Study Guide

The Lake Isle of Innisfree Nature

By William Butler Yeats

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Nature, which the speaker seems to equate with peace, dominates the poem. What's interesting about all these descriptions of nature is that, in the end, we find out the speaker is actually in an urban setting. All that nature is just a daydream. Maybe if he were living in the country, the speaker would be longing for the bustling city. Who knows? But Yeats paints a pretty tempting picture of the countryside here. All we need now is some lemonade and a hammock.

  • Title: "Lake Isle" sets us up pretty perfectly for a poem with tons of natural imagery. Even choosing the word "Isle" over "Island" makes us think of someplace dreamy and remote, and totally pleasant. 
  • Line 3: Of all the riches and wonderful things to want for, the speaker goes for beans! So right away we're seeing the speaker elevate nature as something personally important to him. Later in the line, he mentions bees. It seems he wants to grow his own vegetables and harvest his own honey. You know, living off the land and all that.
  • Line 4: "The bee-loud glade." The speaker wants to be surrounded by the sounds of nature. "Glade" is an open space in a forest. Living in that clearing with only the birds chirping and bees buzzing seems pretty awesome to him. 
  • Line 6: More soothing sounds of nature. Here Yeats writes about the peaceful sounds of the cricket. That's definitely something you don't get in the city.
  • Line 8: This is both an image of nature (birds' wings filling the night sky) and another idea of what the place must sound like. At this point, we have an entire soundtrack of the speaker's ideal retreat. Where can we buy it? We want it for our commute.
  • Line 10: Again more sound/image mixing. It shows the speaker isn't just imagining what the place will look like, but what it will sound like, too. 

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