William Butler Yeats


1865

13 June: William Butler Yeats born in Sandymount Ave., Dublin. (Father, John B. Yeats; Mother, Susan Pollexfen Yeats).

1867

July: Yeats family moves to 23 Fitzroy Road, London.

1872

July: Susan Yeats returns with WBY and her other children to Sligo. (Stays with her parents, William and Elizabeth Pollexfen, at Merville).

1874

October: Yeats family returns to London. Settles at Edith Villas.

1877

Spring: WBY enrolls at Godolphin School, Hammersmith, London.

1881

Summer: Yeats family settles at Balscadden Cottage, Howth, near Dublin.

Fall: WBY attends Erasmus Smith High School, Dublin.

1884

May: WBY enrolls at Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin.

1885

April: First poems published in the Dublin University Review.

1885

June: Founds Dublin Hermetic Society with AE and Charles Johnston.

1886

April: Leaves Metropolitan School of Art.

1887

April: Returns with family to London.

May: Visits Madame Blavatsky.

1888

March: Yeats family moves to Bedford Park.

November: Joins the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society.

1889

January: The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems published. Meets Maud Gonne.

1890

January: Founds Rhymers' Club with Ernest Rhys.

March: Initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn.

1891

August: Proposes to Maud Gonne, but is refused.

October: Death of Charles Stewart Parnell, the uncrowned king of Ireland.

1892

May: Irish Literary Society founded in London.

August: The Countess Kathleen published.

1893

December: The Celtic Twilight published.

1894

November: Stays with aristocratic Gore-Booth family at Lissadell in Sligo.

1895

August: Poems published

1896

February: Takes rooms at Woburn Buildings in London. Begins affair with Olivia Shakespear.

August: Meets Lady Gregory at Tulira Castle, Galway.

1897

July: Stays at Coole Park. Discusses the foundation of the Irish Literary Theatre with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn, and George Moore.

1898

December: WBY and Maud Gonne embark on a mystical marriage.

1899

February: Visits Maud Gonne in Paris and proposes marriage.

April: The Wind Among the Reeds published.

May: The Countess Cathleen performed by the Irish Literary Theatre in Dublin.

1901

October: Diarmuid and Grania produced in Dublin.

1902

April: Cathleen Ni Houlihan, with Maud Gonne in the title role, produced by W. G. Fay.

The Pot of Broth produced by Irish National Theatre Society.

1903

February: Maud Gonne marries John MacBride, a Boer War veteran.

November: Leaves for first U.S. Lecture Tour.

1904

December: The Abbey Theatre opens with On Baile's Strand.

1907

January: J. M. Synge's Playboy of the Western World opens at the Abbey.

1908

September: First volumes of W. B. Yeats's Collected Works published.

1911

September: Accompanies Abbey Theatre on tour of U.S.

October: Meets his future wife, Georgie Hyde-Lees.

1913

November: Rents Stone Cottage in Sussex with Ezra Pound.

1914

January: Leaves for U.S. Lecture Tour.

1915

May: Hugh Lane, Lady Gregory's nephew, drowned on the S.S. Lusitania.

1916

March: First volume of autibiography, Reveries over Childhood and Youth, published.

April: At the Hawk's Well, modeled on the Japanese Noh, produced in London.

April: Easter Rising in Dublin.

May: Execution of leaders of Easter Rising, among them John MacBride.

July: WBY visits Maud Gonne in Normandy. She again refuses his offer of marriage.

1917

March: WBY buys Thoor Ballylee, a Norman tower near Coole Park in Galway.

August: Proposes marriage to Maud Gonne's daughter Iseult and is refused.

October: Marries Georgie Hyde-Lees.

November: The Wild Swans at Coole published.

1918

January: Settles in Oxford.

Death of Lady Gregory's son, Major Robert Gregory, in action.

September: WBY moves into renovated Thoor Ballylee; rents Dublin home from Maud Gonne.

1919

February: Birth of daughter Anne in Dublin.

June: Gives up London apartment at Woburn Buildings.

October: Civil unrest in Ireland.

1920

January: Leaves with his wife for U.S. Lecture Tour.

1921

Birth of Michael Yeats in Oxfordshire.

October: Four Plays for Dancers published.

December: Anglo-Irish Treaty signed in London.

1922

January: Civil War in Ireland.

October: The Trembling of the Veil, second volume of autobiography, published.

December: WBY elected to the Irish Senate.

1923

December: Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1926

January: First version of A Vision published.

1926

February: Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars opens at Abbey Theatre. WBY challenges rioters from Abbey stage.

1927

November: Winters in Algeciras. Ill with congestion of the lungs.

1928

The Tower published.

September: WBY resigns from Irish Senate.

1929

Summer: Last visit to Thoor Ballylee.

1931

September: Makes first radio broadcast from BBC in Belfast.

1932

July: Buys lease on last home, "Riversdale," Rathfarnham, near Dublin.

1932

October: Starts on last American Lecture Tour to raise funds for Irish Academy of Letters.

1933

July: Supports fascist Blueshirts in Dublin.

September: The Winding Stair and Other Poems published.

1934

April: Undergoes Steinach operation for rejuvenation.

1936

January: WBY's health deteriorates.

November: His controversial Oxford Book of Modern Verse published.

1938

First production of Purgatory at Abbey Theatre. WBY makes final public appearance.

1939

January: WBY dies at Cap Martin in the south of France. Buried nearby at Roquebrune.

1948

WBY's remains re-interred in Drumcliff, Sligo.

 

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread lightly because you tread on my dreams.

 

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