CELT document E910001-064

Demon and Beast

William Butler Yeats

Whole text

    Demon and Beast

  1. For certain minutes at the least
    That crafty demon and that loud beast
    That plague me day and night
    Ran out of my sight;
    Though I had long perned in the gyre,
    Between my hatred and desire.
    I saw my freedom won
    And all laugh in the sun.
  2. The glittering eyes in a death's head
    Of old Luke Wadding's portrait said
    Welcome, and the Ormondes all
    Nodded upon the wall,
    And even Strafford smiled as though
    It made him happier to know
    I understood his plan.
    Now that the loud beast ran
    There was no portrait in the Gallery
    But beckoned to sweet company,
    For all men's thoughts grew clear
    Being dear as mine are dear.
  3. But soon a tear-drop started up,
    For aimless joy had made me stop
    Beside the little lake
    To watch a white gull take
    A bit of bread thrown up into the air;
    Now gyring down and perning there
    He splashed where an absurd
    Portly green-pated bird
    Shook off the water from his back;
    Being no more demoniac
    A stupid happy creature
    Could rouse my whole nature.
  4.  p.189
  5. Yet I am certain as can be
    That every natural victory
    Belongs to beast or demon,
    That never yet had freeman
    Right mastery of natural things,
    And that mere growing old, that brings
    Chilled blood, this sweetness brought;
    Yet have no dearer thought
    Than that I may find out a way
    To make it linger half a day.
  6. O what a sweetness strayed
    Through barren Thebaid,
    Or by the Mareotic sea
    When that exultant Anthony
    And twice a thousand more
    Starved upon the shore
    And withered to a bag of bones!
    What had the Caesars but their thrones?

Document details

The TEI Header

File description

Title statement

Title (uniform): Demon and Beast

Author: William Butler Yeats

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: School of History, University College, Cork

Edition statement

1. First draft.

Extent: 916 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: 2014

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

CELT document ID: E910001-064

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.

Notes statement

Written on 23 November 1918; first published in the Dial in November 1920 (A. Norman Jeffares, p. 235).

Source description

Literature (a small selection)

  1. W. B. Yeats, The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats, consisting of Reveries over childhood and youth, The trembling of the veil, and Dramatis personae (New York 1938).
  2. Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks. Corrected edition with a new preface (Oxford 1979). [First published New York 1948; reprinted London 1961.]
  3. Peter Ure, 'Yeats's 'Demon and Beast', Irish Writing 31 (Summer 1955) 42–50.
  4. Peter Allt and Russell K. Alspach, The Variorum Edition of the Poems of W.B. Yeats (New York: Macmillan 1957).
  5. W. B. Yeats, Essays and Introductions (New York: Macmillan 1961).
  6. W. B. Yeats, Explorations: selected by Mrs W. B. Yeats (London/New York: Macmillan 1962).
  7. Richard Ellmann, The Identity of Yeats (New York 1964).
  8. Paul Cohen, 'Yeats as Portraitist', Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 5/2 (Decmber 1979), 31–37.
  9. A. Norman Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B. Yeats (Stanford 1984).
  10. Seamus Deane, ''The Second Coming': Coming Second; Coming in a Second', Irish University Review, 22/1 (Spring/Summer 1992) 92–100.
  11. A general 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 (1991). ‘Demon and Beast’. In: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats‍. Ed. by Richard J. Finneran. London: Macmillan Press, pp. 188–189.

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

  author 	 = {William Butler Yeats},
  title 	 = {Demon and Beast},
  editor 	 = {Richard J. Finneran},
  booktitle 	 = {The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats},
  publisher 	 = {Macmillan Press},
  address 	 = { London},
  date 	 = {1991},
  pages 	 = {188–189}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling declarations

The whole poem.

Editorial declarations

Correction: The text has been proof-read twice.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text.

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

Segmentation: div0= the individual 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


Date: 23 November 1918

Language usage

  • The poem is in English. (en)

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

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2014-04-30: Structural markup applied according to CELT practice; TEI header created with bibliographical detail. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2014-02-13: File parsed and validated; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 1996: First proofing. (ed. Students at the CELT Project, UCC)
  4. 1996: Text captured (data capture Donnchadh Ó Corráin)

Index to all documents

CELT Project Contacts



For details of the markup, see the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)

page of the print edition

folio of the manuscript

numbered division

 999 line number of the print edition (in grey: interpolated)

underlining: text supplied, added, or expanded editorially

italics: foreign words; corrections (hover to view); document titles

bold: lemmata (hover for readings)

wavy underlining: scribal additions in another hand; hand shifts flagged with (hover to view)

TEI markup for which a representation has not yet been decided is shown in red: comments and suggestions are welcome.

Source document


Search CELT


    2 Carrigside, College Road, Cork