Popular quotes: The meaning an history behind "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."
"But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have
spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."
-- W.B. Yeats
William Butler Yeats (18651939), winner of the
1923 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in
Dublin, Ireland and educated in London and Dublin. He was a leading figure in
the Irish Literary Revival (a late 19th and early 20th-century movement that
aimed to revive ancient Irish folklore, legends, and traditions in new literary
works) who, with his patron, founded the Irish Literary Theatre in
1899 and was a director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. From 1922-28 he was
also a senator of the Irish Free State*.
In 1888 he published The Wanderings of Oisin, a long narrative poem
that established his reputation; and in 1893 he published The Celtic Twilight,
a book of peasant legends. In total, he wrote nearly 30 plays and a number
of books of poetry. Critics consider his best poetry to be that inspired by
personal longing - principally his unrequited love for Maud Gonne (an Irish
actress and political activist who founded the revolutionary group, the
Daughters of Erin) and his longing for the mythical "Irish Golden Age".
*The Irish Free State came into being following the signing of the Anglo-Irish
Treaty in December 1921 and comprised of 26 of Ireland's 32 counties. The remaining 6 "Northern Ireland" counties
already had their own government under the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and
chose to opt out of the Free State and thus remained part of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
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