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The Lake Isle of Innisfree

  • Type: Poem

Written on Fleet St, London

The Lake Isle of Innisfree is an 1880 twelve-line poem written by William Butler Yeats. - AsNotedIn

I had still the ambition, formed in Sligo in my teens, of living in imitation of Thoreau on Innisfree, a little island in Lough Gill, and when walking through Fleet Street very homesick I heard a little tinkle of water and saw a fountain in a shop-window which balanced a little ball upon its jet, and began to remember lake water. From the sudden remembrance came my poem Innisfree, my first lyric with anything in its rhythm of my own music. I had begun to loosen rhythm as an escape from rhetoric and from that emotion of the crowd that rhetoric brings, but I only understood vaguely and occasionally that I must for my special purpose use nothing but the common syntax. A couple of years later I could not have written that first line with its conventional archaism - "Arise and go" - nor the inversion of the last stanza.William Butler Yeats, Autobiographies. London: Macmillan 1955, p.153

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Y/M/D Association Description Place Locale Food Event
1893/00/00 William Butler Yeats Author "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" is publish in Yeats's second book of poems, 'The Rose'.

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Particulars for The Lake Isle of Innisfree:
Art Type Poem writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is typically rhythmical, usually metaphorical, and often exhibits such formal elements as meter, rhyme and stanzaic structure.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.


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