Eaters of Precious Stones._

    _Our Lady of the Hills._

    _The Golden Age._

    _A Remonstrance with Scotsmen for having soured the
      disposition of their Ghosts and Faeries._

    _War._ Originally appeared in _The Speaker_, March 15,
      1902.

    _The Queen and the Fool._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _The Fool of Faery_, in _The Kensington_,
      June, 1901.

    _The Friends of the People of Faery._ Originally
      appeared as part of an essay, _The Tribes of Danu_,
      in _The New Review_, November, 1897.

    _Dreams that have no moral._

    _By the Roadside._ Originally appeared in _An Claideamh
      Soluis_, July 13, 1901.

    _Into the Twilight._

Cathleen ni Hoolihan | A Play in One Act and | in Prose by W. B. Yeats
| (ornament) [in red] | Printed at the Caradoc | Press Chiswick for A.
H. | Bullen 18 Cecil Court Lon | don MDCCCCII

Pott 8vo, pp. vi (blank) and 34. Paper boards with leather back.
Printed in red and black.

_Cathleen ni Hoolihan_ originally appeared in _Samhain_, 1902.



1903.


Ideas of Good and [in red] | Evil. [in red] By W. B. Yeats | A. H.
Bullen [in red] 47 Great Russell | Street, London, W.C. MCMIII

Cr. 8vo, pp. viii and 342. Paper boards with cloth back.


CONTENTS.

    _What is ‘Popular Poetry?’_ Originally appeared in _The
      Cornhill Magazine_, March, 1902.

    _Speaking to the Psaltery._ Originally appeared in _The
      Monthly Review_, May, 1902.

    _Magic._ Originally appeared in _The Monthly Review_,
      September, 1901.

    _The Happiest of the Poets._ Originally appeared in
      _The Fortnightly Review_, March, 1903.

    _The Philosophy of Shelley’s Poetry:_

      I. _His Ruling Ideas._ Originally appeared in _The
        Dome_, July, 1900.

      II. _His Ruling Symbols._

_At Stratford-on-Avon._ Originally appeared in _The Speaker_, May 11
and 18, 1901.

_William Blake and the Imagination._ Originally appeared under the
title _William Blake_, in _The Academy_, June 19, 1897.

_William Blake and his Illustrations to the Divine Comedy:_

      I. _His Opinions upon Art._ Originally appeared in
        _The Savoy_, July, 1896.

      II. _His Opinions upon Dante._ Originally appeared in
        _The Savoy_, August, 1896.

      III. _The Illustrations of Dante._ Originally
        appeared in _The Savoy_, September, 1896.

_Symbolism in Painting._ Originally appeared as part of the
introduction to _A Book of Images_, 1898.

_The Symbolism of Poetry._ Originally appeared in _The Dome_, April,
1900.

_The Theatre._ The first section of this essay originally appeared in
_The Dome_, April, 1899. The second originally appeared as part of an
essay, _The Irish Literary Theatre_, 1900, in _The Dome_, Jan., 1900.

_The Celtic Element in Literature._ The first section of this essay
originally appeared in _Cosmopolis_, June, 1898.

_The Autumn of the Body._ For original appearance see _The Autumn of
the Flesh_ in _Literary Ideals in Ireland_.

_The Moods._ Originally appeared as part of one of a series of articles
on _Irish National Literature_, in _The Bookman_, August, 1895.

_The Body of the Father Christian Rosencrux._ Originally appeared as
part of one of a series of articles on _Irish National Literature_, in
_The Bookman_, September, 1895.

_The Return of Ulysses._ Originally appeared, under the title _Mr.
Robert Bridges_, in _The Bookman_, June, 1897.

_Ireland and the Arts._ Originally appeared in _The United Irishman_,
August 31, 1901.

_The Galway Plains._ Originally appeared, under the title _Poets and
Dreamers_, in _The New Liberal Review_, March, 1903.

_Emotion of Multitude._


Where There is Nothing: | being Volume One of Plays | for an Irish
Theatre: by | W. B. Yeats | London: A. H. Bullen, 47, Great | Russell
Street, W.C. 1903.

Cr. 8vo, pp. xii and 132. Paper boards with cloth back.


CONTENTS.

    _Dedication of Volumes One and Two of Plays for an
      Irish Theatre._

    _Where There is Nothing._ Originally appeared as
      a supplement to _The United Irishman_, Samhain,
      (Autumn) 1902.


In the Seven Woods: being poems | chiefly of the Irish Heroic Age | By
William Butler Yeats | The Dun Emer Press | Dundrum | MCMIII

8vo, pp. viii [unnumbered, i-iv blank] and 68 [the last four blank].
Linen with paper label. The book printed in red and black.


CONTENTS.

    _In the Seven Woods._

    _The Old Age of Queen Maeve._ Originally appeared in
      _The Fortnightly Review_, April, 1903.

    _Baile and Aillinn._ Originally appeared in _The
      Monthly Review_, July, 1902.

    _The Arrow._

    _The Folly of Being Comforted._ Originally appeared in
      _The Speaker_, January 11, 1902.

    _The Withering of the Boughs._ Originally appeared,
      under the title _Echtge of Streams_, in _The
      Speaker_, August 25, 1900.

    _Adam’s Curse._ Originally appeared in _The Monthly
      Review_, December, 1902.

    _The Song of Red Hanrahan._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _Cathleen, Daughter of Hoolihan_, in _A
      Broadsheet_, April, 1903.

    _The Old Men admiring themselves in the Water._
      Originally appeared in _The Pall Mall Magazine_,
      January, 1903.

    _Under the Moon._ Originally appeared in _The Speaker_,
      June 15, 1901.

    _The Players ask for a Blessing on the Psalteries and
      themselves._

    _The Rider from the North._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _The Happy Townland_, in _The Weekly
      Critical Review_, June, 1903.

    _On Baile’s Strand, a Play._

    Edition limited to 325 copies.


The Hour-Glass | a Morality | By | W. B. Yeats | London | Wm.
Heinemann, 21 Bedford St., W.C. | 1903

    Demy 8vo, pp. 16 [the last two blank].

    _The Hour-Glass_ originally appeared in _The North
      American Review_, September, 1903.

A few copies only of this edition were printed, for purposes of
copyright.



1904.


The Hour-Glass, Cathleen | ni Hoolihan, The Pot of | Broth: Being
Volume Two of | Plays for an Irish Theatre: | By W. B. Yeats | London:
A. H. Bullen, 47, Great | Russell Street, W.C. 1904.

Cr. 8vo, pp. viii and 84. Paper boards with cloth back.


CONTENTS.

    _The Hour-Glass: A Morality._ For original appearance
      see above, under date 1903.

    _Cathleen ni Hoolihan._ For original appearance see
      above, under date 1902.

    _The Pot of Broth._

    _Note on the Music._


The King’s Threshold: and | On Baile’s Strand: Being | Volume Three of
Plays | for an Irish Theatre: By | W. B. Yeats | London: A. H. Bullen,
47, Great | Russell Street, W.C. 1904.

Cr. 8vo, pp. viii and 120. Paper boards with cloth back.


CONTENTS.

    _Note._

    _A Prologue._ Originally appeared in _The United
      Irishman_, September 9, 1903.

[The Prologue, which was accidentally dropped from later editions, ran
thus:—

A PROLOGUE.[H]

    _An _Old Man_ with a red dressing-gown, red slippers
      and red night-cap, holding a brass candlestick with a
      guttering candle in it, comes on from side of stage
      and goes in front of the dull green curtain._

_Old Man._ I’ve got to speak the prologue. [_He shuffles on a few
steps._] My nephew, who is one of the play actors, came to me, and I
in my bed, and my prayers said, and the candle put out, and he told me
there were so many characters in this new play, that all the company
were in it, whether they had been long or short at the business, and
that there wasn’t one left to speak the prologue. Wait a bit, there’s a
draught here. [_He pulls the curtain closer together._] That’s better.
And that’s why I am here, and maybe I’m a fool for my pains.

And my nephew said, there are a good many plays to be played for you,
some to-night and some on other nights through the winter, and the most
of them are simple enough, and tell out their story to the end. But as
to the big play you are to see to-night, my nephew taught me to say
what the poet had taught him to say about it. [_Puts down candlestick
and puts right finger on left thumb._] First, he who told the story of
Seanchan on King Guaire’s threshold long ago in the old books told it
wrongly, for he was a friend of the king, or maybe afraid of the king,
and so he put the king in the right. But he that tells the story now,
being a poet, has put the poet in the right.

And then [_touches other finger_] I am to say: Some think it would be a
finer tale if Seanchan had died at the end of it, and the king had the
guilt at his door, for that might have served the poet’s cause better
in the end. But that is not true, for if he that is in the story but
a shadow and an image of poetry had not risen up from the death that
threatened him, the ending would not have been true and joyful enough
to be put into the voices of players and proclaimed in the mouths of
trumpets, and poetry would have been badly served. [_He takes up the
candlestick again._

And as to what happened Seanchan after, my nephew told me he didn’t
know, and the poet didn’t know, and it’s likely there’s nobody that
knows. But my nephew thinks he never sat down at the king’s table
again, after the way he had been treated, but that he went to some
quiet green place in the hills with Fedelm, his sweetheart, where the
poor people made much of him because he was wise, and where he made
songs and poems, and it’s likely enough he made some of the old songs
and the old poems the poor people on the hillsides are saying and
singing to-day. [_A trumpet-blast._

Well, it’s time for me to be going. That trumpet means that the curtain
is going to rise, and after a while the stage there will be filled up
with great ladies and great gentlemen, and poets, and a king with a
crown on him, and all of them as high up in themselves with the pride
of their youth and their strength and their fine clothes as if there
was no such thing in the world as cold in the shoulders, and speckled
shins, and the pains in the bones and the stiffness in the joints that
make an old man that has the whole load of the world on him ready for
his bed.

    [_He begins to shuffle away, and then stops._

And it would be better for me, that nephew of mine to be thinking less
of his play-acting, and to have remembered to boil down the knap-weed
with a bit of threepenny sugar, for me to be wetting my throat with now
and again through the night, and drinking a sup to ease the pains in my
bones.

    [_He goes out at side of stage._]

    _The King’s Threshold._

    _On Baile’s Strand._ Originally appeared in _In the
      Seven Woods_, 1903.

Stories of Red Hanrahan by | William Butler Yeats | The Dun Emer Press
| Dundrum MCMIV

8vo, pp. viii [unnumbered, i-ii blank] and 64 [last seven blank].
Paper boards with linen back, paper labels on front and side. The book
printed in red and black; woodcut under Table of Contents on p. viii.


CONTENTS.

    _Red Hanrahan._ Originally appeared in _The Independent
      Review_, December, 1903.

    _The Twisting of the Rope._

    _Hanrahan and Cathleen the daughter of Hoolihan._

    _Red Hanrahan’s Curse._

    _Hanrahan’s Vision._ Originally appeared, under
      the title _Red Hanrahan’s Vision_, in _McClure’s
      Magazine_, March, 1905.

    _The Death of Hanrahan._

Edition limited to 500 copies.

These stories are a re-telling in simpler language of some of the
stories in _The Secret Rose_.



1906.


Poems, 1899-1905 [in red] | By W. B. Yeats | London: A. H. Bullen |
Dublin: Maunsel & Co., | Ltd. | 1906.

Cr. 8vo, pp. xvi and 280. Cloth.


CONTENTS.

    _Preface._ [Dated _In the Seven Woods_, 18 May, 1906.]

    _I walked among the seven woods of Coole._[I]

    _The Harp of Aengus._[I]

    _The Shadowy Waters._ [A new version.]

    _On Baile’s Strand._ [A new version.] _The Song of the
      Women_ (pp. 102-104) originally appeared, under the
      title _Against Witchcraft_, in _The Shanachie_ [No.
      I., Spring, 1906].

    _In the Seven Woods_:

      _In the Seven Woods._[J]

      _The Old Age of Queen Maeve._[J]

      _Baile and Aillinn._[J]

      _The Arrow._[J]

      _The Folly of being Comforted._[J]

      _Old Memory._ Originally appeared in _Wayfarer’s
        Love_, 1904.

      _Never Give all the Heart._ Originally appeared in
        _McClure’s Magazine_, December, 1905.

      _The Withering of the Boughs._[I]

      _Adam’s Curse._[I]

      _The Song of Red Hanrahan._[I]

      _The Old Men admiring themselves in the Water._[I]

      _Under the Moon._[I]

      _The Players ask for a Blessing on the Psalteries and
        themselves._[I]

      _The Happy Townland._[I]

      _The Entrance of Deirdre._ Two verses of this poem
        originally appeared, under the title _Queen
        Edaine_, in _McClure’s Magazine_, September, 1905,
        and the whole poem under the title _The Praise of
        Deirdre_, in _The Shanachie_ [No. I., Spring, 1906].

_The King’s Threshold._ [A new version.]

_Notes._



1907.


The Shadowy Waters, | By W. B. Yeats. | Acting Version, | As first
played at the Abbey Theatre, December 8th, 1906. | A. H. Bullen, | 47
Great Russell Street, London, W.C. | 1907.

Cr. 8vo, pp. 28. Green paper cover.

This is a slightly different version from that printed in _Poems_,
1899-1905.

Deirdre By W. B. Yeats | Being Volume Five of Plays | for an Irish
Theatre | London: A. H. Bullen | Dublin: Maunsel & Co., Ltd. | 1907.

Cr. 8vo, pp. viii and 48. Paper boards with cloth back.


CONTENTS.

    _Deirdre._ For original appearance of the song _Why is
      it, Queen Edain said_, see _The Entrance of Deirdre_,
      in _Poems_, 1899-1905.

    _Note._

Discoveries; A Volume of Essays | By William Butler Yeats. | (Woodcut)
| Dun Emer Press | Dundrum | MCMVII

8vo, pp. xvi [unnumbered, i-xi blank] and 56 [the last eleven blank].
Paper boards with linen back. The book printed in red and black.


CONTENTS.

    _Prophet, Priest and King._

    _Personality and the Intellectual Essences._

    _The Musician and the Orator._

    _A Banjo Player._

    _The Looking-glass._

      These five chapters appeared, under the general title
        _My Thoughts and my Second Thoughts_, in _The
        Gentleman’s Magazine_, September, 1906.

_The Tree of Life._

_The Praise of Old Wives’ Tales._

_The Play of Modern Manners._

_Has the Drama of Contemporary Life a Root of its Own?_

_Why the Blind Man in Ancient Times was made a Poet._

      These five chapters appeared, under the general
        title _My Thoughts and my Second Thoughts_, in The
        Gentleman’s Magazine, October, 1906.

_Concerning Saints and Artists._

_The Subject Matter of Drama._

_The Two Kinds of Asceticism._

_In the Serpent’s Mouth._

_The Black and the White Arrows._

_His Mistress’s Eyebrows._

_The Tresses of the Hair._

      These seven chapters appeared, under the general
        title _My Thoughts and my Second Thoughts_, in _The
        Gentleman’s Magazine,_ November, 1906.

_A Tower on the Apennine._

_The Thinking of the Body._

_Religious Belief necessary to symbolic Art._

_The Holy Places._

      These four chapters appeared, under the general title
        _Discoveries_, in The _Shanachie_, Autumn, 1907.

Edition limited to 200 copies.



1908.


The Collected Works in Verse and Prose of William Butler Yeats.
Imprinted at the Shakespeare Head Press, Stratford-on-Avon, MCMVIII.

Eight volumes. Demy 8vo. Quarter vellum back with grey linen sides.
With portraits by John S. Sargent, R.A., Signor Mancini, Charles
Shannon and J. B. Yeats.


VOLUME I.


CONTENTS.

    _The Wind Among the Reeds._

    _The Old Age of Queen Maeve._

    _Baile and Aillinn._

    _In the Seven Woods._

    _Ballads and Lyrics._

    _The Rose._

    _The Wanderings of Oisin._

    _Notes._

A few poems have been moved from _The Wind Among the Reeds_ to _Ballads
and Lyrics_ and _The Rose_. Two poems are added to _In the Seven
Woods_. These are:—

    _The Hollow Wood._ Originally appeared in _The Twisting
      of the Rope_ in _Stories of Red Hanrahan_, 1904.

    _O do not love too long._ Originally appeared in _The
      Acorn_, October, 1905.


VOLUME II.

    _The King’s Threshold._

    _On Baile’s Strand._

    _Deirdre._

    _The Shadowy Waters._

    _Appendix I: Acting Version of ‘The Shadowy Waters.’_

    _Appendix II: A different version of Deirdre’s
      entrance._

    _Appendix III: The Legendary and Mythological
      Foundation of the Plays._

    _Appendix IV_: The Dates and Places of Performance of
      Plays.


VOLUME III.

    _The Countess Cathleen._

    _The Land of Heart’s Desire._

    _The Unicorn from the Stars._ By Lady Gregory and W. B.
      Yeats.

    _Appendix: The Countess Cathleen._

    _Notes._

    _Music_ by Florence Farr and others.


VOLUME IV.

    _The Hour-Glass._

    _Cathleen ni Houlihan._

    _The Golden Helmet._

    _The Irish Dramatic Movement._ Under this title are
      printed the greater part of Mr. Yeats’s contributions
      to _Samhain_, 1901-1906, and to _The Arrow_,
      1906-1907, and two essays, _An Irish National
      Theatre_ and _The Theatre, the Pulpit, and the
      Newspapers_, which originally appeared in _The United
      Irishman_, October 10 and 17, 1903.

    _Appendix I: ‘The Hour-Glass.’_

    _Appendix II: ‘Cathleen ni Hoolihan.’_

    _Appendix III: ‘The Golden Helmet.’_

    _Appendix IV_: Dates and Places of the First
      Performance of New Plays produced by the National
      Theatre Society and its predecessors.


VOLUME V.

    _The Celtic Twilight._

    _Stories of Red Hanrahan._


VOLUME VI.

    _Ideas of Good and Evil._


VOLUME VII.

    _The Secret Rose._

[The _Red Hanrahan_ stories are here omitted from _The Secret Rose_ as
the later versions of them appear in Volume V. Two other stories which
appeared in the volume of 1897 are also omitted.]

    _Rosa Alchemica._

    _The Tables of the Law._

    _The Adoration of the Magi._

    _John Sherman._ With a new Preface.

    _Dhoya._


VOLUME VIII.

    _Discoveries._

    _Edmund Spenser._ Originally appeared as the
      introduction to _Poems of Spenser_, 1906.

    _Poetry and Tradition._

    _Modern Irish Poetry._ Originally appeared as the
      introduction to _A Book of Irish Verse_, 1895.

    _Lady Gregory’s Cuchulain of Muirthemne._ Originally
      appeared as the preface to _Cuchulain of Muirthemne_,
      1902.

    _Lady Gregory’s Gods and Fighting Men._ Originally
      appeared as the preface to _Gods and Fighting Men_,
      1904.

    _Mr. Synge and his Plays._ Originally appeared as the
      introduction to _The Well of the Saints_, 1905.

    _Lionel Johnson._ For original appearance see _A
      Treasury of Irish Poetry_, 1900.

    _The Pathway._ Originally appeared, under the title
      _The Way of Wisdom_, in _The Speaker_, April 14, 1900.



PART II.

BOOKS EDITED OR CONTRIBUTED TO BY W. B. YEATS.



1888.


Poems and Ballads | of | Young Ireland | 1888 | “We’re one at heart if
you be Ireland’s friend, | Though leagues asunder our opinions tend; |
There are but two great parties in the end.”| Allingham. | Dublin | M.
H. Gill and Son | O’Connell Street | 1888

Fcap. 8vo, pp. viii and 80. White buckram.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _The Stolen Child_, pp. 12-14.

    _King Goll_ (_Third Century_), pp. 43-46. Originally
      appeared in _The Leisure Hour_, September, 1887.

    _The Meditation of the Old Fisherman_, p. 59.
      Originally appeared in _The Irish Monthly_, October,
      1886.

    _Love Song._ _From the Gaelic_, p. 80.

Fairy and Folk Tales | of the Irish Peasantry: | Edited and Selected
by | W. B. Yeats. London: | Walter Scott, 24 Warwick Lane. | New York:
Thomas Whittaker | Toronto: W. J. Gage and Co. | 1888

Sm. cr. 8vo, pp. xx and 326. Cloth. A volume of _The Camelot Series_
(afterwards _The Scott Library_).

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _Introduction_, pp. ix-xviii.

    _The Trooping Fairies_, pp. 1-3.

    _Notes_ on pp. 16, 33, 38.

    _Changelings_, p. 47.

    _The Stolen Child_, pp. 59-60. Reprinted from _Poems
      and Ballads of Young Ireland_, 1888.

    _The Merrow_, p. 61.

    _The Solitary Fairies_, pp. 80-81.

    _The Pooka_, p. 94.

    _The Banshee_, p. 108.

    _Ghosts_, pp. 128-129.

    _Witches, Fairy Doctors_, pp. 146-149.

    _Note_ on p. 150.

    _Tir-na-n-Og_, p. 200.

    _Saints, Priests_, p. 214.

    _The Priest of Coloony_, pp. 220-221.

    _Giants_, p. 260.

    _Notes_, pp. 319-326.

1893. Illustrated Edition.

Irish | Fairy and Folk Tales | Selected and Edited | with introduction
| by W. B. Yeats. | Twelve Illustrations by James Torrance. | London:
Walter Scott, Ltd. | 24 Warwick Lane.

Cr. 8vo, pp. xx and 326. Cloth.



1889.


Stories from Carleton: | With an introduction | by W. B. Yeats. |
London: Walter Scott, 24 Warwick Lane. | New York and Toronto: | W. J.
Gage & Co.

Sm. cr. 8vo, pp. xx and 302. Cloth. A volume of _The Camelot Classics_
(afterwards _The Scott Library_).

Mr. Yeats’s Introduction includes pp. ix-xvii.



1890.


Representative | Irish Tales | Compiled, with an Introduction and Notes
| by | W. B. Yeats | First [Second] Series | (Ornament) | New York and
London | G. P. Putnam’s Sons | The Knickerbocker Press [Entire title
printed on a yellow ground and enclosed within a red line border.]

32mo. Vol. I., pp. vi and 340. Vol. II., pp. iv and 356. Decorated
boards with cloth backs.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—


VOLUME I.

    _Dedication._ “There was a green branch hung with many
      a bell.” Pp. iii-iv.

    _Introduction_, pp. 1-17.

    _Maria Edgeworth_, pp. 19-24.

    _John and Michael Banim_, pp. 141-150.

    _William Carleton_, pp. 191-196.


