Yeats on Spenser

  • A. G. Stock


Even as a young man, dedicated to poetry though he was, Yeats could never keep wholly aloof from the world. He was full of convictions and social passion which he could not help taking seriously although his conscience, his father and his companions of the Cheshire Cheese combined to tell him that it was treason to the goddess. Between 1887 and 1902 he formulated to himself most of the leading ideas that were to serve him for the rest of his life. They were kept out of his poetry till much later, because as he said, it took time to distinguish ‘truths that belong to us from opinions caught up in casual irritation or momentary fantasy’,1 but they are scattered through the prose writings of those years, and often one can see the process of sifting and integrating at work. It took shape against a background meditation on poetry which, because it was continuous and was the centre of all his thinking, was as much a part of his formative experience as his encounters with the men, women and events of the world around him.


Common People True Mission Singing Voice Technical Secret Nationalist Politics 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1965

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  • A. G. Stock

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