"Easter, 1916" by W.B. Yeats

In this poem by William Butler Yeats, the speaker reflects on the failed Irish uprising against the British in 1916.

Here are links to our lists for other poems by Yeats: "The Song of Wandering Aengus", "The Second Coming"
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. vivid
    having striking color
    I have met them at close of day
    Coming with vivid faces
    From counter or desk among grey
    Eighteenth-century houses.
  2. linger
    be about
    I have passed with a nod of the head
    Or polite meaningless words,
    Or have lingered awhile and said
    Polite meaningless words
  3. mocking
    expressing contempt or ridicule
    And thought before I had done
    Of a mocking tale or a gibe
    To please a companion
    Around the fire at the club,
    Being certain that they and I
    But lived where motley is worn
  4. gibe
    an aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile
    And thought before I had done
    Of a mocking tale or a gibe
    To please a companion
    Around the fire at the club,
    Being certain that they and I
    But lived where motley is worn
  5. motley
    a garment made of a multicolored woolen fabric
    Being certain that they and I
    But lived where motley is worn:
    All changed, changed utterly:
    A terrible beauty is born.
  6. utterly
    completely and without qualification
    Being certain that they and I
    But lived where motley is worn:
    All changed, changed utterly:
    A terrible beauty is born.
  7. ignorant
    unaware because of a lack of relevant information
    That woman's days were spent
    In ignorant good-will,
    Her nights in argument
    Until her voice grew shrill.
  8. shrill
    being sharply insistent on being heard
    That woman's days were spent
    In ignorant good-will,
    Her nights in argument
    Until her voice grew shrill.
  9. vainglorious
    feeling self-importance
    This other man I had dreamed
    A drunken, vainglorious lout.
  10. lout
    an awkward stupid person
    This other man I had dreamed
    A drunken, vainglorious lout.
  11. resign
    leave voluntarily, as a job or position
    He had done most bitter wrong
    To some who are near my heart,
    Yet I number him in the song;
    He, too, has resigned his part
    In the casual comedy;
    He, too, has been changed in his turn,
    Transformed utterly:
    A terrible beauty is born.
  12. range
    move about aimlessly or without any destination
    The horse that comes from the road,
    The rider, the birds that range
    From cloud to tumbling cloud,
    Minute by minute they change;
  13. sacrifice
    a loss entailed by giving up something
    Too long a sacrifice
    Can make a stone of the heart.
  14. suffice
    be adequate, either in quality or quantity
    O when may it suffice?
  15. murmur
    speak softly or indistinctly
    That is Heaven's part, our part
    To murmur name upon name,
    As a mother names her child
    When sleep at last has come
    On limbs that had run wild.
  16. verse
    a piece of poetry
    I write it out in a verse
    MacDonagh and MacBride
    And Connolly and Pearse
    Now and in time to be,
    Wherever green is worn,
    Are changed, changed utterly:
    A terrible beauty is born.
Created on July 31, 2017 (updated March 27, 2020)

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