The Lake Isle of Innisfree Questions and Answers
by William Butler Yeats

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How do you pronounce "Yeats" as in William Butler Yeats? Add a note on the poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree."

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Marietta Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Yeats is a name of Celtic origin, which means that the "ea" dipthong should be pronounced to rhyme with rates and weights. In names with an Anglo-Saxon origin, like, for example, Keats, the "ea" dipthong is pronounced to rhyme with words like eats and seats.

"The Lake Isle of Innisfree" is one of Yeats's earlier poems and was first published in 1890, when Yeats was only 25 years old. You can hear Yeats himself reading this poem at the youtube link provided below. The eponymous "Innisfree" is a small island situated mostly in County Sligo, in Ireland, where Yeats spent much of his childhood.

The speaker of the poem wishes to escape from the "roadway(s)" and "pavements grey" of the city, and build himself a "small cabin" on the island of Innisfree. The poem, although wishful, has a rather melancholy tone, which you can hear for yourself if you listen to the aforementioned reading. The speaker dreams of "water lapping with low sounds by the shore," and longs for his cabin in his "deep heart's core"; but, for whatever reason, he seems unable to leave the city. The cabin seems like only a dream and nothing more.

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The poet William Butler Yeats's last name rhymes with hates. You can listen to Yeats pronounced on the youtube link cited below.

William Butler Yeats is generally regarded as one of the finest poets of the twentieth century. He was a great poet and a great Irishman, a member of the Irish Academy of Letter. In Yeats there was an extraordinary marriage of powerful imagination and the will to enforce it, a blend that set him above the ordinary.

"The Lake Isle of Innisfree" is a beautiful lyric poem. Its lyricism is emphasized by the use of alliteration and assonance in three quatrains of an abab rhyme scheme that expresses the speaker's nostalgia for the peaceful, tranquil life of his youth that he spent at Innisfree where he was always able to "have some peace." The controlling metaphor in this poem is the wish of the conflicted spirit of the speaker, who finds himself in an urban setting "on the pavements gray" while he longs to be in the setting of nature "where the cricket sings" and noon is a "purple glow."

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prathyuk99 | Student

You pronounce it as YATES, as if you are saying the word ate.