VOLUME II.

    _Samuel Lover_, pp. 1-3.

    _William Maginn_, pp. 91-92.

    _T. Crofton Croker_, pp. 129-130.

    _Gerald Griffin_, pp. 161-164.

    _Charles Lever_, pp. 205-209.

    _Charles Kickham_, pp. 243-245.

    _Miss Rosa Mulholland_, p. 281.

    _Note_, p. 331.



1892.


Irish | Fairy Tales | edited | with an introduction | by | W. B. Yeats
| author of ‘The Wanderings of Oisin,’ etc. | Illustrated by Jack B.
Yeats | London | T. Fisher Unwin | 1892

Fcap. 8vo, pp. viii and 236. Cloth. A volume of _The Children’s
Library_.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    Poem. ‘_Where my books go._’ (Dated London, Jan.,
      1892.) P. v.

    _Introduction. ‘An Irish Story-teller.’_ (Dated
      Clondalkin, July, 1891.) Pp. 1-7.

    _Note_ on pp. 8-9.

    _Appendix. Classification of Irish Fairies._ (Dated Co.
      Down, June, 1891.) Pp. 223-233.

    _Authorities of Irish Folklore_, pp. 234-236.

The Book | of the | Rhymers’ Club | (Press mark) | London | Elkin
Mathews | At the Sign of the Bodley Head | in Vigo Street | 1892 | All
rights reserved

Royal 16mo, pp. xvi and 94. Paper boards.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _A Man who dreamed of Fairyland_, pp. 7-9. Originally
      appeared in _The National Observer_, February 7, 1891.

    _Father Gilligan_, pp. 38-40. Originally appeared in
      _The Scots Observer_, July 5, 1890.

    _Dedication of ‘Irish Tales,’_ pp. 54-55. Originally
      appeared in _Representative Irish Tales_, 1890.

    _A Fairy Song_, p. 71. Originally appeared in _The
      National Observer_, September 12, 1891.

    _The Lake Isle of Innisfree_, p. 84. Originally
      appeared in _The National Observer_, Dec. 13, 1890.

    _An Epitaph_, p. 88. Originally appeared in _The
      National Observer_, December 12, 1891.

The | Poets [in red] | and the | Poetry [in red] | of the | Century [in
red] | Charles Kingsley | to | James Thomson | Edited by [in red] |
Alfred H. Miles [in red] | Hutchinson & Co. | 25, Paternoster Square,
London

Post 8vo, pp. xx and 652. Cloth.

Mr. Yeats contributes a note on William Allingham, pp. 209-212.

The | Poets [in red] | and the | Poetry [in red] | of the | Century
[in red] | Joanna Baillie | to | Mathilde Blind | Edited by [in red]
| Alfred H. Miles [in red] | Hutchinson & Co. 25, Paternoster Square,
London

Post 8vo, pp. xvi and 640. Cloth.

Mr. Yeats contributes a note on Ellen O’Leary, pp. 449-452.



1893.


The Works | of | William Blake | Poetic, Symbolic, and Critical |
Edited with Lithographs of the Illustrated | “Prophetic Books,” and
a Memoir | and Interpretation | by | Edwin John Ellis | Author of
“Fate in Arcadia,” &c. | and | William Butler Yeats | Author of “The
Wanderings of Oisin,” “The Countess Kathleen,” &c. | “Bring me to the
test | And I the matter will reword, which madness | Would gambol from”
| Hamlet | In Three Vols. | Vol. I. [II. III.] | London | Bernard
Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly | 1893 | [All Rights Reserved]

Three volumes. Royal 8vo. Cloth.

The Poems | of | William Blake [in red] | Edited by | W. B. Yeats. |
(Press mark of Lawrence and Bullen)

              London:             |              New York:
    in] Lawrence and Bullen [red  |  in] Charles Scribner’s Sons [red
      16 Henrietta Street, W.C.   |          743 & 745 Broadway
               1893.              |                1893.

18mo, pp. liv and 252. Cloth. A volume of _The Muses’ Library_.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _Introduction_, pp. xv-liv.

    _Notes_, pp. 235-251.



1894.


The Second Book | of | The Rhymers’ Club | London: Elkin Mathews & John
Lane | New York: Dodd, Mead & Company | 1894 | All rights reserved

Royal 16mo, pp. xvi and 136. Cloth.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _The Rose in my Heart_, p. 11. Originally appeared in
      _The National Observer_, November 12, 1892.

    _The Folk of the Air_, pp. 37-39. Originally appeared,
      under the title _The Stolen Bride_, in _The Bookman_,
      November, 1893.

    _The Fiddler of Dooney_, pp. 68-69. Originally appeared
      in _The Bookman_, December, 1892.

    _A Mystical Prayer to the Masters of the
      Elements—Finvarra, Feacra, and Caolte_, pp. 91-92.
      Originally appeared, under the title _A Mystical
      Prayer to the Masters of the Elements, Michael,
      Gabriel, and Raphael_, in _The Bookman_, October,
      1892.

    _The Cap and Bells_, pp. 108-109. Originally appeared,
      under the title _Cap and Bell_, in _The National
      Observer_, March 17, 1894.

    _The Song of the Old Mother_, p. 126. Originally
      appeared in _The Bookman_, April, 1894.



1895.


A Book of | Irish Verse | Selected from modern writers | with an
introduction | and notes | by W. B. Yeats | Methuen & Co | 36 Essex
Street, W.C. | London | 1895.

Cr. 8vo, pp. xxviii and 260. Linen.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _Introduction._ (Dated August 5, 1894.) Pp. xi-xxvii.

    _Acknowledgment_, p. xxviii.

    _Notes_, pp. 250-257.

1900. Revised edition.

This contains a new Preface, dated August 15, 1899, and the
introduction much revised and now entitled _Modern Irish Poetry_. The
selection of poetry is also revised.



1898.


A Book of Images | Drawn by W. T. | Horton & Intro-|duced by W. B.
Yeats| London at the Unicorn | Press VII Cecil Court St. | Martin’s
Lane MDCCCXCVIII

Fcap. 4to, pp. 62. Cloth. Number II. of _The Unicorn Quartos_.

Mr. Yeats’s Introduction includes pp. 7-16.



1899.


Literary | Ideals in | Ireland. | By John Eglinton; | W. B. Yeats | A.
E.; | W. Larminie. | Published by T. Fisher Unwin, London. | And at the
Daily Express Office, Dublin.

Long 8vo, pp. ii and 88. Paper covers.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _A Note on National Drama_, pp. 17-20. Originally
      appeared, as part of an essay under the title _The
      Poems and Stories of Miss Nora Hopper_, in _The
      Dublin Daily Express_, September 24, 1898.

    _John Eglinton and Spiritual Art_, pp. 31-37.
      Originally appeared in _The Dublin Daily Express_,
      October 29, 1898.

    _The Autumn of the Flesh_, pp. 69-75. Originally
      appeared in _The Dublin Daily Express_, December 3,
      1898.



1899.-1900.


Beltaine. An Occasional Publication. Edited by W. B. Yeats.

    No. 1. May, 1899.

    Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

      _Plans and Methods_, pp. 6-9. Some of these notes
        originally appeared as part of an essay _The Irish
        Literary Theatre_, in _The Dublin Daily Express_,
        January 14, 1899.

      Two lyrics, reprinted from _The Countess Cathleen_.

      _The Theatre._ Originally appeared in _The Dome_,
        April, 1899.

No. 2. February, 1900.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

      _Plans and Methods_, pp. 3-6.

      _‘Maive’ and certain Irish Beliefs_, pp. 14-17.

      _Footnote_ on p. 21.

      _The Irish Literary Theatre_, 1900, pp. 22-24.
        Originally appeared in _The Dome_, January, 1900.

No. 3. April, 1900.

This number contained only an essay by Mr. Yeats entitled _‘The Last
Feast of the Fianna,’ ‘Maive,’ and ‘The Bending of the Bough’ in
Dublin_.

These three numbers were afterwards issued in one volume, with the
wrappers and advertisements bound in, by the Unicorn Press in 1900.



1900.


A Treasury | of | Irish Poetry | in the | English Tongue | edited by |
Stopford A. Brooke | and | T. W. Rolleston | London | Smith, Elder, &
Co., 15 Waterloo Place | 1900 | All rights reserved

Cr. 8vo, pp. xliv and 580. Cloth.

Mr. Yeats contributes notes on:—

    _Lionel Johnson_, pp. 465-467. Originally appeared,
      under the title _Mr. Lionel Johnson and certain Irish
      Poets_, in _The Dublin Daily Express_, Aug. 27, 1898.

    _Nora Hopper_, pp. 471-473. Originally appeared as
      part of an essay _The Poems and Stories of Miss Nora
      Hopper_, in _The Dublin Daily Express_, September 24,
      1898.

    _Althea Gyles_, p. 475.

    _A.E._, pp. 485-487. Originally appeared under the
      title _The Poetry of A.E._, in _The Dublin Daily
      Express_, September 3, 1898.

The book also reprints the following poems:—

    _The Hosting of the Sidhe._

    _Michael Robartes remembers Forgotten Beauty._

    _The Rose of the World._

    _The Lake Isle of Innisfree._

    _When you are Old._

    _A Dream of a Blessed Spirit._

    _The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner._

    _The Two Trees._

    _The Island of Sleep._ (A passage from _The Wanderings
      of Oisin_.)



1901.


Ideals in | Ireland | Edited by Lady Gregory | Written by “A.E.,” D. P.
| Moran, George Moore, | Douglas Hyde, Standish | O’Grady, and W. B.
Yeats | London: At the Unicorn | VII Cecil Court MDCCCCI

Cr. 8vo, pp. 108. Cloth.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _The Literary Movement in Ireland_, pp. 87-102.
      Originally appeared in _The North American Review_,
      December, 1899.

    _A Postscript_, pp. 105-107.

Samhain Edited | for the Irish Literary Theatre | by W. B. Yeats. |
Published in October 1901 by | Sealy Bryers & Walker and | by T. Fisher
Unwin.

Fcap. 4to, pp. 40. Brown paper covers.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _Windlestraws_, pp. 3-10.

    _Footnote_ on p. 12.



1902.


Cuchulain of Muirthemne: | The Story of the Men of | The Red Branch
of Ulster | Arranged and put into | English by Lady Gregory. | With a
Preface by W. B. Yeats | London | John Murray, Albemarle Street | 1902.

Large Cr. 8vo, pp. xx and 364. Cloth.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _Preface._ (Dated March, 1902.) Pp. vii-xvii.

    _Note on the Conversation of Cuchulain and Emer_, pp.
      351-353.

Samhain: An occasional | review edited by W. B. Yeats. | Published in
October 1902 by | Sealy Bryers & Walker and | by T. Fisher Unwin.

Fcap. 4to, pp. 32. Brown paper covers.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _Notes_, pp. 3-10.

    _Cathleen ni Hoolihan_, pp. 24-31.



1903.


Samhain: An occasional | review edited by W. B. Yeats. | Published in
September 1903 | by Sealy Bryers & Walker | and by T. Fisher Unwin.

Fcap. 4to, pp. 36. Brown paper covers.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _Notes_, pp. 3-8.

    _The Reform of the Theatre_, pp. 9-12. Part of this
      essay originally appeared in _The United Irishman_,
      April 4, 1903.



1904.


