In this multi-volume edition, the poetry of W.B. Yeats (1865–1939) is presented in full, with newly-established texts and detailed, wide-ranging commentary. Yeats began to write verse in the nineteenth century, and over time his own arrangements of poems repeatedly revised and rearranged both texts and canon. This edition of Yeats’s poetry presents all his verse, both published and unpublished, including a generous selection of textual variants from the many manuscript and printed sources. The edition also supplies the most extensive commentary on Yeats’s poetry to date, explaining specific references, and setting poems in their contexts; it also gives an account of the vast range of both literary and historical influences at work on the verse. The poems are presented in order of composition, and major revisions or rewritings of poems result in separate inclusions (in chronological sequence) for these writings as they were subsequently reconceived by the poet.
In this second volume, the poems of Yeats’s early maturity emerge in the contexts of his engagement with Irish history and myth, along with nationalist politics; his increasing involvement with ritual magic and esoteric lore; and his turbulent, often unhappy, personal life. The poems of The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics (1892) reveal a poet of intense narrative power and metaphorical resource, adept at transforming miscellaneous sources into haunting and original poems. A major revision of his earlier narrative, ‘The Wanderings of Oisin’, takes place in this decade when Yeats is also taken up with the composition of elaborate and uncanny symbolic lyrics, many of them resulting from his love for Maud Gonne, that are finally collected in The Wind Among the Reeds (1899). This edition makes it possible to trace in detail Yeats’s debts to folklore and magic, alongside his involved and often difficult private and public life, in poetry of exceptional complexity and power.
Table of Contents
Chronology of W.B. Yeats’s Life and Publications, 1890-1898 Abbreviations THE POEMS 96. A Cradle Song 97. The Ballad of Father Gilligan 98. Dedication to a Book of Stories Selected from the Irish Novelists 99. The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner 100. The Man who Dreamed of Faeryland 101. The Pathway 102. The White Birds 103. To a Sister of the Cross and the Rose 104. A Faery Song 105. A Salutation 106. The Rose of Battle 107. A Dream of a Blessed Spirit 108. Mourn – And then Onward! 109. When You are Old 110. [‘He Who Bids the White Plains of the Pole’] 111. A Dream of Other Lives 112. The Sorrow of Love 113. A Song of the Rosy-Cross 114. The Rose of the World 115. A Dream of Death 116. The Death of Cuchulain 117. The Pity of Love 118. The Two Trees 119. To the Rose upon the Rood of Time 120. To Ireland in the Coming Times 121. The Rose of Peace 122. Where My Books Go 123. Fergus and the Druid 124. When You are Sad 125. A Mystical Prayer to the Masters of the Elements, Finvarra, Feacra, and Caolte 126. The Watch-Fire 127. The Lover tells of the Rose in his Heart 128. The Fiddler of Dooney 129. [‘I Never Have Seen Maid Quiet’] 130. Into the Twilight 131. The Danaan Quicken Tree 132. The Ballad of Earl Paul 133. The Cap and Bells 134. The Moods 135. The Host 136. [‘He Treads a Road of Glint and Gleam’] 137. Wisdom and Dreams 138. On a Child’s Death 139. The Glove and the Cloak 140. The Host of the Air 141. [‘Veering, Fleeting, Fickle, the Winds of Knocknarea’] 142. The Song of the Old Mother 143. [‘White Daughter of the Iron Time...’] 144. [‘I Will Not in Grey Hours Revoke’] 145. The Heart of the Woman 146. [‘The Poet, Owen Hanrahan…’] 147. The Lover to his Heart 148. [‘Out of Sight is Out of Mind’] 149. The Indian to His Love 150. The Wanderings of Oisin 151. The Madness of King Goll 152. To Some I Have Talked with by the Fire 153. He Gives his Beloved Certain Rhymes 154. [‘The Loud Years Come, the Loud Years Go’] 155. A Poet to his Beloved 156. The Everlasting Voices 157. The Lover Asks Forgiveness Because of His Many Moods 158. He Bids His Beloved Be at Peace 159. He Tells of the Perfect Beauty 160. The Lover Speaks to the Hearers of his Songs in the Coming Days 161. The Travail of Passion 162. The Valley of the Black Pig 163. The Unappeasable Host 164. He Remembers Forgotten Beauty 165. The Secret Rose 166. He Reproves the Curlew 167. To His Heart, Bidding it Have No Fear 168. He Tells of a Valley Full of Lovers 169. [‘O Tufted Reeds, Bend Low…’] 170. The Shadowy Waters [1896 TS version] 171. The Blessed 172. He Mourns for the Change That Has Come Upon Him and His Beloved, and Longs for the End of the World 173. The Lover Pleads With His Friend for Old Friends 174. The Song of Wandering Aengus 175. Hanrahan Laments Because of His Wanderings 176. The Hosting of the Sidhe 177. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven 178. He Wishes his Beloved Were Dead 179. He Hears the Cry of the Sedge 180. The Lover Mourns for the Loss of Love 181. He Thinks of Those Who Have Spoken Evil of his Beloved 182. The Fish 183. He Thinks of His Past Greatness When a Part of the Constellations of Heaven 184. The Poet Pleads With the Elemental Powers Appendix 1: Contents of W.B. Yeats’s volumes of poetry, 1892-1899. Appendix 2: Draft ‘Subject for Lyric’ (late 1890s).
Peter McDonald is an Irish poet and critic, whose literary criticism includes Serious Poetry: Form and Authority from Yeats to Hill (2002) and Sound Intentions: The Workings of Rhyme in Nineteenth-Century Poetry (2012). He has edited the Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice, and is the author of numerous articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetry.His own Collected Poems appeared in 2012. He is Professor of British and Irish Poetry at the University of Oxford, and Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry at Christ Church, Oxford.