Yeats’s “Written Speech”: Writing, Hearing and Performance

  • Michael J. Sidnell
Part of the Yeats Annuals book series (YA)


The phrase borrowed for the title of this talk,1 appears in “Upon a House shaken by the Land Agitation” (VP 264). In this poem, written in 1910, Yeats laments the threat posed to Lady Gregory’s estate by a judicial reduction in the rents paid by her tenants. The physical ruin of the big house is contemplated and, beyond and above that, its aristocratic traditions and style of which the culmination is, in Yeats’s oxymoronic figure, “a written speech”. This is said to be ‘gradual Time’s last gift⋯ / Wrought of high laughter, loveliness and ease’, and it is made, he says, only to those who are already endowed with the “gifts that govern men”.


Natural Speech Late Revision Poetic Language Lyric Poetry Irish Language 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Sidnell

There are no affiliations available

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