Gods and Fighting Men: | The Story of the Tuatha de | Danaan and of the
Fianna | of Ireland, arranged and | put into English by Lady | Gregory.
With a preface | by W. B. Yeats | London | John Murray, Albemarle
Street, W. | 1904

Large cr. 8vo, pp. xxviii and 480.

Mr. Yeats’s Preface includes pp. ix-xxiv.

Wayfarer’s Love | Contributions from Living Poets | edited by | The
Duchess of Sutherland. | Cover design by Mr. Walter Crane. | “Let
me take your hand for love and sing you a song, | said the other
traveller—the journey is a hard journey, but | if we hold together in
the morning and in the evening, | what matter if in the hours between
there is sorrow.” | Old Tale. | Westminster | Archibald Constable &
Co., Ltd. | 1904

Mr. Yeats contributes _Old Memory_, p. 37.

Samhain: An occasional | review edited by W. B. Yeats. | Published in
December 1904 | by Sealy Bryers & Walker | and by T. Fisher Unwin.

Fcap. 4to, pp. 56. Brown paper covers.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _The Dramatic Movement_, pp. 3-12.

    _First Principles_, pp. 12-24.

    _The Play, the Player, and the Scene_, pp. 24-33.

    _Footnote to ‘An Opinion,’_ p. 55.



1905.


Samhain: An occasional | review edited by W. B. Yeats. | Published in
November 1905 | by Maunsel & Co., Ltd., | and by A. H. Bullen.

Mr. Yeats contributes _Notes and Opinions_, pp. 3-14.

The Well of the Saints. | By J. M. Synge. With an intro- | duction by
W. B. Yeats. Be- | ing Volume Four of Plays | for an Irish Theatre |
London: A. H. Bullen, 47, Great | Russell Street, W.C. 1905.

Cr. 8vo, pp. xviii and 92. Paper boards with cloth back.

Mr. Yeats’s Introduction, _Mr. Synge and his Plays_, dated Abbey
Theatre, January 27, 1905, includes pp. v-xvii.



1906.


Poems | of | Spenser | Selected and with | an Introduction by | W. B.
Yeats. | T. C. & E. C. Jack. | Edinburgh. [The whole forms part of a
design by A. S. Hartrick.]

Sm. cr. 8vo, pp. xlviii and 292. Cloth.

Mr. Yeats’s Introduction includes pp. xiii-xlvii.

Samhain: An occasional | review edited by W. B. Yeats. | Published in
December 1906 | by Maunsel & Co., Ltd., | Dublin.

Fcap. 4to, pp. 40. Brown paper covers.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    _Notes_, p. 3.

    _Literature and the Living Voice_, pp. 4-14. Originally
      appeared in _The Contemporary Review_, October, 1906.



1906-7.


The Arrow. Edited by W. B. Yeats.

Mr. Yeats’s contributions are:—

    No. 1. October 20, 1906.

      _The Season’s Work._

      _A Note on The Mineral Workers._

      _Notes._

No. 2. November 24, 1906.

      _Notes._

      _Deirdre._ (A note.)

      _The Shadowy Waters._ (A note.)

No. 3. February 23, 1907.

      _The Controversy over ‘The Playboy.’_

      _Passages reprinted from the ‘Samhain’ of 1905._

      _Opening Speech at the debate of February 4 at the
        Abbey Theatre._

No. 4. June 1, 1907.

      _Notes._


NOTE.

The selections for the following books issued by the Dun Emer Press,
Dundrum, were made by Mr. Yeats, but the books contain no contributions
by him:—

    Twenty-one _Poems_ by Lionel Johnson, 1904.

    _Some Essays and Passages_ by John Eglinton, 1905.

    Sixteen _Poems_ by William Allingham, 1905.

    Twenty-one _Poems_ by Katherine Tynan, 1907.



PART III.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO PERIODICALS.

[This part gives a chronological list of Mr. Yeats’s contributions to
periodicals, including those that afterwards have been gathered into
books. It seemed better to risk a certain amount of repetition in
noting the later history of the collected writings than to set folk
astray with a misleading list of titles.]



1885.


    _The Island of Statues. An Arcadian Faery Tale. In Two
      Acts._ ‘The Dublin University Review,’ April-July.
      Reprinted under the title _Island of Statues_ in _The
      Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889.

    _Love and Death._ ‘The Dublin University Review,’ May.

    _The Seeker. A Dramatic Poem. In Two Scenes._ ‘The
      Dublin University Review,’ September. Reprinted,
      under the title _The Seeker_ in _The Wanderings of
      Oisin_, 1889.

    _An Epilogue. To The Island of Statues and The Seeker._
      ‘The Dublin University Review,’ October. Reprinted
      under the title _Song of the Last Arcadian_ in _The
      Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889. Also under the title _The
      Song of the Happy Shepherd_ in _Poems_, 1895; and in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.



1886.


    _In a Drawing Room._ (Unsigned.) ‘The Dublin University
      Review,’ January. Reprinted, as the sixth and second
      of _Quatrains and Aphorisms_ in _The Wanderings of
      Oisin_, 1889.

    _Life._ ‘The Dublin University Review,’ February. Five
      quatrains of which the first is reprinted as the
      first of _Quatrains and Aphorisms_ in _The Wanderings
      of Oisin_, 1889.

    _The Two Titans. A Political Poem._ ‘The Dublin
      University Review,’ March.

    _On Mr. Nettleship’s Picture at the Royal Hibernian
      Academy._ ‘The Dublin University Review,’ April.
      Reprinted in _The Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889.

    _Mosada._ ‘The Dublin University Review,’ June.
      Reprinted in pamphlet form, 1886. Also in _The
      Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889.

    _Remembrance._ ‘The Irish Monthly,’ July.

    _Miserrimus._ ‘The Dublin University Review,’ October.
      Reprinted in _The Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889. Also,
      under the title _The Sad Shepherd_ in _Poems_, 1895;
      and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _From the Book of Kauri the Indian—Section V. On the
      Nature of God._ (Unsigned.) ‘The Dublin University
      Review,’ October. Reprinted, under the title _Kanva,
      the Indian, on God_ in _The Wanderings of Oisin_,
      1889. Also, under the title _The Indian upon God_ in
      _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Meditation of an Old Fisherman._ ‘The Irish Monthly,’
      October. Reprinted in _Poems and Ballads of Young
      Ireland_, 1888. Also in _The Wanderings of Oisin_,
      1889; _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. I.

    _The Poetry of Sir Samuel Ferguson._ ‘The Irish
      Fireside,’ October 9.

    _The Poetry of Sir Samuel Ferguson._ ‘The Dublin
      University Review,’ November.

    _The Poetry of R. D. Joyce._ ‘The Irish Fireside,’
      November 27 and December 4.

    _The Stolen Child._ ‘The Irish Monthly,’ December.
      Reprinted in _Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland_,
      1888. Also in _Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish
      Peasantry_, 1888; _The Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889;
      _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _An Indian Song._ ‘The Dublin University Review,’
      December. Reprinted in _The Wanderings of Oisin_,
      1889. Also, under the title _The Indian to his Love_
      in _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      I.



1887.


    _A Dawn-Song._ ‘The Irish Fireside,’ February 5.

    _The Fairy Pedant._ ‘The Irish Monthly,’ March.
      Reprinted in _The Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889.

    _Clarence Mangan._ ‘The Irish Fireside,’ March 12.

    _Miss Tynan’s New Book._ ‘The Irish Fireside,’ July 9.

    _King Goll. An Irish Legend._ ‘The Leisure Hour,’
      September. Reprinted in _Poems and Ballads of Young
      Ireland_, 1888. Also in _The Wanderings of Oisin_,
      1889; _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. I.

    _She who Dwelt among the Sycamores._ ‘The Irish
      Monthly,’ September. Reprinted in _The Wanderings of
      Oisin_, 1889.

    _The Fairy Doctor._ ‘The Irish Fireside,’ September,
      10. Reprinted in _The Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889.



1889.


    _Scots and Irish Fairies._ ‘The Scots Observer,’ March
      2. Reprinted, under the title, _A Remonstrance with
      Scotsmen for having Soured the disposition of their
      Ghosts and Faeries_, in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1893
      and 1902; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _Village Ghosts._ ‘The Scots Observer,’ May 11.
      Reprinted in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902;
      and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _Kidnappers._ ‘The Scots Observer,’ June 15. Reprinted
      in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _Columkille and Rosses._ ‘The Scots Observer,’ October
      5. Reprinted, under the title _Drumcliff and Rosses_
      in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _The Ballad of the Old Foxhunter._ ‘East and West,’
      November. Reprinted in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892.
      Also in _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. I.

    _Popular Ballad Poetry of Ireland._ ‘The Leisure Hour,’
      November.



1890.


    _Bardic Ireland._ ‘The Scots Observer,’ January 4.

    _Street Dancers._ ‘The Leisure Hour,’ March. This poem
      appeared in _The Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889.

    _Tales from the Twilight._ ‘The Scots Observer,’ March
      1.

    _A Cradle Song._ ‘The Scots Observer,’ April 19.
      Reprinted in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892. Also in
      _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Father Gilligan._ (_A Legend told by the People of
      Castleisland, Kerry._) ‘The Scots Observer,’ July 5.
      Reprinted in _The Book of the Rhymers’ Club_, 1892.
      Also in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892; _Poems_, 1895;
      and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Irish Fairies._ ‘The Leisure Hour,’ October. Reprinted
      in part, under the titles _Belief and Unbelief_,
      and _The Three O’Byrnes and the Evil Faeries_, in
      _The Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _Poetry and Science in Folk-Lore._ (A letter.) ‘The
      Academy,’ October 11.

    _The Old Pensioner._ ‘The Scots Observer,’ November 15.
      Reprinted in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892. Also in
      _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _The Lake Isle of Innisfree._ ‘The National Observer,’
      December 13. Reprinted in _The Book of the Rhymers’
      Club_, 1892. Also in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892;
      _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.



1891.


    _In the Firelight._ (A poem.) ‘The Leisure Hour,’ Feb.

    _A Man who dreamed of Fairyland._ ‘The National
      Observer,’ February 7. Reprinted in _The Book of
      the Rhymers’ Club_, 1892. Also in _The Countess
      Cathleen_, 1892; _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected
      Works_, Vol. I.

    _Irish Folk Tales._ ‘The National Observer,’ Feb. 28.

    _Some recent books by Irish Writers._ ‘The Boston
      Pilot,’ April 18.

    _Plays by an Irish Poet._ (The work of Dr. John
      Todhunter.) ‘United Ireland,’ July 11.

    _Clarence Mangan’s Love Affair._ ‘United Ireland,’
      August 22.

    _A Fairy Song._ ‘The National Observer,’ September 12.
      Reprinted in _The Book of the Rhymers’ Club_, 1892.
      Also in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892; _Poems_, 1895;
      and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _A Reckless Century. Irish Rakes and Duellists._
      ‘United Ireland,’ September 12.

    _A Ballad Singer._ ‘The Boston Pilot,’ September 12.

    _Oscar’s Wilde’s Last Book._ (Review of _Lord Arthur
      Savile’s Crime_.) ‘United Ireland,’ September 26.

    _An Irish Visionary._ ‘The National Observer,’ October
      3. Reprinted, under the title _A Visionary_, in
      _The Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _The Young Ireland League._ ‘United Ireland,’ Oct. 3.

    _Mourn—and then Onward._ (A poem.) ‘United Ireland,’
      October 10.

