W. B. Yeats (1865 – 1939)



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 mourning 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.





The Lake Isle of Innisfree by Yeats talks essentially about nature and the ideal of life that he wanted at a certain point of his life.

          From the title we can imagine the main topic treated by Yeats. The word chosen for an imaginary place (Innisfree) contains a very meaningful word “free” that gives a clue to the reader of what the poem is going to talk about. The rhyme that is used in this poem is abab, and the free verse that appears makes the reader think about the freedom that the author wants to emphasize in the main issue treated in this work.

          Yeats shows a desire of going alone and free from the very first line that we read “I will arise and go now…” This will of going alone reflects the problems of the society that the world has ever had and that we still have. All these problems make society think about an ideal place (in contrast to reality) to live or and ideal place only to look at, and this is what is reflected in Yeats’ poem.

          The simplicity of a place like Innisfree, (which is totally in contact with nature, is nature itself) contrasts with the unnecessary complexity of reality and its uneasy daily situations. The whole poem is filled with natural metaphors and images that immerse the reader in a dream from where he/she is finally going to be suddenly awakened.

          From the same point of view, the only thing that we can imagine to make us free and to escape from the cruelty and the ignorance of the common world is to be in contact with nature and to be in peace there, as the poet writes in this line: “And I shall have some peace there…”(line 5).

          Although the poet is talking about an ideal situation that he wants to live, from my point of view the poet uses a general pessimistic tone, because he knows that it is an imaginary place where he probably never will be. This is my personal impression after reading the poem not for the first time and knowing its ending.

In the end of the poem Yeats turns again to reality and it is reflected in the two final verses: “While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart's core.” Here we realise that we have turned from an imaginary travel and that we are again “on the roadway, or on the pavement grey”. This colour is also meaningful, because with it the poet wants to transmit that reality is obscure and sad. The strong desire of the poet is again emphasized in the final verse, where he feels from the deep of his heart that he wants to be in a place like Innisfree.

On the other hand, we can interpret this from an optimistic point of view if we consider that we can imagine everything from everywhere. So nothing can win the power that the imagination, fantasy or dream has, and this in one of the main characteristics of The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

          We can relate all these topics to the life of Yeats, as for example we are said by Gunnar Bengtsson: “he began to confront reality with a new directness and disillusionment”. This is clearly seen in this poem, the confrontation between the real world and a utopian one. The disillusionment that the webpage makes reference to is seen clearly at the end, in the two final verses that have been previously analysed.

Moreover we find in the same article that Yeats was involved in mystical facts: “Reincarnation, communication with the dead, mediums, supernatural systems and Oriental mysticism fascinated Yeats through his life”. Reading this we can consider that the imagery that the poet uses in the poem is related to dreams or something mystical that he felt or he was willing to feel.



- http://www.online-literature.com/yeats/775/

- Gunnar Bengtsson; Biography of William Butler Yeats; Poetry Connection. http://www.poetryconnection.net/poets/William_Butler_Yeats



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