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 This edition of Yeats’s poetry presents all his verse, both published and unpublished, including a generous selection of textual variants from the many manuscript and printed sources.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.
This first volume collects Yeats’s poetry of the 1880s, from his ambitious and extensive juvenilia (including hitherto little-noticed dramatic poems) to his earliest published pieces, leading to his first substantial book of verse. The pastoral romance of classically-inflected early work like ‘The Island of Statues’ is succeeded in these years by the Irish mythic material that finds its largest canvas in the mini-epic ‘The Wanderings of Oisin’. In Yeats’s work through the 1880s, an adolescent poet’s youthful absorption in Romantic poetry is replaced by a commitment to esoteric religious speculation and Irish political Nationalism. This edition allows readers to see Yeats’s emergence as a poet step by step in compelling detail, in relation to his literary influences – including, significantly, the Anglo-Irish poetry of the nineteenth century. The commentary provides an extensive view of Yeats’s developing personal, cultural, and historical worlds as the poems gain is maturity and depth. From the first attempts at verse of a teenage boy, to the fully accomplished writings of an original poet standing on the verge of popular success with poems such as ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, Yeats’s poetry is displayed here in unprecedented fullness and detail.
Table of Contents
- [‘A flower has blossomed…’] 2. The Old Grey Man 3. Child’s Play 4. [‘I sat upon a high gnarled root’] 5. [‘A double moon or more ago’] 6. [Fragment of opening scene of an abandoned verse-play] 7. The Priest of Pan 8. Inscription for a Christmas card 9. Pan 10. [‘The world is but a strange romance’] 11. Sunrise 12. The Dell 13. [‘Tower wind-beaten, grim’] 14. [Dramatic fragment] 15. Vivien and Time 16. [‘As me upon my way the tram-car whirled’] 17. [‘Death hath ta’en my child to nurse’] 18. [‘My song thou knowest of a dreaming castle’] 19. [Speech from the opening of an abandoned dramatic poem] 20. [‘When to its end o’er-ripened July nears’’] 21. Fragment (‘I raise to thee no praying voice’) 22. [‘The children play in white and red’] 23. [‘Behold the man’] 24. [‘A soul of the fountain spake me a word’] 25. [‘A sound came floating, an unearthly sound’] 26. Love and Death 27. Unused scene from Love and Death 28. Song of the Faeries 29. [‘Mong meadows of sweet grain’] 30. Sansloy – Sansfoy – Sansjoy 31. [Love and Sorrow] 32. Mosada 33. [‘For clapping hands of all men’s love’] 34. The Magpie 35. The Island of Statues: An Arcadian Faery Tale – in Two Acts 36. ‘The Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes’ 37. [‘Truth is bold, but falsehood fears’ ] 38. Fragment (‘And Helen’s eyes’) 39. Love’s Decay 40. The Field Mouse 41. Time and the Witch Vivien 42. [Hushed in the vale of Dajestan’] 43. An old and solitary one 44. A Song of Sunset 45. Love and Death 46. [‘The dew comes dropping’] 47. From ‘The Village of the Elms’ 48. The Seeker: A Dramatic Poem – in Two Scenes 49. The Song of the Happy Shepherd 50. In a Drawing-Room 51. Life 52. The Sad Shepherd 53. The Two Titans: A Political Poem 54. [‘There sings a rose by the rim’] 55. The Priest and the Fairy 56. Kanva on Himself 57. On Mr. Nettleship’s Picture at the Royal Hibernian Academy 58. The Meditation of the Old Fisherman 59. The Falling of the Leaves 60. The Stolen Child 61. To – (Remembrance) 62. The Indian upon God 63. An Indian Song 64. Song of Spanish Insurgents 65. Quatrains and Aphorisms 66. The Fairy Pedant 67. A Dawn-Song 68. Anashuya and Vijaya 69. King Goll: An Irish Legend 70. [‘How beautiful thy colours are…’] 71. The Ballad of Moll Magee 72. How Ferencz Renya Kept Silent 73. Love Song: From the Gaelic 74. She who Dwelt among the Sycamores. A Fancy 75. The Protestants’ Leap 76. Ephemera 77. The Fairy Doctor 78. Girl’s Song 79. [‘Wherever in the wastes of wrinkling sand’] 80. A Lover’s Quarrel among the Fairies 81. The Wanderings of Oisin and How a Demon Trapped Him 82. King Goll (Third Century) 83. A Legend 84. Down by the Salley Gardens 85. The Ballad of Father O’ Hart 86. The Phantom Ship 87. Street Dancers 88. To an Isle in the Water 89. The Lake Isle of Innisfree 90. In the Firelight 91. The Outlaw’s Bridal: Ireland, 16** 92. In Church 93. A Summer Evening 94. The Ballad of the Foxhunter 95. Who Goes with Fergus? Appendix 1: Contents of The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems (1889) Appendix 2: Initial prose draft of The Island of Statues
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 in the University of Oxford, and Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry at Christ Church, Oxford.