    _Kathleen._ ‘The National Observer,’ October 31.
      Reprinted, under the title _A Dream of a Blessed
      Spirit_ in _Poems_, 1895. Also in the _Collected
      Works_, Vol. I.

    _An Epitaph._ ‘The National Observer,’ December 12.
      Reprinted in _The Book of the Rhymers’ Club_, 1892;
      and in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892. Also under the
      title _A Dream of Death_ in _Poems_, 1895; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _A Poet we have neglected._ (William Allingham.)
      ‘United Ireland,’ December 12.



1892.


    _Rosa Mundi._ ‘The National Observer,’ January 2.
      Reprinted, under the title _The Rose of the World_,
      in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892. Also in _Poems_,
      1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _The New ‘Speranza.’_ (Miss Maud Gonne.) ‘United
      Ireland,’ January 16.

    _Dr. Todhunter’s Irish Poems._ (Review of _The
      Banshee_.) ‘United Ireland,’ January 23.

    _Clovis Huges on Ireland._ ‘United Ireland,’ Jan. 30.

    _The Peace of the Rose._ ‘The National Observer,’ Feb.
      13. Reprinted in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892. Also,
      under the title _The Rose of Peace_, in _Poems_,
      1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _The White Birds._ ‘The National Observer,’ May 7.
      Reprinted in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892. Also in
      _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Fergus and the Druid._ ‘The National Observer,’ May
      21. Reprinted in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892. Also
      in _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      I.

    _The Death of Cuchullin._ ‘United Ireland,’ June 11.
      Reprinted in _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892. Also in
      _Poems_, 1895; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    [Michael Field’s] _Sight and Song_. (A review.) ‘The
      Bookman,’ July.

    _The Irish Literary Society, London._ (A letter.)
      ‘United Ireland,’ July 30.

    _Dublin Scholasticism and Trinity College._ ‘United
      Ireland,’ July 30.

    _A New Poet._ (Review of _Fate in Arcadia_ by Edwin
      Ellis.) ‘The Bookman,’ September.

    _‘Noetry’ and Poetry._ (Review of Savage Armstrong’s
      collected verse.) ‘The Bookman,’ September.

    _The National Literary Society Libraries Scheme._ (A
      letter.) ‘United Ireland,’ September 24.

    _A Mystical Prayer to the Masters of the Elements,
      Michael, Gabriel and Raphael._ ‘The Bookman,’ Oct.
      Reprinted, under the title _A Mystical Prayer to
      the Masters of the Elements—Finvarra, Feacra, and
      Caolte_, in _The Second Book of the Rhymers’ Club_,
      1894.

    _Hopes and Fears for Irish Literature._ ‘United
      Ireland,’ October 15.

    _The Rose in my Heart._ ‘The National Observer,’
      November 12. Reprinted in _The Second Book of the
      Rhymers’ Club_, 1894. Also, under the title _Aedh
      tells of the Rose in his Heart_, in _The Wind Among
      the Reeds_, 1899; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      I.

    _The Devil’s Book._ ‘The National Observer,’ November
      26. Reprinted, under the title _The Book of the Great
      Dhoul and Hanrahan the Red_, in _The Secret Rose_,
      1897.

    [Tennyson’s] _The Death of Œnone._ (A review.) ‘The
      Bookman,’ December.

    _The Fiddler of Dooney._ ‘The Bookman,’ December.
      Reprinted in _The Second Book of the Rhymers’ Club_,
      1894. Also in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899; and
      in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _The De-Anglicising of Ireland._ (A letter.) ‘United
      Ireland,’ December 17.

    _The Twisting of the Rope._ ‘The National Observer,’
      December 24. Reprinted, under the title _The Twisting
      of the Rope and Hanrahan the Red_, in _The Secret
      Rose_, 1897.



1893.


    [Kuno Meyer’s] _The Vision of MacConglinne._ (A
      review.) _The Bookman._ February.

    [Robert Buchanan’s] _The Wandering Jew._ (A review.)
      ‘The Bookman,’ April.

    _The Heart of the Spring._ ‘The National Observer,’
      April 15. Reprinted in _The Secret Rose_, 1897; and
      in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VII.

    _The Danaan Quicken Tree._ (A poem.) ‘The Bookman,’ May.

    _The Last Gleeman._ ‘The National Observer,’ May 6.
      Reprinted in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902;
      and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _Nationality and Literature._ (A lecture to the
      National Literary Society.) ‘United Ireland,’ May 27.

    _Out of the Rose._ ‘The National Observer,’ May 27.
      Reprinted in _The Secret Rose_, 1897; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. VII.

    _The Celtic Twilight._ ‘The National Observer,’ July
      29. Reprinted, under the title _Into the Twilight_,
      in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902. Also in
      the _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _The Writings of William Blake._ (Review of a volume of
      _The Parchment Library_.) ‘The Bookman,’ August.

    _The Moods._ ‘The Bookman,’ August. Reprinted in _The
      Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902. Also in _The Wind
      Among the Reeds_, 1899; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. I.

    _The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows._ ‘The
      National Observer,’ August 5. Reprinted in _The
      Secret Rose_, 1897; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. VII.

    _The Message of the Folk-Lorist._ ‘The Speaker,’ August
      19.

    _Old Gaelic Love Songs._ (Review of _The Love Songs of
      Connacht_ by Douglas Hyde.) ‘The Bookman,’ Oct.

    _The Faery Host._ ‘The National Observer,’ October 7.
      Reprinted, under the title _The Host_, in _The Celtic
      Twilight_, 1893. Also, under the title _The Hosting
      of the Sidhe_, in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899;
      _The Celtic Twilight_, 1902; and in the _Collected
      Works_, Vol. I.

    _An Impression._ ‘The Speaker,’ October 21. Reprinted,
      under the title _A Knight of the Sheep_, in _The
      Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _The Stolen Bride._ ‘The Bookman,’ November. Reprinted,
      under the title _The Folk of the Air_, in _The Second
      Book of the Rhymers’ Club_, 1894. Also, under the
      title _The Host of the Air_, in _The Wind Among the
      Reeds_, 1899; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Our Lady of the Hills._ ‘The Speaker,’ Nov. 11.
      Reprinted in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1893 and 1902;
      and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _Wisdom and Dreams._ (A poem.) ‘The Bookman,’ December.

    _Michael Clancy, the Great Dhoul, and Death._ ‘The Old
      Country,’ a Christmas Annual, 1893.

    _The Celt: the Silenced Sister._ (Two letters.) ‘United
      Ireland,’ December 23 and 30.



1894.


    [E. J. Ellis’s] _Seen in Three Days._ (A review.) ‘The
      Bookman,’ February.

    _Cap and Bell._ ‘The National Observer,’ March 17.
      Reprinted, under the title _The Cap and Bells_, in
      _The Second Book of the Rhymers’ Club_, 1894. Also
      in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _A Crucifixion._ ‘The National Observer,’ March 24.
      Reprinted, under the title _The Crucifixion of the
      Outcast_, in _The Secret Rose_, 1897. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. VII.

    _The Song of the Old Mother._ ‘The Bookman,’ April.
      Reprinted in _The Second Book of the Rhymers’ Club_,
      1894. Also in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899; and
      in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _A Symbolical Drama in Paris._ (Note on a performance
      of _Axel_.) ‘The Bookman,’ April.

    _The Evangel of Folklore._ (Review of William
      Larminie’s _West Irish Folk Tales_.) ‘The Bookman,’
      June.

    _Those Who Live in the Storm._ ‘The Speaker,’ July 21.
      Reprinted, under the title _The Rose of Shadow_, in
      _The Secret Rose_, 1897.

    _A New Poet._ (Review of _Homeward_ by A. E.) ‘The
      Bookman,’ August.

    _Kathleen-ny-Hoolihan._ ‘The National Observer,’ Aug.
      4. Reprinted, under the title _Kathleen the Daughter
      of Hoolihan and Hanrahan the Red_, in _The Secret
      Rose_, 1897.

    _The Curse of O’Sullivan the Red upon Old Age._ ‘The
      National Observer,’ September 29. Reprinted, under
      the title _The Curse of Hanrahan the Red_, in _The
      Secret Rose_, 1897.

    _The Stone and the Elixir._ (Review of Ibsen’s
      _Brand_.) ‘The Bookman,’ October.



1895.


    _Battles Long Ago._ (Review of Standish O’Grady’s _The
      Coming of Cuchullain_.) ‘The Bookman,’ Feb.

    _An Excellent Talker._ (Review of Oscar Wilde’s _A
      Woman of No Importance_.) ‘The Bookman,’ March.

    _To Some I have talked with by the fire._ ‘The
      Bookman,’ May. Reprinted in _Poems_, 1895. Also in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Dublin Mystics._ (Review of _Homeward_ by A. E., and
      of _Two Essays on the Remnant_ by John Eglinton.)
      ‘The Bookman,’ May.

    [Douglas Hyde’s] _The Story of Early Gaelic
      Literature._ (A review.) ‘The Bookman,’ June.

    _Irish National Literature. I. From Callanan to
      Carleton._ ‘The Bookman,’ July.

    [Douglas Hyde’s] _The Three Sorrows of Story Telling._
      (A review.) ‘The Bookman,’ July.

    _Irish National Literature. II. Contemporary Prose
      Writers. Mr. O’Grady, Miss Lawless, Miss Barlow, Miss
      Hopper and the Folk-Lorists._ ‘The Bookman,’ Aug. The
      first paragraph of this essay is reprinted, under the
      title _The Moods_, in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _That Subtle Shade._ (Review of _London Nights_ by
      Arthur Symons.) ‘The Bookman,’ August.

    _Irish National Literature. III. Contemporary Irish
      Poets. Dr. Hyde, Mr. Rolleston, Mrs. Hinkson, Miss
      Nora Hopper, A. E., Mr. Aubrey de Vere, Dr. Todhunter
      and Mr. Lionel Johnson._ ‘The Bookman,’ Sept. The
      first paragraph of this essay is reprinted, under the
      title _The Body of the Father Christian Rosencrux_,
      in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Volume VI.

    _Wisdom._ ‘The New Review,’ September. Reprinted, under
      the title _The Wisdom of the King_, in _The Secret
      Rose_, 1897. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VII.

    _A Song of the Rosy Cross._ ‘The Bookman,’ October.

    _Irish National Literature. IV. A List of the best
      Irish Books._ ‘The Bookman,’ October.

    [Dr. Todhunter’s] _The Life of Patrick Sarsfield._ (A
      review.) ‘The Bookman,’ November.

    _The Twilight of Forgiveness._ ‘The Saturday Review,’
      November 2. Reprinted, under the title _Michael
      Robartes asks Forgiveness because of his many Moods_,
      in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _St. Patrick and the Pedants._ ‘The Weekly Sun Literary
      Supplement,’ December 1. Reprinted, under the title
      _The Old Men of the Twilight_, in _The Secret Rose_,
      1897. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VII.



1896.


    _The Shadowy Horses._ ‘The Savoy,’ January. Reprinted,
      under the title _Michael Robartes bids his Beloved
      be at Peace_, in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I. Translated
      into French by Stuart Merrill in _Vers et Prose_,
      March—May, 1905.

    _The Travail of Passion._ ‘The Savoy,’ January.
      Reprinted in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I. Translated
      into French by Stuart Merrill in _Vers et Prose_,
      March—May, 1905.

    _The Binding of the Hair._ ‘The Savoy,’ January.
      Reprinted in _The Secret Rose_, 1897.

