William Butler Yeats


William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin on the 13th of June 1865. His father, John, was a well known Irish painter.

Though his family moved to London when he was two years old he spent much of his childhood in Sligo with his grandparents.

This upbringing in Sligo formed the setting for many of his poems in later life.

Yeat’s writing drew from Irish mythology and folklore.

The love of his life was Maud Gonne, a passionate Irish nationalist.

Despite Maud Gonne marrying another man, she remained a powerful figure in his poetry.

Yeats had a life-long interest in mysticism and the occult.

He was appointed a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 and he died on the 28th of January 1939 at the age of 73.

He was buried in France at the time of his death but he was reinterred at Drumcliffe, Co. Sligo in 1948.

His epitaph is taken from the last lines of ‘Under Ben Bulben’, one of the last poems he wrote:


Cast a cold Eye,
On Life, on Death.
Horseman, pass by.

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