William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet. This post features Swift’s Epitaph Poem by William Butler Yeats.
Swift’s Epitaph Poem by William Butler Yeats is a translation of Jonathan Swift’s epitaph, which Swift wrote for himself in Latin. Yeats’ somewhat free translation appeared in his 1933 collection The Winding Stair and Other Poems.
William Butler Yeats was one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms. Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and, along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn, and others, founded the Abbey Theatre, where he served as its chief during its early years.
In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The prize led to a significant increase in the sales of his books, as his publishers Macmillan sought to capitalise on the publicity. For the first time he had money, and he was able to repay not only his own debts, but those of his father.
Swift’s Epitaph Poem
Swift has sailed into his rest;
Savage indignation there
Cannot lacerate his breast.
Imitate him if you dare,
World-besotted traveller; he
Served human liberty.
– William Butler Yeats
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