    _Everlasting Voices._ ‘The New Review,’ January.
      Reprinted in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also
      in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _William Carleton._ (Review of _The Life of William
      Carleton_.) ‘The Bookman,’ March.

    _O’Sullivan the Red to Mary Lavell._ ‘The Senate,’
      March. Two poems, reprinted, under the titles _Aedh
      tells of the perfect Beauty_ and _A Poet to his
      Beloved_, in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also
      in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Rosa Alchemica._ ‘The Savoy,’ April. Reprinted in _The
      Secret Rose_, 1897. Also in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. VII. Translated into French by Henry D. Davray
      in _Le Mercure de France_, October, 1898.

    _Two Poems concerning Peasant Visionaries_:—I. _A
      Cradle Song._ II. _The Valley of the Black Pig._
      ‘The Savoy,’ April. Reprinted in _The Wind Among the
      Reeds_, 1899. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Verlaine in 1894._ ‘The Savoy,’ April.

    _The Vision of O’Sullivan the Red._ ‘The New Review,’
      April. Reprinted, under the title _The Vision of
      Hanrahan the Red_, in _The Secret Rose_, 1897.

    _William Blake._ (Review of Dr. Richard Garnett’s
      _William Blake_ in ‘The Portfolio’ series of
      monographs.) ‘The Bookman,’ April.

    _An Irish Patriot._ (Review of Lady Ferguson’s _Sir
      Samuel Ferguson in the Ireland of his Day_.) ‘The
      Bookman,’ May.

    _The New Irish Library._ (Review of _Swift in Ireland,
      Owen Roe O’Neill_, and _A Short Life of Thomas
      Davies_.) ‘The Bookman,’ June.

    _O’Sullivan Rua to Mary Lavell._ ‘The Savoy,’ July.
      Reprinted, under the title _Michael Robartes
      remembers forgotten Beauty_, in _The Wind Among the
      Reeds_, 1899. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.
      Translated into French by Stuart Merrill in _Vers et
      Prose_, March—May, 1905.

    _William Blake and his Illustrations to the Divine
      Comedy. I. His Opinions upon Art._ ‘The Savoy,’ July.
      Reprinted in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _La Tristesse du Berger. Trois légendes populaires
      d’ Irlande._ (Translations into French of _The
      Sad Shepherd_ and _The Untiring Ones_ by Henry D.
      Davray.) ‘L’Ermitage,’ July.

    _William Blake and his Illustrations to the Divine
      Comedy. II. His Opinions upon Dante._ ‘The Savoy,’
      Aug. Reprinted in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _William Blake and his Illustrations to the Divine
      Comedy. III. The Illustrations of Dante._ ‘The
      Savoy,’ September. Reprinted in _Ideas of Good and
      Evil_, 1903. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _Greek Folk Poetry._ (Review of Lucy M. Garnett’s
      _Greek Folk Poesy_.) ‘The Bookman,’ October.

    _Where there is Nothing, there is God._ ‘The Sketch,’
      October 21. Reprinted in _The Secret Rose_, 1897.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VII.

    _Windlestraws._ ‘The Savoy,’ November. I. _O’Sullivan
      Rua to the Curlew._ Reprinted, under the title
      _Hanrahan reproves the Curlew_, in _The Wind Among
      the Reeds_, 1899. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      I. II. _Out of the Old Days._ Reprinted, under the
      title _To my Heart, bidding it have no Fear_, in _The
      Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also in the _Collected
      Works_, Vol. I.

    _The Tables of the Law._ ‘The Savoy,’ November.
      Reprinted in book form, 1897 and 1904. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. VII.

    _The Cradles of Gold._ (A story.) ‘The Senate,’ Nov.

    [William Morris’s] _The Well at the World’s End._ (A
      review.) ‘The Bookman,’ November.

    _Miss Fiona Macleod as a Poet._ (Review of _From the
      Hills of Dream_.) ‘The Bookman,’ December.

    _The Death of O’Sullivan the Red._ ‘The New Review,’
      December. Reprinted, under the title _The Death of
      Hanrahan the Red_, in _The Secret Rose_, 1897.

    _Costello the Proud, Oona MacDermott and the Bitter
      Tongue._ ‘The Pageant,’ 1896. Reprinted in _The
      Secret Rose_, 1897. Also in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. VII.



1897.


    [Sir Charles Gavan Duffy’s] _Young Ireland._ (A
      review.) ‘The Bookman,’ January.

    _The Valley of Lovers._ ‘The Saturday Review,’ Jan. 9.
      Reprinted, under the title _Aedh tells of a Valley
      full of Lovers_, in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _John O’Leary._ (Review of John O’Leary’s
      _Recollections of Fenians and Fenianism_.) ‘The
      Bookman,’ Feb.

    _Mr. Arthur Symons’s New Book._ (Review of _Amoris
      Victima_.) ‘The Bookman,’ April.

    _The Blessed._ ‘The Yellow Book,’ April. Reprinted
      in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Miss Fiona Macleod._ (Review of _Spiritual Tales_,
      _Tragic Romances_ and _Barbaric Tales_.) ‘The
      Sketch,’ April 28.

    _Robert Bridges._ ‘The Bookman,’ June. Reprinted, under
      the title _The Return of Ulysses_, in _Ideas of Good
      and Evil_, 1903. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      VI.

    _The Desire of Man and of Woman._ ‘The Dome,’ June.
      Reprinted, under the title _Mongan Laments the Change
      that has come upon him and his Beloved_, in _The
      Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also in the _Collected
      Works_, Vol. I.

    _William Blake._ ‘The Academy,’ June 19. Reprinted,
      under the title _William Blake and the Imagination_,
      in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    [Maurice Maeterlinck’s] _The Treasure of the Humble._
      (A review.) ‘The Bookman,’ July.

    _Song._ ‘The Saturday Review,’ July 24. Reprinted,
      under the title _The Poet pleads with his Friend for
      old Friends_, in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Mr. Standish O’Grady’s ‘Flight of the Eagle.’_ (A
      review.) ‘The Bookman,’ August.

    _O’Sullivan the Red upon his Wanderings._ ‘The New
      Review,’ August. Reprinted, under the title _Hanrahan
      Laments because of his Wanderings_, in _The Wind
      Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also, under the title _Maid
      Quiet_, in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    [Maurice Maeterlinck’s] _Aglavaine and Selysette._ (A
      review.) ‘The Bookman,’ September.

    _The Tribes of Danu._ ‘The New Review,’ November.
      Reprinted in part, under the title _The Friends of
      the People of Faery_, in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1902.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _Three Irish Poets._ (A.E., Nora Hopper and Lionel
      Johnson.) ‘A Celtic Christmas,’ December. (Christmas
      number of _The Irish Homestead_.)



1898.


    _The Prisoners of the Gods._ ‘The Nineteenth Century,’
      January.

    _Mr. Lionel Johnson’s Poems._ (Review of _Ireland; and
      other poems_.) ‘The Bookman,’ February.

    _Mr. Rhys’ Welsh Ballads._ (A review.) ‘The Bookman,’
      April.

    _The Broken Gates of Death._ ‘The Fortnightly Review,’
      April.

    _Aodh to Dectora. Three Songs._ ‘The Dome,’ May.
      Reprinted, under the titles _Aedh hears the Cry of
      the Sedge, Aedh Laments the Loss of Love_, and _Aedh
      thinks of those who have spoken Evil of his Beloved_,
      in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _The Celtic Element in Literature._ ‘Cosmopolis,’ June.
      Reprinted in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _Mr. Lionel Johnson and Certain Irish Poets._ ‘The
      Daily Express’ (Dublin), August 27. Reprinted, under
      the title _Lionel Johnson_, in _A Treasury of Irish
      Poetry_, 1900. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      VIII.

    _Celtic Beliefs about the Soul._ (Review of _The
      Voyage of Bran_ by Kuno Meyer and Alfred Nutt.) ‘The
      Bookman,’ September.

    _The Poetry of A. E._ ‘The Daily Express’ (Dublin),
      September 3. Reprinted, under the title ‘_A.E._,’ in
      _A Treasure of Irish Poetry_, 1900.

    _The Poems and Stories of Miss Nora Hopper._ ‘The
      Daily Express’ (Dublin), September 24. Reprinted in
      part, under the title _A Note on National Drama_,
      in _Literary Ideals in Ireland_, 1899; and in part,
      under the title _Nora Hopper_, in _A Treasury of
      Irish Poetry_, 1900.

    _Song of Mongan._ ‘The Dome,’ October. Reprinted, under
      the title _Mongan thinks of his past Greatness_,
      in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Rosa Alchemica._ (French Translation.) ‘Le Mercure de
      France,’ October.

    _John Eglinton and Spiritual Art._ ‘The Daily Express’
      (Dublin), October, 29. Reprinted in _Literary Ideals
      in Ireland_, 1899.

    _A Symbolic Artist and the Coming of Symbolic Art._
      ‘The Dome,’ December.

    _Aodh Pleads with the Elemental Powers._ ‘The Dome,’
      December. Reprinted in _The Wind Among the Reeds_,
      1899. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Bressel the Fisherman._ ‘The Cornish Magazine,’ Dec.
      Reprinted in _The Wind Among the Reeds_, 1899. Also
      in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _The Autumn of the Flesh._ ‘The Daily Express’
      (Dublin), December 3. Reprinted in _Literary Ideals
      in Ireland_, 1899. Also under the title _The Autumn
      of the Body_ in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903; and
      in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.



1899.


    _The Irish Literary Theatre._ ‘The Daily Express’
      (Dublin), Jan. 14. Reprinted in part, under the title
      _Plans and Methods_, in ‘Beltaine’, May, 1899.

    _Mr. Moore, Mr. Archer and the Literary Theatre._
      (A letter, dated January 27, 1899.) ‘The Daily
      Chronicle,’ January 30.

    _The Academic Class and the Agrarian Revolution._ ‘The
      Daily Express’ (Dublin), March 11.

    _The Theatre._ ‘The Dome,’ April. Reprinted in
      ‘Beltaine,’ May, 1899. Also in _Ideas of Good and
      Evil_, 1903; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _Plans and Methods._ ‘Beltaine,’ May.

    _The Irish Literary Theatre._ ‘Literature,’ May 6.

    _The Countess Cathleen and Cardinal Logue._ (A letter.)
      ‘The Morning Leader,’ May 13.

    [Fiona Macleod’s] _The Dominion of Dreams._ (A review.)
      ‘The Bookman,’ July.

    _Ireland Bewitched._ ‘The Contemporary Review,’
      September.

    _‘Dust hath closed Helen’s Eye.’_ ‘The Dome,’ October.
      Reprinted in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1902. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _The Literary Movement in Ireland._ ‘The North American
      Review,’ December. Reprinted in _Ideals in Ireland_,
      1901.



1900.


    _The Irish Literary Theatre_, 1900. ‘The Dome,’ Jan.
      Reprinted in ‘Beltaine,’ February, 1900. A paragraph
      is also reprinted, as part of the essay _The
      Theatre_, in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903; and in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _Plans and Methods._ ‘Beltaine,’ February.

    _‘Maive’ and Certain Irish Beliefs._ ‘Beltaine,’ Feb.

    _The Symbolism of Poetry._ ‘The Dome,’ April. Reprinted
      in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _‘The Last Feast of the Fianna,’ ‘Maive,’ and ‘The
      Bending of the Bough’ in Dublin._ ‘Beltaine,’ April.

