Time for a restorative sojourn on a hidden tropical island

William Butler Yeats in his youthful poetry conceived dream worlds based on ancient Indian, Greek, and Irish myths and legends. In these early poems he forthrightly asserts the validity of the realm of the imagination against modern utilitarian reality with its “grey truth.” The below poem, “The Indian To His Love,” was first written when Yeats was about twenty, though he revised it repeatedly in later editions until it became this. Notice how the two lovers’ projected happy existence on the dreaming island turns into their death, and how their death is a continuation of their life.

The Indian To His Love
From Crossways (1889)

The island dreams under the dawn
And great boughs drop tranquillity;
The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
A parrot sways upon a tree,
Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.

Here we will moor our lonely ship
And wander ever with woven hands,
Murmuring softly lip to lip,
Along the grass, along the sands,
Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:

How we alone of mortals are
Hid under quiet boughs apart,
While our love grows an Indian star,
A meteor of the burning heart,
One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam and dart,

The heavy boughs, the burnished dove
That moans and sighs a hundred days:
How when we die our shades will rove,
When eve has hushed the feathered ways,
With vapoury footsole by the water’s drowsy blaze.


A reader writes:

I’m not much of a poetry fan, but I really liked the Yeats poem.

LA replies:

If you liked such a romantic and ethereal poem, then you definitely have an Inner Poetry Fan. It’s up to you whether you want to get in touch with him or not.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 12, 2011 02:01 PM | Send

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