The Celtic Twilight

Best known for his poetry, William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) was also a dedicated exponent of Irish folklore. Yeats took a particular interest in the tales' mythic and magical roots. The Celtic Twilight ventures into the eerie and puckish world of fairies, ghosts, and spirits. "This handful of dreams," as the author referred to it, first appeared in 1893, and its title refers to the pre-dawn hours, when the Druids performed their rituals. It consists of stories recounted to the poet by his friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. Yeats' faithful transcription of their narratives includes his own visionary experiences, appended to the storytellers' words as a form of commentary.

Time drops in decay
Like a candle burnt out.
And the mountains and woods
Have their day, have their day;
But, kindly old rout
Of the fire-born moods,
You pass not away.

THE HOSTING OF THE SIDHE

The host is riding from Knocknarea,And over the grave of Clooth-na-bare;Caolte tossing his burnin...

THIS BOOK

I I have desired, like every artist, to create a little world out of the beautiful, pleasant, an...

A TELLER OF TALES

Many of the tales in this book were told me by one Paddy Flynn, a little bright-eyed old man, who...

BELIEF AND UNBELIEF

There are some doubters even in the western villages. One woman told me last Christmas that she d...

MORTAL HELP

One hears in the old poems of men taken away to help the gods in a battle, and Cuchullan won the ...

A VISIONARY

A young man came to see me at my lodgings the other night, and began to talk of the making of the...

VILLAGE GHOSTS

In the great cities we see so little of the world, we drift into our minority. In the little town...

"DUST HATH CLOSED HELEN'S EYE"

I I have been lately to a little group of houses, not many enough to be called a village, in the...

A KNIGHT OF THE SHEEP

Away to the north of Ben Bulben and Cope's mountain lives "a strong farmer," a knight of the shee...

AN ENDURING HEART

One day a friend of mine was making a sketch of my Knight of the Sheep. The old man's daughter wa...

THE SORCERERS

In Ireland we hear but little of the darker powers,1 and come across any who have seen them even ...

THE DEVIL

My old Mayo woman told me one day that something very bad had come down the road and gone into th...

HAPPY AND UNHAPPY THEOLOGIANS

I A mayo woman once said to me, "I knew a servant girl who hung herself for the love of God. She...

THE LAST GLEEMAN

Michael Moran was born about 1794 off Black Pitts, in the Liberties of Dublin, in Faddle Alley. A...

REGINA, REGINA PIGMEORUM, VENI

One night a middle-aged man, who had lived all his life far from the noise of cab-wheels, a young...

"AND FAIR, FIERCE WOMEN"

One day a woman that I know came face to face with heroic beauty, that highest beauty which Blake...

ENCHANTED WOODS

I Last summer, whenever I had finished my day's work, I used to go wandering in certain roomy wo...

MIRACULOUS CREATURES

There are marten cats and badgers and foxes in the Enchanted Woods, but there are of a certainty ...

ARISTOTLE OF THE BOOKS

The friend who can get the wood-cutter to talk more readily than he will to anybody else went lat...

THE SWINE OF THE GODS

A few years ago a friend of mine told me of something that happened to him when he was a. young m...

A VOICE

One day I was walking over a bit of marshy ground close to Inchy Wood when I felt, all of a sudde...

KIDNAPPERS

A little north of the town of Sligo, on the southern side of Ben Bulben, some hundreds of feet ab...

THE UNTIRING ONES

It is one of the great troubles of life that we cannot have any unmixed emotions. There is always...

EARTH, FIRE AND WATER

Some French writer that I read when I was a boy, said that the desert went into the heart of the ...

THE OLD TOWN

I fell, one night some fifteen years ago, into what seemed the power of faery. I had gone with a...

THE MAN AND HIS BOOTS

There was a doubter in Donegal, and he would not hear of ghosts or sheogues, and there was a hous...

A COWARD

One day I was at the house of my friend the strong farmer, who lives beyond Ben Bulben and Cope's...

THE THREE O'BYRNES AND THE EVIL FAERIES

In the dim kingdom there is a great abundance of all excellent things. There is more love there t...

DRUMCLIFF AND ROSSES

Drumcliff and Rosses were, are, and ever shall be, please Heaven! places of unearthly resort. I h...

THE THICK SKULL OF THE FORTUNATE

I Once a number of Icelandic peasantry found a very thick skull in the cemetery where the poet E...

THE RELIGION OF A SAILOR

A sea captain when he stands upon the bridge, or looks out from his deck-house, thinks much about...

CONCERNING THE NEARNESS TOGETHER OF HEAVEN, EARTH, AND PURGATORY

In Ireland this world and the world we go to after death are not far apart. I have heard of a gho...

THE EATERS OF PRECIOUS STONES

Sometimes when I have been shut off from common interests, and have for a little forgotten to be ...

OUR LADY OF THE HILLS

When we were children we did not say at such a distance from the post- office, or so far from the...

THE GOLDEN AGE

A while ago I was in the train, and getting near Sligo. The last time I had been there something ...

A REMONSTRANCE WITH SCOTSMEN FOR HAVING SOURED THE DISPOSITION OF THEIR GHOSTS AND FAERIES

Not only in Ireland is faery belief still extant. It was only the other day I heard of a Scottish...

WAR

When there was a rumour of war with France a while ago, I met a poor Sligo woman, a soldier's wid...

THE QUEEN AND THE FOOL

I have heard one Hearne, a witch-doctor, who is on the border of Clare and Galway, say that in "e...

THE FRIENDS OF THE PEOPLE OF FAERY

Those that see the people of faery most often, and so have the most of their wisdom, are often ve...

DREAMS THAT HAVE NO MORAL

The friend who heard about Maive and the hazel-stick went to the workhouse another day. She found...

BY THE ROADSIDE

Last night I went to a wide place on the Kiltartan road to listen to some Irish songs. While I wa...

INTO THE TWILIGHT

    Out-worn heart, in a time out-worn,    Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;    Laugh, h...