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1Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John2(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples),3he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.4And he had to pass through Samaria.5So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.6Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.7A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give me a drink.8(For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.)9The Samaritan woman said to him, How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)10Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.11The woman said to him, Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?12Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.13Jesus said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.15The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.16Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband, and come here.17The woman answered him, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You are right in saying, I have no husband;18for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.19The woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.21Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.25The woman said to him, I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.26Jesus said to her, I who speak to you am he.27Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, What do you seek? or, Why are you talking with her?28So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people,29Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?30They went out of the town and were coming to him.31Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, Rabbi, eat.32But he said to them, I have food to eat that you do not know about.33So the disciples said to one another, Has anyone brought him something to eat?34Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.35Do you not say, There are yet four months, then comes the harvest? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.36Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.37For here the saying holds true, One sows and another reaps.38I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.39Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, He told me all that I ever did.40So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.41And many more believed because of his word.42They said to the woman, It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.43After the two days he departed for Galilee.44(For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.)45So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.46So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill.47When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.48So Jesus said to him, Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.49The official said to him, Sir, come down before my child dies.50Jesus said to him, Go; your son will live. The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.51As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering.52So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.53The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, Your son will live. And he himself believed, and all his household.54This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
1When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,2(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)3He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.4And he must needs go through Samaria.5Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.6Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.7There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.8(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)9Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.10Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.11The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?12Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?13Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:14But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.15The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.16Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.17The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:18For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.19The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.20Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.21Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.25The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.26Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.27And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?28The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,29Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?30Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.31In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.32But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.33Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.35Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.36And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.37And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.38I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.39And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.40So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.41And many more believed because of his own word;42And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.43Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.44For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.45Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.46So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.47When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.48Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.49The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.50Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.51And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.52Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.53So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.54This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
William Butler Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. He belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish minority that had controlled the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Ireland since at least the end of the 17th century. Most members of this minority considered themselves English people who happened to have been born in Ireland, but Yeats was staunch in affirming his Irish nationality. Although he lived in London for 14 years of his childhood (and kept a permanent home there during the first half of his adult life), Yeats maintained his cultural roots, featuring Irish legends and heroes in many of his poems and plays. He was equally firm in adhering to his self-image as an artist. This conviction led many to accuse him of elitism, but it also unquestionably contributed to his greatness. As fellow poet W.H. Auden noted in a 1948 Kenyon Review essay entitled "Yeats as an Example," Yeats accepted the modern necessity of having to make a lonely and deliberate "choice of the principles and presuppositions in terms of which [made] sense of his experience." Auden assigned Yeats the high praise of having written "some of the most beautiful poetry" of modern times.
In 1885, an important year in Yeats's early adult life, he saw his first publication, in the Dublin University Review, of his poetry and the beginning of his important interest in occultism. It was also the year that he met John O'Leary, a famous patriot who had returned to Ireland after totaling 20 years of imprisonment and exile for revolutionary nationalistic activities. O'Leary had a keen enthusiasm for Irish books, music, and ballads, and he encouraged young writers to adopt Irish subjects. Yeats, who had preferred more romantic settings and themes, soon took O'Leary's advice, producing many poems based on Irish legends, Irish folklore, and Irish ballads and songs. As he explained in a note included in the 1908 volume Collected Works in Verse and Prose of William Butler Yeats: "When I first wrote I went here and there for my subjects as my reading led me, and preferred to all other countries Arcadia and the India of romance, but presently I convinced myself ... that I should never go for the scenery of a poem to any country but my own, and I think that I shall hold to that conviction to the end."
As Yeats began concentrating his poetry on Irish subjects, he was compelled to accompany his family in moving to London at the end of 1886. There he continued to devote himself to Irish subjects, writing poems, plays, novels, and short stories—all with Irish characters and scenes. In addition, he produced book reviews, usually on Irish topics. The most important event in Yeats's life during these London years, however, was his acquaintance with Maud Gonne, a tall, beautiful, prominent young woman passionately devoted to Irish nationalism. Yeats soon fell in love with Gonne, and courted her for nearly three decades; although he eventually learned that she had already borne two children from a long affair, with Gonne's encouragement Yeats redoubled his dedication to Irish nationalism and produced such nationalistic plays as The Countess Kathleen (1892), which he dedicated to her, and Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902), which featured her as the personification of Ireland in the title role.
Gonne also shared Yeats's interest in occultism and spiritualism. Yeats had been a theosophist, but in 1890 he turned from its sweeping mystical insights and joined the Golden Dawn, a secret society that practiced ritual magic. The society offered instruction and initiation in a series of ten levels, the three highest of which were unattainable except by magi (who were thought to possess the secrets of supernatural wisdom and enjoy magically extended lives). Yeats was fascinated by the possibility of becoming a magus, and he became convinced that the mind was capable of perceiving past the limits of materialistic rationalism. Yeats remained an active member of the Golden Dawn for 32 years, becoming involved in its direction at the turn of the century and achieving the coveted sixth grade of membership in 1914, the same year that his future wife, Georgiana Hyde-Lees, also joined the society.
