Study Guide

The Lake Isle of Innisfree Man and the Natural World

By William Butler Yeats

Man and the Natural World

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee; (3)

This is the first of many signs that the speaker wants to embrace the natural world when he reaches Innisfree. But note that the natural world he seeks is still cultivated. It still has the mark of humans—with those bean rows and that honey.

And live alone in the bee-loud glade. (4)

The speaker doesn't want the company of humans, but he seems pretty psyched about the bees. Maybe it's because they don't talk back.

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; (6)

Here's the first instance where the speaker equates nature with peacefulness. It's a lovely image, sure, but it also points to the amount of activity that still goes on in nature. It's not silent and still—there are bees and crickets, and all kinds of other creatures, too.

And evening full of the linnet's wings. (8)

The speaker is completely psyched about the idea of a sky full of nothing but bird's wings. We think M.C. Escher would approve.

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; (10)

The speaker is almost haunted by, or obsessed with, the soothing sounds of nature. It's as if they're calling him home.