The Poems of W.B. Yeats : Volume Three: 1899-1910 book cover
1st Edition

The Poems of W.B. Yeats
Volume Three: 1899-1910

Edited By

Peter McDonald

  • Available for pre-order on April 12, 2023. Item will ship after May 3, 2023
ISBN 9781032419251
May 3, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
640 Pages

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Book Description

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 This edition of Yeats’s poetry presents all his verse, both published and unpublished, including a generous selection of textual variants from the many manuscript and printed sources.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 third volume, Yeats’s poetry of the first decade on the twentieth century is brought into sharp focus, revealing the extent of his efforts to re-fashion a style that had already made him a well-known poet. All of the major modes in Yeats’s earlier work are subject to radical re-imagining in these years, from poetic narrative founded in Irish myth, in poems such as ‘Baile and Aillinn’ and ‘The Old Age of Queen Maeve’, to the symbolist drama-poetry of The Shadowy Waters, here edited in its two (completely different) versions of 1900 and 1906. In a decade when the theatre was one of Yeats’s principal concerns, his lyric poems, which were becoming increasingly explicit in personal terms, began to discover new intensities of conversational pitch and mythic resonance. Poems such as ‘The Folly of Being Comforted’, ‘Adam’s Curse’, ‘No Second Troy’, and ‘The Fascination of What’s Difficult’ are given close attention in this new edition, alongside topical and epigrammatic pieces that are often passed over in accounts of Yeats’s development. The evolving complexities of Yeats’s personal and political lives are crucial to his artistic development in these years, and the commentary gives these generous attention, showing how the poetry both feeds upon and often transcends the circumstances of its composition. The volume offers strong evidence for this decade as a crucial one in Yeats’s poetic life, in which the poet created wholly new registers for his verse as well as new dimensions for his imaginative vision.

Table of Contents

A Note From the General Editors


Chronology of WB Yeats’s Life and Publications, 1899-1910

List of Abbreviations





185 The Song of Heffernan the Blind: A Translation

186 The Shadowy Waters (1900)

187 The Withering of the Boughs

188 Under the Moon

189 [‘I walked among the Seven Woods of Coole’]

190 Baile and Aillinn

191 Yellow Haired Donough

192 [‘Do not make a great keening’]

193 The Blood Bond

194 Spinning Song

195 The Folly of Being Comforted

196 The Players ask for a Blessing on the Psalteries and on Themselves

197 The Arrow

198 Red Hanrahan’s Song about Ireland

199 The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water

200 In the Seven Woods

201 The Old Age of Queen Maeve

202 Adam’s Curse

203 The Happy Townland

204 O Do Not Love Too Long

205 [‘I heard under a ragged hollow wood’]

206 Old Memory

207 Never give all the heart

208 Song from Deirdre I

209 The Ragged Wood

210 The Harp of Aengus

211 The Shadowy Waters

212 [‘Come ride and ride to the garden’]

213 Against Witchcraft

214 Song from Deirdre III

215 Song from Deirdre II

216 [‘The friends that have it I do wrong’]

217 Maid Quiet

218 [‘O Death’s old bony finger’]

219 An Appointment

220 [‘Accursed who brings to light of day’]

221 His Dream

222 All things can tempt me

223 At Galway races

224 Reconciliation

225 No Second Troy

226 Words

227 [‘My dear is angry that of late’]

228 On a certain middle-aged office holder

229 A Friend’s illness

230 On George Moore

231 The Coming of Wisdom with Time

232 To a Poet, who would have me Praise certain Bad Poets, Imitators of His and Mine

233 Upon a House Shaken by the Land Agitation

234 The Fascination of What’s Difficult

235 [‘Irishmen, if they prefer’]

236 King and No King

237 A drinking song

238 On those that hated ‘The Playboy of the Western World’, 1907

239 A Woman Homer Sung

240 Peace

241 Against Unworthy Praise

242 These are the Clouds

243 The Mask

244 [‘But every powerful life goes on its way…’]

245 Brown Penny


Appendix 1: Contents of W.B. Yeats’s Volumes of Poetry, 1899-1910

Appendix 2: Prefatory Material by W.B. Yeats in Collections of Poetry, 1899-1910

Index of Poems

Index of First Lines

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Peter McDonald is an Irish poet and critic. He has published eight books of poetry, including his Collected Poems (2012), and four books of criticism, including Sound Intentions: The Workings of Rhyme in Nineteenth-Century Poetry (2012). He has edited several critical collections, and is the author of numerous articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetry. He has taught at the Universities of Cambridge, Bristol, and Oxford, where he became Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry in 1999. Since 2016, he has been Professor of British and Irish Poetry at the University of Oxford.