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In the Seven Woods

By: William Butler Yeats

In the Seven Woods: Being Poems Chiefly of the Irish Heroic Age is a volume of poems by W. B. Yeats, published in 1903 by Elizabeth Yeats's Dun Emer Press, the first edited by this publishing house. Dun Emer published two editions of the book in 1903. The more expensive collection was published on Dutch and Irish paper and is bound with a vellum cover with Irish linen ties (see image). This is the first book of Yeats's "middle period," in which he eschewed his previous Romantic ideals and preference for pre-Raphaelite imagery, in favor of a more spare style and an anti-romantic poetic stance similar to that of Walter Savage Landor. The poem "Adam's Curse", however, continues to reflect the old ideals. This is also the most popular and frequently anthologized of the poems from this volume.

In the Seven Woods (1904) is Yeats's first twentieth-century poetry collection. Its fourteen poems show him moving steadily away from the decisively Romantic diction of his earlier work. Here we hear a poetic voice that is at once more individual, colloquial and dramatic than previously. In addition, several poems sound a note of bitter lamentation over the marriage in 1903 of Maud Gonne, Yeats's great love and muse, to John MacBride.

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William Butler Yeats was an English-language Irish poet, dramatist, prose writer and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to...

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