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

Start Your Free Trial

Why does the speaker in the poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" desire to spend his time alone in his cabin?

Expert Answers info

beateach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write681 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

In William Butler Yeats's retrospective poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” the speaker longs for a place to quiet his mind. The poem was written when Yeats was living in London, but his heart was in Innisfree. Yeats spent time in Innisfree as a young boy.

He envisions a simple life in a cottage surrounded by a garden instead of the dull “pavement” of the city. In his mind, he hears the gentle “lapping” of the water upon the shore, and it comforts him. In this retreat, the speaker is able to appreciate the natural world of buzzing insects and twinkling stars. It is a safe place for him, where from daybreak to evening he is surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature instead of the hustle and dinginess of the city.

As the last stanza says, this place is close to his “heart.”

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial