The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

wattles – twigs, reeds, and branches linnet – a small bird

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

Questions and Answers

1. The poem is written in hexameter, with the last line of each stanza in tetrameter. How many syllables are in each of the poem’s lines? What is its rhyme scheme?
Each line has twelve syllables (hexameter means six feet) with the last lines of each stanza having eight (four feet). The rhyme scheme is A/B/A/B.

2. In the first two poems, Yeats attempts to describe nature through sensory details and imagery. What does the wording of the second stanza, “veils,” “peace,” and “glow,” suggest nature is most like?
The words chosen suggest divinity and serenity. The image is one of solitude, a death-like experience that is, though, very much alive.

3. What could you find if you went to visit Innisfree?
According to the first stanza, you could find “a small cabin of clay and wattles,” “Nine bean rows,” and “a hive for honey.”

4. How does the speaker personify peace?
In the second stanza, the speaker personifies peace by describing it as something that moves slowly from the sky onto the Earth, as if it had the ability to know when and how to move on its own.

5. Describe what you feel the speaker of this poem is trying to say in the last stanza.
Answers may vary. Example: The speaker is saying that no matter where he goes—even when he is surrounded by pavement and roads—he still hears the sound of the water lapping on the shore of Innisfree. It is a sound that stays in his heart, so he can hear it wherever he goes.

6. The poem’s concluding thought, that truth is found in “the deep heart’s core,” is a theme that resonates throughout Yeats’ poetry. What, according to the poem, is the significance of the heart’s core?
The heart’s core contains the essential truths of life and of nature. Man’s quest to find and unearth these truths should be his goal in life.


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