Drinking and singing with Yeats

Sunday, 14 June, 2015

“Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry” said W.H. Auden to W. B. Yeats, who was born 150 years ago yesterday. He was one of the great figures of 20th century letters and no greater tribute can be paid to the man than to say that his verse is filled with eternal verity.

A Drinking Song

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.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

W. B. Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)

Comments (1)

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  1. Henry Barth says:

    As we all know, or should, Yeats fell in love with Maud Gonne; she was the model for the heroine of his play ‘Cathleen ni Houlihan.’ She became a speaker for the Land League, later was a founding member of Sinn Fein and co-founded the Daughters of Erin [1900-1914]. She edited a nationalist newspaper ‘L’Irlande Libre’ in Paris.

    Less known is that she employed Kathleen Behan [mother of Brendan Behan and Dominic Behan] as a maid in her house in St. Stephen’s Green, where she often met Yeats. Yeats always called her ‘Kitty,’ which she hated.

    Kathleen it was who stated that Maud always referred to Yeats as ‘Silly Willy”.

    Bendan has a chapter on his mother and Yeats and Yeats’ intense dislike of parsnips in ‘Brendan Behan’s Island’ (1962)