To Some I Have Talked with by the Fire

William Butler Yeats
  • William Butler Yeats
  • While I wrought out these fitful Danaan rhymes,
  • My heart would brim with dreams about the times
  • When we bent down above the fading coals;
  • And talked of the dark folk, who live in souls
  • Of passionate men, like bats in the dead trees;
  • And of the wayward twilight companies,
  • Who sigh with mingled sorrow and content,
  • Because their blossoming dreams have never bent
  • Under the fruit of evil and of good:
  • And of the embattled flaming multitude
  • Who rise, wing above wing, flame above flame,
  • And, like a storm, cry the Ineffable Name,
  • And with the clashing of their sword blades make
  • A rapturous music, till the morning break,
  • And the white hush end all, but the loud beat
  • Of their long wings, the flash of their white feet.

The Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) was among the most notable and best loved English language poets of the 20th Century and has been a major influence on English-language poets ever since. Although he is often accepted among the modernists as one of their own, his poetry tends to be more traditional, with its roots in the late Victorian poetry of the 19th Century. Danaan were considered supernatural, angelic beings in ancient Celtic folklore and Yeats, certainly in the early years of his career, was enamored of and drew heavily upon such traditional Celtic myths. “To Some I Have Talked with by the Fire” was originally published in his second collection,
The Rose, published in 1893. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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