    _The Way of Wisdom._ ‘The Speaker,’ April 14.
      Reprinted, under the title _The Pathway_, in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. VIII.

    _The Shadowy Waters._ ‘The North American Review,’ May.
      Reprinted in book form, 1900. A new version of the
      play is printed in _Poems_, 1899-1905; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. II.; and an acting version in
      book form, 1907, and in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      II.

    _The Philosophy of Shelley’s Poetry._ ‘The Dome,’ July.
      Reprinted in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _The Freedom of the Press in Ireland._ (A letter.) ‘The
      Speaker,’ July 7.

    _Irish Fairy Beliefs._ (A review of Daniel Deeny’s
      _Peasant Lore from Gaelic Ireland_.) ‘The Speaker,’
      July 14.

    _Irish Language and Irish Literature._ (A letter.) ‘The
      Leader,’ September 1.

    _Irish Witch Doctors._ ‘The Fortnightly Review,’ Sept.

    _Introduction to a Dramatic Poem._ ‘The Speaker.’
      December 1. Reprinted without title in _The Shadowy
      Waters_, 1900. Also in _Poems_, 1899-1905; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. II.



1901.


    _Cantilation._ (A letter.) ‘The Saturday Review,’ March
      16.

    _At Stratford-on-Avon._ ‘The Speaker,’ May 11 and 18.
      Reprinted, with one chapter omitted, in _Ideas of
      Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. VI.

    _The Fool of Faery._ ‘The Kensington,’ June. Reprinted,
      under the title _The Queen and the Fool_, in _The
      Celtic Twilight_, 1902. Also in the _Collected
      Works_, Vol. V.

    _Under the Moon._ ‘The Speaker,’ June 15. Reprinted
      in _In the Seven Woods_, 1903. Also in _Poems_,
      1899-1905; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Ireland and the Arts._ ‘The United Irishman,’ Aug. 31.
      Reprinted in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _Magic._ ‘The Monthly Review,’ September. Reprinted
      in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _Windlestraws._ ‘Samhain,’ October. Reprinted in _The
      Irish Dramatic Movement_, _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.



1902.


    _The Blood Bond._ (From _Grania_ by George Moore and W.
      B. Yeats.) ‘A Broad Sheet,’ January.

    _Spinning Song._ ‘A Broad Sheet,’ January.

    _The Folly of Being Comforted._ ‘The Speaker,’ Jan.
      11. Reprinted in _In the Seven Woods_, 1903. Also in
      _Poems_, 1899-1905; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. I.

    _New Chapters in the Celtic Twilight._ I. _Enchanted
      Woods._ ‘The Speaker,’ January 18. Reprinted in
      _The Celtic Twilight_, 1902. Also in the _Collected
      Works_, Vol. V.

    _Egyptian Plays._ (A note on the performance of _The
      Beloved of Hathor_ and _The Shrine of the Golden
      Hawk_ by Florence Farr and O. Shakespear.) ‘The
      Star,’ January 23.

    _New Chapters in the Celtic Twilight._ II. _Happy
      and Unhappy Theologians._ ‘The Speaker,’ Feb. 15.
      Reprinted in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1902. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _What is ‘Popular Poetry’?_ ‘The Cornhill Magazine,’
      March. Reprinted in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _The Purcell Society._ (A letter.) ‘The Saturday
      Review,’ March 8.

    _New Chapters in the Celtic Twilight._ III. _The
      Old Town._ IV. _War._ V. _Earth, Fire and Water._
      ‘The Speaker,’ March 15. Reprinted in _The Celtic
      Twilight_, 1902. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      V.

    _Away._ ‘The Fortnightly Review,’ April.

    _The Acting at St. Teresa’s Hall._ (Notes on the
      performance of _Deirdre_ by A.E., and of _Cathleen ni
      Hoolihan_.) ‘The United Irishman,’ April 12 and 19.

    _New Chapters in the Celtic Twilight._ V. _A Voice._
      VI. _The Swine of the Gods._ VII. _The Devil._
      VIII. _‘And Fair Fierce Women.’_ IX. _Mortal Help._
      ‘The Speaker,’ April 19. Reprinted in _The Celtic
      Twilight_, 1902. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      V.

    _New Chapters in the Celtic Twilight._ X. _Aristotle
      of the Books._ XI. _Miraculous Creatures._ XII.
      _An Enduring Heart._ ‘The Speaker,’ April 26.
      Reprinted in _The Celtic Twilight_, 1902. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _Speaking to the Psaltery._ ‘The Monthly Review,’ May.
      Reprinted in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _Speaking to Musical Notes._ (A letter.) ‘The Academy,’
      June 7.

    _Baile and Aillinn._ ‘The Monthly Review,’ July.
      Reprinted in _In the Seven Woods_, 1903. Also in
      _Poems_, 1899-1905; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. I.

    _Notes._ ‘Samhain,’ October. Reprinted in _The Irish
      Dramatic Movement_, _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.

    _Cathleen-ni-Hoolihan._ ‘Samhain,’ October. Reprinted
      in book form, 1902. Also in _Plays for an Irish
      Theatre_, Vol. II., 1904; and in the _Collected
      Works_, Vol. IV.

    _The Freedom of the Theatre._ ‘The United Irishman,’
      November 1.

    _Adam’s Curse._ ‘The Monthly Review,’ December.
      Reprinted in _In the Seven Woods_, 1903. Also in
      _Poems_, 1899-1905; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. I.



1903.


    _The Old Men admiring themselves in the Water._ ‘The
      Pall Mall Magazine,’ January. Reprinted in _In the
      Seven Woods_, 1903. Also in _Poems_, 1899-1905; and
      in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _The Happiest of the Poets._ ‘The Fortnightly Review,’
      March. Reprinted in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903.
      Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _Poets and Dreamers._ ‘The New Liberal Review,’ March.
      Reprinted, under the title _The Galway Plains_,
      in _Ideas of Good and Evil_, 1903. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. VI.

    _The Old Age of Queen Maeve._ ‘The Fortnightly Review,’
      April. Reprinted in _In the Seven Woods_, 1903. Also
      in _Poems_, 1899-1905; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. I.

    _Cathleen, the Daughter of Hoolihan._ ‘A Broad Sheet,’
      April. Reprinted, under the title _The Song of Red
      Hanrahan_, in _In the Seven Woods_, 1903. Also in
      _Poems_, 1899-1905; and in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. I.

    _The Reform of the Theatre._ ‘The United Irishman,’
      April 4. Reprinted, with additions, in ‘Samhain,’
      September, 1903. Also in _The Irish Dramatic
      Movement_, _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.

    _Irish Plays and Players._ (A letter.) ‘The Academy,’
      May 16.

    _The Happy Townland._ ‘The Weekly Critical Review,’
      June. Reprinted, under the title _The Rider from the
      North_, in _In the Seven Woods_, 1903. Also, under
      original title, in _Poems_, 1899-1905; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _The Hour-Glass. A Morality._ ‘The North American
      Review,’ September. Reprinted separately, for
      copyright purposes, in 1903. Also in _Plays for
      an Irish Theatre_, Vol. III., 1904; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.

    _Notes._ ‘Samhain,’ September. Reprinted in _The Irish
      Dramatic Movement_, _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.

    _A Prologue._ ‘The United Irishman,’ September 9.
      Reprinted in _Plays for an Irish Theatre_, Vol. III.,
      1904. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. VIII.

    _Flaubert and the National Library._ (A letter.) _The
      Irish Times_, October 8.

    _An Irish National Theatre._ ‘The United Irishman,’
      October 10. Reprinted in _The Irish Dramatic
      Movement_, _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.

    _The Theatre, the Pulpit and the Newspapers._ ‘The
      United Irishman,’ October 17. Reprinted in _The Irish
      Dramatic Movement_, _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.

    _The Irish National Theatre and Three Sorts of
      Ignorance._ ‘The United Irishman,’ October 24.

    _Dream of the World’s End._ ‘The Green Sheaf,’ No.
      II.[K]

    _Red Hanrahan._ ‘The Independent Review,’ Dec.
      Reprinted in _Stories of Red Hanrahan_, 1904. Also in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. V.



1904.


    _The Dramatic Movement._

    _First Principles._

    _The Play, the Player and the Scene._ ‘Samhain,’
      Dec. Reprinted in _The Irish Dramatic Movement_,
      _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.



1905.


    [J. M. Synge’s] _The Shadow of the Glen._ (Three
      letters.) ‘The United Irishman,’ January 28, February
      4 and 11.

    _Red Hanrahan’s Vision._ ‘McClure Magazine,’ March.
      Reprinted in _Stories of Red Hanrahan_, 1904. Also in
      the _Collected Works_, Vol. V.

    _America and the Arts._ ‘The Metropolitan Magazine,’
      April.

    _Trois Poèmes d’ Amour. Les Chevaux de l’ombre. Le
      Travail de la Passion. O’Sullivan Rua à Marie
      Lavell._ (French translations by Stuart Merrill.)
      _Vers et Prose_, March—May.

    _Queen Edaine._ ‘McClure’s Magazine,’ September.
      Reprinted with an additional verse in ‘The Shanachie’
      [No. I., Spring, 1906.] Also in _Poems_, 1899-1905;
      _Deirdre_, 1907; and in the _Collected Works_, Vol.
      II.

    _Do not love too long._ ‘The Acorn,’ October. Reprinted
      in the _Collected Works_, Vol. I.

    _Notes and Opinions._ ‘Samhain,’ November. Reprinted
      in _The Irish Dramatic Movement_, _Collected Works_,
      Vol. IV.

    _Never Give All the Heart._ ‘McClure’s Magazine,’
      December. Reprinted in _Poems_, 1899-1905; and in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. I.



1906.


    _Against Witchcraft._ ‘The Shanachie,’ Spring.
      Reprinted in _On Baile’s Strand_, in _Poems_,
      1899-1905. Also in the _Collected Works_, Vol. II.

    _The Praise of Deirdre._ ‘The Shanachie,’ Spring. See
      _Queen Edaine_, above. (1905.)

    _My Thoughts and My Second Thoughts. I.-X._ ‘The
      Gentleman’s Magazine,’ September and October.
      Reprinted in _Discoveries_, 1907. Also in the
      _Collected Works_, Vol. VIII.

    _Literature and the Living Voice._ ‘The Contemporary
      Review,’ October. Reprinted in ‘Samhain,’ 1906. Also
      in _The Irish Dramatic Movement_, _Collected Works_,
      Vol. IV.

    _The Season’s Work._ ‘The Arrow,’ October 20.
      Reprinted, in part, in _The Irish Dramatic Movement_,
      _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.

    _A Note on ‘The Mineral Workers,’ and other Notes._
      ‘The Arrow,’ October 20.

    _My Thoughts and My Second Thoughts. XI.-XVII._ ‘The
      Gentleman’s Magazine,’ November. Reprinted in
      _Discoveries_, 1907. Also in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. VIII.

    _Notes._

    _Notes on ‘Deirdre’_ and ‘_The Shadowy Waters_.’ ‘The
      Arrow,’ November 24.

    _Notes._ ‘Samhain,’ December.



1907.


    _The Controversy over ‘The Playboy.’_

    _Mr. Yeats’ Opening Speech at the Debate on February
      4th, at the Abbey Theatre._ ‘The Arrow,’ February
      23. Both reprinted, in part, in _The Irish Dramatic
      Movement_, _Collected Works_, Vol. IV.

