Welcome to my weekly blog, SATURDAY SESSIONS!
In this blog, for the perusal of all our students, past, present and future, I include an extract from our interactive presentation Course, Ireland and its Culture.
WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS (1865 – 1939)
W.B. Yeats is now considered to be amongst the finest poets in the English language worldwide. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.
He was born in Dublin into a Protestant family at a turning point in Irish history. His childhood was shadowed by a power-shift away from the minority Protestant privileged classes, as nationalism was growing and Catholics were becoming more prominent.
This backdrop had a profound effect on his poetry which includes a great interest in Irish legends and mythology but also Irish politics, mysticism and spiritualism.
He was in love with an Englishwoman named Maud Gonne, but the love was never returned. Many of his early poems are about unrequited love. Here is one of them:
WHEN YOU ARE OLD
WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.