CELT document E910001-008

To a Shade

William Butler Yeats

Whole text


    To a Shade

    September 29th, 1914

  1. If you have revisited the town, thin Shade,
    Whether to look upon your monument
    (I wonder if the builder has been paid)
    Or happier thoughted when the day is spent
    To drink of that salt breath out of the sea
    When grey gulls flit about instead of men,
    And the gaunt houses put on majesty:
    Let these content you and be gone again;
    For they are at their old tricks yet.
    A man
    Of your own passionate serving kind who had brought p.37
    In his full hands what, had they only known,
    Had given their children's children loftier thought,
    Sweeter emotion, working in their veins
    Like gentle blood, has been driven from the place,
    And insult heaped upon him for his pains
    And for his open-handedness, disgrace;
    An old foul mouth that slandered you had set
    The pack upon him.
    Go, unquiet wanderer,
    And gather the Glasnevin coverlet
    About your head till the dust stops your ear,
    The time for you to taste of that salt breath
    And listen at the corners has not come; p.38
    You had enough of sorrow before death—
    Away, away! You are safer in the tomb.

Document details

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Title statement

Title (uniform): To a Shade

Author: William Butler Yeats

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by: Beatrix Färber and Juliette Maffet

Funded by: School of History, University College, Cork

Edition statement

1. First draft.

Extent: 590 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2012

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E910001-008

Availability: The works by W. B. Yeats are in the public domain. This electronic text is available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of private or academic research and teaching.

Source description


  • A bibliography is available online at the official web site of the Nobel Prize. See: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1923/yeats-bibl.html

The edition used in the digital edition

Yeats, William Butler (1916). ‘To a Shade’. In: Responsibilities and other Poems‍. Ed. by William Butler Yeats. 36–38. New York: The Macmillan Company.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  author 	 = {William Butler Yeats},
  title 	 = {To a Shade},
  editor 	 = {William Butler Yeats},
  booktitle 	 = {Responsibilities and other Poems},
  publisher 	 = {The Macmillan Company},
  address 	 = {New York},
  date 	 = {1916},
  number 	 = {36–38}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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The whole selection.

Editorial declarations

Correction: Text has been proof-read twice.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text. Lines (or parts of them) reproduced in italics in the printed edition are tagged rend="ital".

Hyphenation: The editorial practice of the hard-copy editor has been retained.

Segmentation: div0 =the poem, stanzas are marked lg.

Interpretation: Names of persons (given names), and places are not tagged. Terms for cultural and social roles are not tagged.

Profile description

Creation: By William Butler Yeats (1865–1939).

Date: September 1914

Language usage

  • The poem is in English. (en)

Keywords: literary; poetry; W. B. Yeats; 19c; 20c

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2012-02-08: File proofed (2), additions to encoding made; header completed; file parsed; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2012-02-01: Header created. (ed. Juliette Maffet)
  3. 2012-01-23: First proofing. (ed. Juliette Maffet)
  4. 2012-01-18: Text captured by scanning. (file capture Juliette Maffet)

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