Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

— William Butler Yeats

The most eye-opening William Butler Yeats quotes that are proven to give you inner joy

There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met.


There is another world, but it is in this one.


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


Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.


The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.


The Irishman sustains himself during brief periods of joy by the knowledge that tragedy is just around the corner.


But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.


Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!


One man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face.


Choose your companions from the best; Who draws a bucket with the rest soon topples down the hill.


Life is a journey up a spiral staircase;

as we grow older we cover the ground covered we have covered before, only higher up; as we look down the winding stair below us we measure our progress by the number of places where we were but no longer are. The journey is both repetitious and progressive; we go both round and upward.


About William Butler Yeats

Quotes 587 sayings
Nationality Irish
Profession Poet
Birthday June 13, 1865

It is one of the great troubles of life that we cannot have any unmixed emotions. There is always something in our enemy that we like, and something in our sweetheart that we dislike.


That toil of growing up; The ignominy of boyhood; the distress Of boyhood changing into man; The unfinished man and his pain.


Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.


All that I have said and done, Now that I am old and ill, Turns into a question till I lie awake night after night And never get the answers right.


And a softness came from the starlight and filled me full to the bone.


I call on those that call me son, Grandson, or great-grandson, On uncles, aunts, great-uncles or great-aunts, To judge what I have done. Have I, that put it into words, Spoilt what old loins have sent?


Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.


All things uncomely and broken, all things worn out and old The cry of a child by the roadway, the creak of a lumbering cart, The heavy steps of the plowman, splashing the wintry mold, Are wronging your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.


Cast a cold eye on life, on death Horseman pass by


Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.


From our birthday, until we die, Is but the winking of an eye.


The falcon cannot hear the falconer


Wine enters through the mouth, Love, the eyes. I raise the glass to my mouth, I look at you, I sigh.


I have believed the best of every man.

And find that to believe is enough to make a bad man show him at his best, or even a good man swings his lantern higher.


I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere among the clouds above;

those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.


Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.


The light of lights looks always on the motive, not the deed, the shadow of shadows on the deed alone.


The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.


All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.


It takes more courage to dig deep in the dark corners of your own soul and the back alleys of your society than it does for a soldier to fight on the battlefield.


And wisdom is a butterfly And not a gloomy bird of prey.


The tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul.


I have known more men destroyed by the desire to have wife and child and to keep them in comfort than I have seen destroyed by drink and harlots.


Gaze no more in the bitter glass The demons, with their subtle guile, Lift up before us when they pass, Or only gaze a little while.


The only business of the head in the world is to bow a ceaseless obeisance to the heart.


Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.


Wine comes in at the mouth And love comes in at the eye;

That's all we shall know for truth Before we grow old and die.


When you are old and gray 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.


And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?


Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold.


Why should we honour those that die upon the field of battle? A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself.


I am still of opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mood - sex and the dead.


On limestone quarried near the spot By his command these words are cut: Cast a cold eye On life, on death. Horseman, pass by!


The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time.


Everything that's lovely is But a brief, dreamy kind of delight.


It's certain that fine women eat A crazy salad with their meat.