Although Yeats's occult ambitions were a powerful force in his private thoughts, the Golden Dawn's emphasis on the supernatural clashed with his own need—as a poet—for interaction in the physical world, and thus in his public role he preferred to follow the example of John Keats, a Romantic poet who remained—in comparison with Romantics William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley—relatively close to the materials of life. Yeats avoided what he considered the obscurity of Blake, whose poetic images came from mystical visions rather than from the familiar physical world. Even so, Yeats's visionary and idealist interests were more closely aligned with those of Blake—and Shelley—than with those of Keats, and in the 1899 collection The Wind among the Reeds he featured several poems employing occult symbolism.
Most of Yeats's poetry, however, used symbols from ordinary life and from familiar traditions, and much of his poetry in the 1890s continued to reflect his interest in Irish subjects. During this decade he also became increasingly interested in poetic techniques. He befriended English decadent poet Lionel Johnson, and in 1890 they helped found the Rhymers' Club, a group of London poets who met to read and discuss their poems. The Rhymers placed a very high value on subjectivity and craftsmanship and preferred sophisticated aestheticism to nationalism. The club's influence is reflected in the lush density of Yeats's poetry of the times, culminating in The Wind among the Reeds (1899). Although Yeats was soon to abandon that lush density, he remained permanently committed to the Rhymers' insistence that a poet should labor "at rhythm and cadence, at form and style"—as he reportedly told a Dublin audience in 1893.
The turn of the century marked Yeats's increased interest in theatre, an interest influenced by his father, a famed artist and orator whose love of highly dramatic moments in literature certainly contributed to Yeats's lifelong interest in drama. In the summer of 1897 the author enjoyed his first stay at Coole Park, the County Galway estate of Lady Augusta Gregory. There he devised, with Lady Gregory and her neighbor Edward Martyn, plans for promoting an innovative, native Irish drama. In 1899 they staged the first of three annual productions in Dublin, including Yeats's The Countess Kathleen, and in 1902 they supported a company of amateur Irish actors in staging both George Russell's Irish legend "Deirdre" and Yeats's Cathleen ni Houlihan. The success of these productions led to the founding of the Irish National Theatre Society with Yeats as president. With a wealthy sponsor volunteering to pay for the renovation of Dublin's Abbey Theatre as a permanent home for the company, the theatre opened on December 27, 1904, and included plays by the company's three directors: Lady Gregory, John M. Synge (whose 1907 production "The Playboy of the Western World" would spark controversy with its savage comic depiction of Irish rural life), and Yeats, who was represented that night with On Baile's Strand, the first of his several plays featuring heroic ancient Irish warrior Cuchulain.
During the entire first decade of the 20th century Yeats was extremely active in the management of the Abbey Theatre company, choosing plays, hiring and firing actors and managers, and arranging tours for the company. At this time he also wrote ten plays, and the simple, direct style of dialogue required for the stage became an important consideration in his poems as well. He abandoned the heavily elaborated style of The Wind among the Reeds in favor of conversational rhythms and radically simpler diction. This transformation in his poetic style can be traced in his first three collections of the 20th century: In the Seven Woods (1903), The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1910), and Responsibilities (1914). Several poems in those collections use style as their subject. For example, in "A Coat," written in 1912, Yeats derided his 1890s poetic style, saying that he had once adorned his poems with a coat "covered with embroideries / Out of old mythologies." The poem concludes with a brash announcement: "There's more enterprise / In walking naked." This departure from a conventional 19th-century manner disappointed his contemporary readers, who preferred the pleasant musicality of such familiar poems as "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," which he wrote in 1890.
Simplification was only the first of several major stylistic changes. In "Yeats as an Example?" an essay in Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968-1978, the prominent Irish poet Seamus Heaney commended Yeats for continually altering and refining his poetic craftsmanship. "He is, indeed, the ideal example for a poet approaching middle age," Heaney declared. "He reminds you that revision and slog-work are what you may have to undergo if you seek the satisfaction of finish; he bothers you with the suggestion that if you have managed to do one kind of poem in your own way, you should cast off that way and face into another area of your experience until you have learned a new voice to say that area properly."
Eventually, Yeats began experimenting as a playwright; in 1916, for instance, he adopted a deliberately esoteric, nonrealistic dramatic style based on Japanese Noh plays, a theatrical form to which he had been introduced by poet Ezra Pound. These plays were described by Yeats as "plays for dancers."
