27 Invaluable William Butler Yeats Quotes

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and a formidable figure in 20th century literature. Yeats is best known for helping to find the Abbey Theatre and was the driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival. Yeats later went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923. Here is a look at some of the most notable William Butler Yeats quotes ever documented.

“All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.”

“And say my glory was I had such friends.”

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

“Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”

“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”


“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

“Everything exists, everything is true and the earth is just a bit of dust beneath our feet.”

“For he would be thinking of love Till the stars had run away and the shadows eaten the moon.”

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”

“Hearts are not to be had as a gift, hearts are to be earned.”

“I bring you with reverent hands the books of my numberless dreams.”

“I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

“In dreams begin responsibilities.”

“Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet.”

“Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.”

“Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.”

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

“The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.”

“There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet.”

“There is another world, but it is in this one.”

“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”

“To long a sacrifice can make a stone of a heart.”

“Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold.”

“We taste and feel and see the truth. We do not reason ourselves into it.”

“What can be explained is not poetry.”

Here is a brief biography of William Butler Yeats life and work.