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Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen

Author: William Butler Yeats

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Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by Beatrix Färber, Rebecca Daly

Funded by School of History, University College, Cork

1. First draft.

Extent of text: 1737 words


CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork
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Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: E910001-058

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.


Written in 1919; first published in the Dial in September 1921. In the London Mercury (Nov 1921) it was entitled 'Thoughts upon the Present State of the World'. (A. Norman Jeffares, p. 273).


    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. Toby A. Foshay, 'Yeats's 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen': Chronology, Chronography and Chronic Misreading', in Journal of Narrative Technique, 13.2 (Spring 1983) 100–108.
  8. A. Norman Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W. B. Yeats (Stanford 1984).
  9. David B. McWhirter, 'The Rhythm of the Body in Yeats' 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen'', in College Literature, 13.1 (1986) 44–54.
  10. Jefferson Holdridge, Those Mingled Seas: The Poetry of W. B. Yeats, the Beautiful and the Sublime (Dublin 2000).
  11. Rob Doggett, 'Writing out (Of) Chaos: Constructions of History in Yeats's 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen' and 'Meditations in Time of Civil War'', in Twentieth Century Literature, 47.2 (Summer 2001) 137–168.
  12. Helen Vendler, Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form (Oxford/New York 2007).
  13. Rebecca Sheehan, 'Competing with 'The Barbarous Clangour of a Gong': Why 'Theme of the Traitor and the Hero' Begins in 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen'', in Journal of Modern Literature 32.3 (Spring 2009) 22–38.
  14. A general 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 Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen in , Ed. Richard J. Finneran The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats. Macmillan Press, London, (1991) page 206–210


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The whole poem.

Editorial Declaration


The text has been proof-read twice.


The electronic text represents the edited text.


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


div0= the individual 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: (1919)

Use of language

Language: [EN] The poem is in English.

Revision History

Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E910001-058

Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen: Author: William Butler Yeats


  1. Many ingenious lovely things are gone
    That seemed sheer miracle to the multitude,


    Protected from the circle of the moon
    That pitches common things about. There stood
    Amid the ornamental bronze and stone
    An ancient image made of olive wood —
    And gone are Phidias' famous ivories
    And all the golden grasshoppers and bees.
  1. When Loie Fuller's Chinese dancers enwound
    A shining web, a floating ribbon of cloth,
    It seemed that a dragon of air
    Had fallen among dancers, had whirled them round
    Or hurried them off on its own furious path;
    So the Platonic Year
    Whirls out new right and wrong,
    Whirls in the old instead;
    All men are dancers and their tread
    Goes to the barbarous clangour of a gong.
  1. Some moralist or mythological poet
    Compares the solitary soul to a swan;
    I am satisfied with that,
    Satisfied if a troubled mirror show it,
    Before that brief gleam of its life be gone,
    An image of its state;
    The wings half spread for flight,
    The breast thrust out in pride
    Whether to play, or to ride
    Those winds that clamour of approaching night.

  2. p.209

  1. We, who seven yeats ago
    Talked of honour and of truth,
    Shriek with pleasure if we show
    The weasel's twist, the weasel's tooth.
  1. Come let us mock at the great
    That had such burdens on the mind
    And toiled so hard and late
    To leave some monument behind,
    Nor thought of the levelling wind.
  1. Violence upon the roads: violence of horses;
    Some few have handsome riders, are garlanded
    On delicate sensitive ear or tossing mane,
    But wearied running round and round in their courses
    All break and vanish, and evil gathers head:
    Herodias' daughters have returned again,
    A sudden blast of dusty wind and after
    Thunder of feet, tumult of images,
    Their purpose in the labyrinth of the wind;
    And should some crazy hand dare touch a daughter
    All turn with amorous cries, or angry cries,
    According to the wind, for all are blind.
    But now wind drops, dust settles; thereupon
    There lurches past, his great eyes without thought
    Under the shadow of stupid straw-pale locks,
    That insolent fiend Robert Artisson
    To whom the love-lorn Lady Kyteler brought
    Bronzed peacock feathers, red combs of her cocks.