    _Notes._ ‘The Arrow,’ June 1. Reprinted in part, under
      the title _On Bringing ‘The Playboy’ to London_, in
      _The Irish Dramatic Movement_, _Collected Works_,
      Vol. IV.

    _Discoveries._ ‘The Shanachie,’ October. Reprinted in
      _Discoveries_, 1907. Also in the _Collected Works_,
      Vol. VIII.



1908.


    _A Dream._ (A poem, with a note in prose.) ‘The
      Nation,’ July 11.



PART IV.

AMERICAN EDITIONS.

(COMPILED BY JOHN QUINN.)



[1892.]


The | Countess Kathleen | And Various Legends and Lyrics. | By | W. B.
Yeats. | [Quotation, four lines] | Cameo Series | Boston: Roberts Bros.
| London: T. Fisher Unwin.

Identical with English edition except for title-page and publisher’s
name on back of binding and absence of publisher’s device on back cover.



1894.


The | Land of Heart’s Desire | By | W. B. Yeats | [publisher’s
monogram] | Chicago | Stone & Kimball | Caxton Building | MDCCCXCIV

Fcp. 8vo, pp. iv and 46. Grey boards with label. The frontispiece is by
Aubrey Beardsley, the design being the same as that used in the English
edition.


1903. Mosher’s first edition.

The Land of Heart’s Desire | By | W. B. Yeats | O Rose, thou art sick.
| William Blake.

Sm. 4to. This is No. 6 of Vol. IX. of _The Bibelot_, issued in June,
1903. Grey paper cover.

The Land of Heart’s Desire | By W. B. Yeats | [ornament] | Portland
Maine | Privately Printed | MDCCCCIII

Fcp. 8vo, pp. xvi and 32. Japan paper cover.

Only 32 copies were printed, during July, 1903.

The Land of Heart’s | Desire by William | Butler Yeats | [monogram] |
Portland Maine | Thomas B. Mosher | MDCCCCIII

Sm. 8vo, pp. vi and 36. White parchment paper.

Of this first edition 950 copies were printed on Van Gelder paper, 100
on Japan paper and 10 on pure vellum. Published in October, 1903. Later
editions, each consisting of 950 copies on Van Gelder paper, are bound
in grey boards with paper label.

The Celtic Twilight. | Men and Women, Dhouls and | Faeries. | By W. B.
Yeats. | With a frontispiece by J. B. Yeats. | New York: | Macmillan
and Co. | and London. | 1894

English sheets, with new title-page.



1895.


Poems.

Copies of the English edition were imported by Copeland and Day of
Boston, whose name appears on the title-page and binding of all copies.



1897.


The Secret Rose: | By W. B. Yeats, with | Illustrations by J. B.
| Yeats. | [monogram] | New York: Dodd, Mead & Company | London:
Lawrence and Bullen, Ltd. | MDCCCXCVII.

These copies for the American market are copies of the first English
edition, with the original title-page torn out after the book was
bound, and the above new title-page pasted in.



1899.


The Wind | Among the Reeds | By | W. B. Yeats | [ornament] | John Lane:
The Bodley Head | New York and London | 1899

Cr. 8vo, pp. viii and 110. Cloth.

The English edition was printed from duplicate plates and is identical
except for imprint on title-page and the cutting out of copyright
notice and imprint on verso of title-page (p. [iv]) and the imprint at
end (p. [109]).

Later American editions have separate copyright notice on verso of
title-page dated 1905 but are printed from the same plates and contain
no additional lines.



1901.


The Shadowy Waters | By | W. B. Yeats | [ornament] | New York | Dodd,
Mead and Company | 1901

Cr. 4to, pp. 62. Grey boards with side label.



1902.


Where There is | Nothing | A Drama | In Five Acts | By | W. B. Yeats;
John Lane | MCMII

Cr. 8vo, pp. viii and 100. Issued in grey paper cover, the first page
printed from the types of the title-page.

Fifteen copies printed for copyright of which not over eight are now
known. Printed for Mr. John Quinn from the author’s first draft and
contains some errors corrected in the large-paper edition.


1902. Second Edition.

Printed for Mr. John Quinn from the same types as the preceding, but
without the publisher’s name on title-page and without imprint on verso
of title-page below copyright, and with some errors corrected. On the
reverse of the half-title is the notice “Thirty copies printed | from
the type, of which | this is No.________”

Large-paper copies (9-9/16ths by 5-7/16ths inches). Pale green boards
with labels on front and back.

These two editions contain a dedication to Lady Gregory, dated
September 19, 1902, which does not appear in any subsequent edition.


1903. Third Edition.

Where There is | Nothing | Being Volume One of Plays for | an Irish
Theatre | By | W. B. Yeats | New York | The Macmillan Company |
London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd. | 1903 | All rights reserved

Globe 8vo, pp. 216. Cloth.

This edition was considerably revised and contains some new passages.
The new dedication to Lady Gregory is dated February, 1903.

Also a large-paper edition, printed on Japan paper, and limited to 100
copies.


The Celtic Twilight. Revised and enlarged edition of 1902.

The English sheets were imported and bound in America, back of cover
being lettered “The Celtic | Twilight | W. B. Yeats. | The Macmillan |
Company”



1903.


Ideas of Good and | Evil. By W. B. Yeats | The Macmillan Company | New
York. MCMIII

English sheets with new title-page as above.


In the Seven Woods | Being Poems Chiefly of the | Irish Heroic Age | By
| W. B. Yeats | New York | The Macmillan Company | London: Macmillan &
Co., Ltd. | 1903 | All rights reserved

Cr. 8vo, pp. vi and 90. Cloth.



1904.


The Hour-Glass | And Other Plays | Being Volume Two of Plays for | An
Irish Theatre | By | W. B. Yeats | New York | The Macmillan Company |
London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd. | 1904 | All rights reserved

Globe 8vo, pp. viii and 116. Cloth.[L]

Also a large-paper edition, limited to 100 copies.

These American editions do not contain the bars of music or the “Note
on the Music” of the English edition.


The King’s Threshold | A Play in Verse | By | W. B. Yeats | New York |
Printed for Private Circulation | 1904

Medium 8vo, pp. x and 58. Grey boards.

Printed on cream-coloured old hand-made Italian paper, 100 copies only,
for Mr. John Quinn.



1906.


The Poetical Works | of | William B. Yeats | In Two Volumes | Volume I
| Lyrical Poems | New York | The Macmillan Company | London: Macmillan
& Co., Ltd. | 1906 | All rights reserved

Cr. 8vo, pp. xiv and 340. Cloth.


CONTENTS.

    _Preface._ [Dated _In the Seven Woods_, July, 1906.]

    _Early Poems: I. Ballads and Lyrics._

    _Early Poems: II. The Wanderings of Oisin._

    _Early Poems: III. The Rose._

    _The Wind Among the Reeds._

    _In the Seven Woods._

    _The Old Age of Queen Maeve._

    _Baile and Aillinn._



1907.


The Poetical Works | of | William B. Yeats | In Two Volumes | Volume
II | Dramatical Poems | New York | The Macmillan Company | London:
Macmillan & Co., Ltd. | 1907 | All rights reserved

Cr. 8vo, pp. x and 528.


CONTENTS.

    _Preface._ [Dated December, 1906.]

    _The Countess Cathleen._

    _The Land of Heart’s Desire._

    _The Shadowy Waters._ [New version.]

    _On Baile’s Strand._ [New version.]

    _The King’s Threshold._ [New version.]

    _Deirdre._

    _Appendix I_: The Legendary and Mythological Foundation
      of the Plays and Poems.

    _Appendix II_: The Dates and Places of Performance of
      the Plays.

    _Appendix III_: _Acting Version of ‘The Shadowy
      Waters.’_

    _Appendix IV_: The Work of the National Theatre
      Society at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin: A Statement of
      Principles.

These two volumes form the first collected edition of the author’s
verse, lyric and dramatic. It is to America’s credit that this first
collected edition appeared in America.



1908.


The Unicorn from | the Stars | and Other Plays | By | William B. Yeats
| and | Lady Gregory | New York | The Macmillan Company | 1908 | All
rights reserved

Cr. 8vo, pp. xiv and 210. Cloth.


CONTENTS.

    _The Unicorn from the Stars._ By Lady Gregory and W. B.
      Yeats.

    _Cathleen ni Hoolihan._

    _The Hour-Glass: A Morality._

The Golden Helmet | By | William Butler Yeats | Published | By | John
Quinn | New York 1908

Fcp. 8vo, pp. viii and 34. Grey boards with label.

Fifty copies only printed.


NOTE.

Of the first separate edition of _The Hour-Glass_, described in Part I.
under date 1903, only twelve copies were printed. Of these, six went
for English copyright, two were lost in the post, the printer kept one,
one belongs to Mr. W. B. Yeats, one to Lady Gregory and one to Mr. John
Quinn.

The essay _Modern Irish Poetry_, which appeared as an Introduction to
_A Book of Irish Verse_, London, 1895 (see Part II.), was reissued with
additions in _Irish Literature_, Vol. III., Philadelphia, 1904.


    THE END.



    _Printed by_ A. H. BULLEN, _at The Shakespeare Head Press,
                       Stratford-on-Avon._

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[A] _Poems of Spenser: Selected and with an Introduction by W. B.
Yeats._ (T. C. and E. C. Jack, Edinburgh, N.D.)

[B] Rose Kavanagh, the poet, wrote to her religious adviser from, I
think, Leitrim, where she lived, and asked him to get her the works of
Mazzini. He replied, ‘You must mean Manzone.’

[C] I have heard him say more than once, ‘I will not say our people
know good from bad, but I will say that they don’t hate the good when
it is pointed out to them as a great many people do in England.’

[D] A small political organizer told me once that he and a certain
friend got together somewhere in Tipperary a great meeting of farmers
for O’Leary on his coming out of prison, and O’Leary had said at it:
‘The landlords gave us some few leaders, and I like them for that, and
the artisans have given us great numbers of good patriots, and so I
like them best: but you I do not like at all, for you have never given
us any one.’ I have known but one that had his moral courage, and that
was a woman with beauty, to give her courage and self-possession.

[E] This version, though Dr. Hyde went some way with it, has never been
published. I do not know why.—W.B.Y., _March, 1908_.

[F] Reprinted from _The Wanderings of Oisin_, 1889.

[G] Reprinted from _The Countess Cathleen_, 1892.

[H] Written for the first production of _The King’s Threshold_ in
Dublin, but not used, as, owing to the smallness of the company, nobody
could be spared to speak it.—W.B.Y., 1904.

[I] Reprinted from _The Shadowy Waters_, 1900.

[J] Reprinted from _In the Seven Woods_, 1903.

[K] ‘The Green Sheaf,’ No. IV., published as a supplement a
reproduction of a pastel by Mr. Yeats, _The Lake at Coole_.

[L] _The Pot of Broth_, contained in this volume, originally appeared
in _The Gael_, (an American Monthly Magazine, printed in New York,
partly in Irish and partly in English,) September, 1903.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired. Superscripted fractions are
shown

Page 23, “he” changed to “be” (may be greater)

Page 35, “maybe” changed to “may be” (it may be, generations)

Page 236, “p.” changed to “pp.” (_Ghosts_, pp. 128-129)

Page 247, “esssay” changed to “essay” (essay originally appeared)





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