While Yeats fulfilled his duties as president of the Abbey Theatre group for the first 15 years of the 20th century, his nationalistic fervor, however, was less evident. Maud Gonne, with whom he had shared his Irish enthusiasms, had moved to Paris with her husband, exiled Irish revolutionary John MacBride, and the author was left without her important encouragement. But in 1916 he once again became a staunch exponent of the nationalist cause, inspired by the Easter Rising, an unsuccessful, six-day armed rebellion of Irish republicans against the British in Dublin. MacBride, who was now separated from Gonne, participated in the rebellion and was executed afterward. Yeats reacted by writing "Easter, 1916," an eloquent expression of his complex feelings of shock, romantic admiration, and a more realistic appraisal.
The Easter Rising contributed to Yeats's eventual decision to reside in Ireland rather than England, and his marriage to Georgie Hyde-Lees in 1917 further strengthened that resolve. Earlier, in an introductory verse to Responsibilities, he had asked his ancestors' pardon for not yet having married to continue his Irish lineage: "Although I have come close on forty-nine, / I have no child, I have nothing but a book." Once married, however, Yeats traveled with his bride to Thoor Ballylee, a medieval stone tower where the couple periodically resided. With marriage came another period of exploration into complex and esoteric subjects for Yeats. He had long been fascinated by the contrast between a person's internal and external selves—between the true person and those aspects that the person chooses to present as a representation of the self. Yeats had first mentioned the value of masks in 1910 in a simple poem, "The Mask," where a woman reminds her lover that his interest in her depends on her guise and not on her hidden, inner self. Yeats gave eloquent expression to this idea of the mask in a group of essays, Per Amica Silentia Lunae (1918): "I think all happiness depends on the energy to assume the mask of some other life, on a re-birth as something not one's self." This notion can be found in a wide variety of Yeats's poems.
Yeats also continued to explore mysticism. Only four days after the wedding, his bride began what would be a lengthy experiment with the psychic phenomenon called automatic writing, in which her hand and pen presumably served as unconscious instruments for the spirit world to send information. Yeats and his wife held more than four hundred sessions of automatic writing, producing nearly four thousand pages that Yeats avidly and patiently studied and organized. From these sessions Yeats formulated theories about life and history. He believed that certain patterns existed, the most important being what he called gyres, interpenetrating cones representing mixtures of opposites of both a personal and historical nature. He contended that gyres were initiated by the divine impregnation of a mortal woman—first, the rape of Leda by Zeus; later, the immaculate conception of Mary. Yeats found that within each 2000 year era, emblematic moments occurred at the midpoints of the 1000 year halves. At these moments of balance, he believed, a civilization could achieve special excellence, and Yeats cited as examples the splendor of Athens at 500 B.C., Byzantium at A.D. 500, and the Italian Renaissance at A.D. 1500.
Yeats further likened these historical cycles to the 28 day lunar cycle, contending that physical existence grows steadily until it reaches a maximum at the full moon (phase fifteen), which Yeats described as perfect beauty. In the remaining half of the cycle, physical existence gradually falls away, until it disappears completely at the new moon, whereupon the cycle begins again. Applying this pattern both to historical eras and to individuals' lives, Yeats observed that a person completes the phases as he advances from birth to maturity and declines toward death. Yeats further elaborated the scheme by assigning particular phases to specific types of personality, so that although each person passes through phases two through 14 and 16 through 28 during a lifetime, one phase provides an overall characterization of the individual's entire life. Yeats published his intricate and not completely systematic theories of personality and history in A Vision (1925; substantially revised in 1937), and some of the symbolic patterns (gyres, moon phases) with which he organized these theories provide important background to many of the poems and plays he wrote during the second half of his career.
During these years of Yeats's esoterica Ireland was rife with internal strife. In 1921 bitter controversies erupted within the new Irish Free State over the partition of Northern Ireland and over the wording of a formal oath of allegiance to the British Crown. These issues led to an Irish civil war, which lasted from June 1922, to May 1923. In this conflict Yeats emphatically sided with the new Irish government. He accepted a six-year appointment to the senate of the Irish Free State in December 1922, a time when rebels were kidnapping government figures and burning their homes. In Dublin, where Yeats had assumed permanent residence in 1922 (after maintaining a home for 30 years in London), the government even posted armed sentries at his door. As senator, Yeats considered himself a representative of order amid the chaotic new nation's slow progress toward stability. He was now the "sixty-year-old smiling public man" of his poem "Among School Children," which he wrote after touring an Irish elementary school. But he was also a world renowned artist of impressive stature, having received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.
Yeats's poems and plays produced during his senate term and beyond are, at once, local and general, personal and public, Irish and universal. At night the poet could "sweat with terror" (a phrase in his poem "Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen") because of the surrounding violence, but he could also generalize those terrifying realities by linking them with events in the rest of the world and with all of history. The energy of the poems written in response to these disturbing times gave astonishing power to his collection The Tower (1928), which is often considered his best single book, though The Wild Swans at Coole (1917; enlarged edition, 1919), Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921), The Tower,The Winding Stair (1929); enlarged edition, 1933), and Words for Music Perhaps and Other Poems (1932), also possess considerable merit.
Another important element of poems in both these collections and other volumes is Yeats's keen awareness of old age. Even his romantic poems from the late 1890s often mention gray hair and weariness, though those poems were written while he was still a young man. But when Yeats was nearly 60, his health began to fail and he was faced with real, rather than imaginary, "bodily decrepitude" (a phrase from "After Long Silence") and nearness to death. Nevertheless, despite the author's often keen awareness of his physical decline, the last 15 years of his life were marked by extraordinary vitality and an appetite for life. He continued to write plays, including Sophocles' King Oedipus and Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus (translations performed with masks in 1926 and 1927) and The Words upon the Window Pane (1934), a full-length work about spiritualism and the 18th century Irish writer Jonathan Swift. In 1929, as an expression of gaiety after recovering from a serious illness, he also wrote a series of brash, vigorous poems narrated by a fictitious old peasant woman, Crazy Jane. His pose as "The Wild Old Wicked Man" (the title of one of his poems) and his poetical revitalization was reflected in the title of his 1938 volume New Poems.
As Yeats aged, he saw Ireland change in ways that angered him. The Anglo-Irish Protestant minority no longer controlled Irish society and culture, and with Lady Gregory's death in 1932 and the consequent abandonment of the Coole Park estate, Yeats felt detached from the brilliant achievements of the 18th Anglo-Irish tradition. According to Yeats's unblushingly antidemocratic view, the greatness of Anglo-Irishmen such as Jonathan Swift, philosopher George Berkeley, and statesman Edmund Burke, contrasted sharply with the undistinguished commonness of contemporary Irish society, which seemed preoccupied with the interests of merchants and peasants. He stated his unpopular opinions in late plays such as Purgatory (1938) and the essays of On the Boiler (1939).
But Yeats offset his frequently brazen manner with the personal conflicts expressed in his last poems. He faced death with a courage that was founded partly on his vague hope for reincarnation and partly on his admiration for the bold heroism that he perceived in Ireland in both ancient times and the 18th century. In proud moods he could speak in the stern voice of his famous epitaph, written within six months of his death, which concludes his poem "Under Ben Bulben": "Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by!" But the bold sureness of those lines is complicated by the error-stricken cry that "distracts my thought" at the end of another late poem, "The Man and the Echo," and also by the poignantly frivolous lust for life in the last lines of "Politics," the poem that he wanted to close Last Poems: "But O that I were young again / And held her in my arms."
Throughout his last years, Yeats's creative imagination remained very much his own, isolated to a remarkable degree from the successive fashions of modern poetry despite his extensive contacts with other poets. Literary modernism held no inherent attraction for him except perhaps in its general association with youthful vigor. He admired a wide range of traditional English poetry and drama, and he simply was unconcerned that, during the last two decades of his life, his preference for using rhyme and strict stanza forms would set him apart from the vogue of modern poetry. Yeats's allegiance to poetic tradition did not extend, however, to what he considered an often obscure, overly learned use of literary and cultural traditions by T. S. Eliot and Pound. Yeats deplored the tremendous enthusiasm among younger poets for Eliot's The Waste Land, published in 1922. Disdaining Eliot's flat rhythms and cold, dry mood, Yeats wanted all art to be full of energy. He felt that the literary traditions furnishing Eliot with so many allusions and quotations should only be included in a poem if those traditions had so excited the individual poet's imagination that they could become poetic ingredients of the sort Yeats described in "The Tower": "Poet's imaginings / And memories of love, / Memories of the words of women, / All those things whereof / Man makes a superhuman / Mirror-resembling dream."
Yeats wanted poetry to engage the full complexity of life, but only insofar as the individual poet's imagination had direct access to experience or thought and only insofar as those materials were transformed by the energy of artistic articulation. He was, from first to last, a poet who tried to transform the local concerns of his own life by embodying them in the resonantly universal language of his poems. His brilliant rhetorical accomplishments, strengthened by his considerable powers of rhythm and poetic phrase, have earned wide praise from readers and, especially, from fellow poets, including W. H. Auden (who praised Yeats as the savior of English lyric poetry), Stephen Spender, Theodore Roethke, and Philip Larkin. It is not likely that time will diminish his achievements.