The Irish in America

DAY 24: W.B. Yeats

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Think I am running out of favorite things? Not a chance! I have saved the best for the last seven days.


William Butler Yeats has been my favorite Irish poet for a long time. I guess I am not very original in my love for Yeats, but I don’t care. It just does not get any better.

In college I had to memorize and recite a poem in a literature course. This assignment mortified me, but I chose this poem, and everything was fine.

For Anne Gregory

by William Butler Yeats

“Never shall a young man,
Thrown into despair
By those great honey-coloured
Ramparts at your ear,
Love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.”

“But I can get a hair-dye
And set such colour there,
Brown, or black, or carrot,
That young men in despair
May love me for myself alone
And not my yellow hair.”

“I heard an old religious man
But yesternight declare
That he had found a text to prove
That only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.”

Yeats' Grave at Drumcliff churchyard, Sligo

Yeats’ Grave at Drumcliff churchyard, Sligo


Author: Aine

I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My heritage pretty much covers the map of Ireland: great-great-grandparents from Cork (Crowley, Foley, Regan), a great-great-grandmother from Clare (Quinn), a great-great-grandfather from Fermanagh (McMahon) and his wife's parents from Mayo (McAndrew), a great-grandmother from Connemara (Hannon) married to my great-grandfather from Laois (McCormack), great-grandparents from Sligo (Flannery), and a great-grandmother from Kildare (Hill). All of those people ended up in Minnesota, where my four grandparents were born. Three and four generations after my people left Ireland for America, I retain all Irish heritage. So much for the melting pot...

One thought on “DAY 24: W.B. Yeats

  1. At last I know that this is a poem by Yeats! I’ve heard lines from it all my life, and I’ve studied Yeats . . . but I never did put the two together. Very nice, and thank you.

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