A Short Analysis of W, B. Yeats’s ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’

A summary of a classic Yeats poem by Dr Oliver Tearle

The poetry of Yeats often touches upon the idea of chucking it all away and heading off somewhere. In ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, one of his most popular poems, the ageing poet takes himself off to the Turkish city in search of spiritual fulfilment and retraining. But one of Yeats’s other best-known poems about moving on to another place is ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, a poem which first appeared in Yeats’s 1893 collection The Rose, when Yeats was still a young man in his late twenties. What follows is the poem, along with some notes towards an analysis of its meaning the language.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

Read more