The Lake Isle Of Innisfree Essay About Myself

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William butler Yeats is a written inspiration from the author’s teenage years. He had read Walden by Henry David Thoreau and wished to imitate Thoreau by living on Innisfree Island.

As his teenager, Yeats would visit Lough Gill at night in the company of his cousin. One night they went to the lake, observed the birds and listened to the stories by the crew in the Yatch. The area around the lake created a clear contrast between the city and nature that he used in this poem.

Set in divisions of three quatrains, each quatrain explores the speaker’s quest for peace and tranquility of Innisfree while the narrator is living in a city. The Island of Innisfree is a free and potentially productive place full of natural pleasures. The poet longs for a place to interact spontaneously with nature and enjoy the sanctuary it offers.

The narrator is optimistic and certain of the haven that the island offers. From dawn to noon, evening to midnight, peace prevails on the Island. The narrator can hear the lapping sound of the shore at every hour.

This is lyric poetry, as it does not attempt to tell a story, but instead is of a more personal nature. It portrays the poet’s own feelings, state of mind and perception. The poet feels that the peace he longs for is only found on the island.

The poem is a twelve line composition organized in three stanzas with each stanza having four lines called quatrains. Each line is made up of short sentences for easy conveyance of the message.

The poet uses the formal rhyming scheme where the first line rhymes with the third line, while the second line rhymes with the fourth line in each stanza. The rhyming scheme is of the form:

  • Stanza 1 ABAB
  • Stanza 2 CDCD
  • Stanza 3 EFEF

The poet uses stress and repetition to emphasize his urge to leave the city. In example, in line one, the word “go” has been repeated showing that the poet is really determined to exit urban life.

The speaker’s tone is nostalgic, dreamy, and demonstrates a longing for a new place far off from the urban dwelling where he can access freedom and natural peace.

The poem addresses one’s attention to the contrast of the busy, noisy city and a peaceful, quiet, natural environment such as Innisfree. The poet therefore wanted to draw attention to natural environments and the need for all to enjoy it.

Yeats, W. B., & Finneran, R. J. (1991). W.B. Yeats: The Poems. London, Macmillan Press.
Yeats, W. B., & Yeats, W. B. (1991). The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats/The Poems. 1. New York, NY, Macmillan.
Yeats, W. B., & Yeats, W. B. (1991). The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats/The Poems. 1. New York, NY, Macmillan.
Yeats, W. B., & Grall, N. (1987). The Lake Isle of Innisfree. [Cle´ry-Saint-Andre´] (83 rue Mare´chal-Foch), Ed. du Palimpseste.
Yeats, W. B. (1991). The Poems. [S.l.], Macmillan

Line 1

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree

  • The speaker states that he's off to Innisfree. Uh, whootywhat?
  • Innisfree is a small island in a lake called Lough Gill, in Sligo County, Ireland. 
  • Yeats grew up visiting Sligo every year, and taking small trips to Lough Gill. 
  • You know what jumps out at Shmoop here? This speaker sounds pretty resolved. I will arise! And go now! And go to Innisfree! 
  • Geez, buddy, we get it. So get movin' already.

Line 2

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

  • First, we have to tell you that wattles are rods and stakes mixed with sticks and branches to make walls or fences. They sound hilarious, but they're actually pretty standard fencing fare.
  • So he's going to build a small cabin and it's going to be pretty simple and rustic, right? 
  • Right away we can tell this isn't your typical dream-vacation fantasy palace. He's not building some villa with an infinity pool.
  • And once again, we've got some serious determination on our hands. This guy is making plans. Let's see if he keeps 'em.

Lines 3-4

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

  • He says he's going to have a small bean garden and a beehive for honeybees. This guy sounds like he's in serious need of retirement.
  • "Glade" is an open space in a forest, so you can probably picture the bee glade as a clearing in the woods surrounding his tiny cabin with swarms of honeybees. 
  • In line 4 the speaker states that he wants to live alone, surrounded only by the sound of bees and the presence of nature. Why no friends and family to share it, buddy?
  • Anything else you Shmoopers notice? Oh! Oh! Pick me!
  • Yep, these lines create a rhyme scheme for the first stanza, when you combine them with the first two lines: ABAB. Innisfree rhymes with honeybee, and made rhymes with glade. Nifty, right? For more, check out our section on "Form and Meter."

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