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

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What does the poet hope to have at Innisfree?

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In the first stanza of "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," the poet says that he hopes to have nine bean-rows and a hive for the honey-bee, so he can live alone in the bee-loud glade. Despite the noise of the bees, the next hope he expresses, in the second stanza, is that he will have some peace there "for peace comes dropping slow."

These are the three things the poet specifically hopes to have at Innisfree. He will also have a small cabin of clay and wattles, though he will have to build it first. Then he will be free to contemplate the rural idyll around him and listen to the various sounds that are more peaceful than silence: the humming of bees, "the lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore," the crickets singing and the susurration of linnets' wings.

The poet's dream of tranquility by the lakeside comes to him while he is standing "on the roadway, or on the pavements grey." This places the poem in a long tradition of pastoral poetry, in which the city dweller extols the virtues of the countryside and wishes that he could live there, enjoying a less stressful environment in tune with the rhythms of nature. Yeats would have been familiar with this theme in Latin poetry, particularly that of Horace, whose tone and outlook seem to have influenced this work.

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