Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition

Background details and bibliographic information

To a Shade

Author: William Butler Yeats

File Description

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by Beatrix Färber, Juliette Maffet

Funded by School of History, University College, Cork

1. First draft.

Extent of text: 590 words


CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork
College Road, Cork, Ireland—


Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: E910001-008

Availability [RESTRICTED]

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.


  1. A bibliography is available online at the official web site of the Nobel Prize. See:
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. William Butler Yeats To a Shade in , Ed. William Butler Yeats Responsibilities and other Poems. The Macmillan Company, New York, (1916) 36–38


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The whole selection.

Editorial Declaration


Text has been proof-read twice.


The electronic text represents the edited text. Lines (or parts of them) reproduced in italics in the printed edition are tagged hi rend="ital".


The editorial practice of the hard-copy editor has been retained.


div0 =the poem, stanzas are marked lg.


Names of persons (given names), and places are not tagged. Terms for cultural and social roles are not tagged.

Profile Description

Created: By William Butler Yeats (1865–1939). (September 1914)

Use of language

Language: [EN] The poem is in English.

Revision History

Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E910001-008

To a Shade: Author: William Butler Yeats


September 29th, 1914
  1. If you have revisited the town, thin Shade,
    Whether to look upon your monument
    (I wonder if the builder has been paid)
    Or happier thoughted when the day is spent
    To drink of that salt breath out of the sea
    When grey gulls flit about instead of men,
    And the gaunt houses put on majesty:
    Let these content you and be gone again;
    For they are at their old tricks yet.
    A man
    Of your own passionate serving kind who had brought


    In his full hands what, had they only known,
    Had given their children's children loftier thought,
    Sweeter emotion, working in their veins
    Like gentle blood, has been driven from the place,
    And insult heaped upon him for his pains
    And for his open-handedness, disgrace;
    An old foul mouth that slandered you had set
    The pack upon him.
    Go, unquiet wanderer,
    And gather the Glasnevin coverlet
    About your head till the dust stops your ear,
    The time for you to taste of that salt breath
    And listen at the corners has not come;


    You had enough of sorrow before death—
    Away, away! You are safer in the tomb.