The Lake Isle of Innisfree

The video ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ is part of the ‘All the World is a Stage’ project, initiated by Wysinfo in order to encourage international cooperation through culture.

To watch other performances that are part of this project, follow this link
Wysinfo – ‘All the World is a Stage Project’ Front Page.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree – By William Butler Yeats

Text of the poem

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,...

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

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.

About the poem

‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ is a poem that expresses Yeats’ desire to escape the pressures of modern life and find peace in a simple and idyllic setting.

Yeats spent summers as a child near the Lake Isle of Innisfree which was basically an uninhabited island in Ireland. He described the inspiration of this poem as his memory of the lake that was triggered by the sound of a fountain while walking on a busy street in London. He yearned for the simplicity of his childhood experience and longed to return to a life in harmony with nature. He begins his poem with “I will arise and go now” conveying a sense of determination and longing to return to that peaceful surrounding.

Yeats’ use of language and imagery is particularly interesting, with descriptions of the “bee-loud glade” and “midnight’s all a glimmer” painting a vivid picture of the island’s natural beauty. The poem is also notable for its use of symbolism, with the lake isle representing a place of spiritual renewal and escape from the stresses of modern life.

Overall, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is a beautiful and powerful poem that captures the essence of Yeats’ poetic style. Its themes of escape, nature, and spirituality continue to resonate with readers today, making it one of Yeats’ most enduring works.

About the author

William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet, dramatist and writer who published more than 100 works and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923. In addition to his literary career, Yeats was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and was appointed to the Irish Senate in 1922. He served two terms as a Senator of the ‘Irish Free State’.

Yeats was known for his fascination with spiritualism, occultism and astrology. He believed that his interest in magic and mysticism played a major role in his literary career. His poems were flavored with romantic settings and were mostly based on Irish legends, Irish folklore, and Irish ballads and songs. He continued to write and publish his work until his death in 1939, leaving behind a legacy as one of the influential poets of the 20th century.

About the performer

The poem is recited by Sara Gerbi, an English teacher specializing in preparing students for IELTS exams. Sara was born in England and raised in Ireland. The Lake Isle of Innisfree was one of her favorite poems as she grew up.

In addition to her love of poetry, Sara has dedicated the better part of two decades designing and tending a garden comprising hundreds of different types of flowers, herbs and trees. Her connection to nature and her understanding of how nature provides for mankind has led her to study the value and power of herbal remedies and potions.

About the location

The video above was recorded in the private garden of the performer.


For an interesting analysis of the poem and the literary devices used in the poem see the-lake-isle-of-innisfree/