William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939) died on this day at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour in Menton on the French Riviera. We repeat his words to each other; they are lyrical and prospicient. Even now, when we recite his verses long after his passing, the lines deliver beautiful hardened truths.
Yeats was the first of Ireland's four Nobel Literary Laureates. In writing of Yeats on his award, the Nobel Committee cited him: "for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation". These words still hold today.
On this day, Sailing to Byzantium, one of his greatest poems, seems an apt choice. Written in 1926 when Yeats was beginning to feel the weight of his years