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The Lake Isle of Innisfree

The Lake Isle of Innisfree


by William Butler Yeats

Stanza 2 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Line 5

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

  • Ah, so here's the motivation for wanting to build a little cabin in the middle of nowhere with not a soul nearby: peace! This guy just wants some P and Q. 
  • The second part of the line, "peace comes dropping slow" is interesting, huh? So far, it looks like the speaker equates a slow, simple pace of life with peacefulness. 
  • But why is peace "dropping"? What's that all about?
  • If the speaker is so serious about getting some peace in his life, we might assume that he isn't feeling too peaceful where he is now. 
  • Maybe he's feeling trapped, restless, and way too busy. Either way, he thinks that Innisfree is his ticket to happiness—a break from all the hubbub.

Line 6

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

  • In the previous line we learned that "peace comes dropping slow." Here we're getting a hint (figuratively, or imaginatively) of where it comes from. 
  • What are these "veils of the morning"? Maybe it's a metaphor for the fog of early morning, or the mist. This is a watery place, after all. Or maybe even the dew on the morning grass. These could all seem like veils that are lifted once the sun rises. 
  • And what about "to where the cricket sings"? If we trace this a few lines back, Yeats is saying, peace falls slowly from the veils of morning and spreads to where the cricket sings. 
  • Where's that? Hidden nooks in the woods, among grass and flowers. 
  • He's talking nature big-time here. So far, peace equals nature in a serious way. 
  • It also seems like peace isn't something he can create or have control over. It comes to him from nature; he can't make it happen in the city. So he's gotta go where the peace is—and that's Innisfree.

Lines 7-8

There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

  • "There" refers to Innisfree and this cabin this dude imagines or plans to build.
  • Apparently, in Innisfree, midnight is shimmering and beautiful and midday is a purple glow—this is starting to sound a little fairy-tale gorgeous, isn't it? 
  • A linnet is a kind of bird that's like a finch. In other words, it's pretty small. 
  • Saying that the evening is full of linnet's wings makes us think not only of one bird, but also of all of them in flight. Now that's an image
  • The imagery is getting almost dreamlike—purple, hazy, full of birds in flight. We don't know about you, but we want to go to there

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