Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E890001-001

Rosa Alchemica

Author: W. B. Yeats

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Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by Beatrix Färber

Funded by School of History, University College, Cork

1. First draft

Extent of text: 8920 words


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Text ID Number: E890001-001

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The works by W. B. Yeats are in the public domain. This electronic text is available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of private or academic research and teaching.


First published 1896 in the journal The Savoy, which version has some additional information about Michael Robartes at the start of the story. It is cited by Gorski (p 77) from the Variorum Edition of 'The Secret Rose' (p 126) as follows: "A few years ago an extraordinary religious frenzy took hold upon the peasantry of a remote Connemara headland; and a number of eccentric men and women, who had turned an old customhouse into a kind of college, were surprised at prayer, as it was then believed, by a mob of fishermen, stone masons, and small farmers, and beaten to death with stones, which were heaped up close at hand to be ready for the next breach in the wave-battered pier. Vague rumours of pagan ceremonies and mysterious idolatries had for some time drifted among the cabins; and the indignation of the ignorant had been further inflamed by a priest, unfrocked for drunkenness, who had preached by the road-side of the secret coming of the Anti-Christ. I first heard of these unfortunates, on whom the passion for universal ideas, which distinguishes the Celtic and Latin races, was to bring so dreadful a martyrdom, but a few weeks before the end."


  1. [Details to follow].
    Editions and translations
  1. W. B. Yeats, The Collected Works of William Butler Yeats, vol. 7 (Stratford-on-Avon 1908).
  2. W. B. Yeats, Stories of Red Hanrahan, The Secret Rose, Rosa Alchemica (New York 1914).
  3. W. B. Yeats, Die chymische Rose. Translated into German by Herberth E. Herlitschka (Hellerau 1927).
    Further reading
  1. W.B. Yeats, The Body of Father Christian Rosencrux, in Essays and Introductions.
  2. W.B. Yeats, The Tables of the Law (1896/97), in Essays and Introductions.
  3. W.B. Yeats, Adoration of the Magi (1896/97), in Essays and Introductions.
  4. W.B. Yeats, The Autumn of the Body (1898), in Essays and Introductions.
  5. W.B. Yeats, The Two Kinds of Ascetism, in Essays and Introductions.
    Literature (a small selection)
  1. W. B. Yeats, The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats, consisting of Reveries over childhood and youth, The trembling of the veil, and Dramatis personae (New York 1938).
  2. Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks. Corrected edition with a new preface (Oxford 1979). [First published New York 1948; reprinted London 1961.]
  3. Peter Allt and Russell K. Alspach, The Variorum Edition of the Poems of W.B. Yeats (New York: Macmillan 1957).
  4. W. B. Yeats, Essays and Introductions (New York: Macmillan 1961).
  5. W. B. Yeats, Explorations: selected by Mrs W. B.Yeats (London/New York: Macmillan 1962).
  6. Richard Ellmann, The Identity of Yeats (New York 1964).
  7. Robert O'Driscoll and Lorna Reynolds, Yeats and the Occult (Toronto 1975).
  8. B. J. T. Dobbs, The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy (Cambridge: CUP 1975).
  9. Mary Catherine Flannery, Yeats and Magic: the Earlier Works (London 1977).
  10. Kevin McGrath, ''Rosa Alchemica': Pater Scrutinized and Alchemized', Yeats-Eliot Review 5:2 (1978) 13–20.
  11. James Lovic Allen, 'Life as Art: Yeats and the Alchemical Quest' Studies in Literary Imagination 14, no. 1 (Spring 1981) 17–42.
  12. Daniel O'Hara, Tragic Knowledge: Yeats, Autobiography and Hermeneutics (New York 1981).
  13. W. B. Yeats, The Variorum Edition of 'The Secret Rose', Stories by W. B. Yeats, edited by Phillip L. Marcus, Warwick Gould, and MIchael J. Sidnell (Ithaca: Cornell University Press 1981).
  14. William H. O'Donnell, A Guide to the Prose Fiction of W.B. Yeats (Ann Arbor 1983).
  15. Norman Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B. Yeats (Stanford 1984).
  16. Kathleen Raine, Yeats the Initiate (London 1986).
  17. Steven Putzel, Reconstructing Yeats: The secret rose and The wind among the reeds (Dublin 1986).
  18. William T. Gorski, Yeats and Alchemy (New York 1996).
  19. Helen Vendler, Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form (Oxford/New York 2007).
  20. A general bibliography is available online at the official web site of the Nobel Prize. See:
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. W. B. Yeats, Stories of Red Hanrahan, The Secret Rose, Rosa Alchemica. William Butler Yeats First edition [v + 231 pp.] MacmillanNew York (1914)


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The electronic text covers pages 191–231. Any text supplied at CELT is marked sup resp="BF".

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Created: By W. B. Yeats (1852–1913) (1896)

Use of language

Language: [EN] The text is in English.
Language: [LA] A few words are in Latin.

Revision History