First published in the collection The Rose in 1893, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is an example of Yeats’s earlier lyric poems. Throughout the three short quatrains the poem explores the speaker’s longing for the peace and tranquility of his boyhood haunt, Innisfree.
“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” suggests that a life of simplicity in nature will bring peace to the troubled speaker. However, the poem is the speaker’s recollection of Innisfree, and therefore the journey is an emotional and spiritual escape rather than an actual one. Innisfree may be a symbol for the speaker’s passed youth, which the speaker is unable to return to in the “real,” or physical, world. Emotionally, the speaker can return again and again to the tranquility of Innisfree.