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.
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.
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.
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.