The Lake Isle of Innisfree

by William Butler Yeats

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Explain, using your own words, what the poet tells us that he intends to do in the first four lines of the poem.

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For Yeats, this tranquil, natural part of his childhood remembrances of an innocent Ireland are a refuge, and in first stanza he is wishfully conjuring a peaceful life, perhaps a kind of retirement, in the peaceful lake country, far from the urban, political struggles in his adulthood, where he could live a simple farmer’s life, enjoying the tastes and sounds of nature.  He imagines a very modest cottage home, “of clay and wattles made”, and a solitary life (he had lost his one life-long love, Maude Gunn).  The tone of the poem echoes his melancholy and contrasts with his more ambitious poems that speak to Ireland’s political struggles and his fame as an Irish spokesman.  His picture is made all the more vivid by the first line: “I will arise and go…”  as though he is sitting or even lying in bed thinking about a better future.

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