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

Start Your Free Trial

What sounds does the speaker describe in the poem?

Expert Answers info

Colin Cavendish-Jones, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor, Lawyer

bookM.A. from Oxford University

bookPh.D. from St. Andrews University


calendarEducator since 2019

write2,273 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In the first stanza, Yeats refers to "the bee-loud glade," mentioning without quite describing the sound of bees on the lake isle after a succession of visual images. Then, in the second stanza, there is the cricket singing in the morning and the sound of linnets' wings in the evening (the notion that the evening is "full of the linnet's wings" makes it clear that this is a sound rather than an image, and an insistent sound at that). The dropping of peace from the veils of the morning, meanwhile, is an eloquent absence of sound, the type of silence to which one listens, and the alliteration of the plosives is onomatopoeic, as it really does suggest dropping.

In the final stanza, there is the lapping of water on the shore. The poet hears this "in the deep heart's core" wherever he happens to be, which suggests that it satisfies some deep desire when he is able to hear it, and the other peaceful sounds of the isle, with his ears as well as his heart, for then body and soul are in tune.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial