With Valentine’s Day being right around the corner, we thought the time was right to celebrate romance. Ireland is a particularly romantic location – after all, it is home to some of the world’s most accomplished poets. Yeats, Wilde, Heaney, Boland, Montague – we could list names all day and never run out of Emerald Isle writers who have said something worthwhile on the topic of love.
And it’s not just the poets’ work that is romantic. Many of Ireland’s most famous poets have lived lives that were dramatic, passionate, and driven by the hunger for lasting love. W. B. Yeats is a good example. Professionally, he was very accomplished. His poetry garnered him international acclaim, and in 1923, the Nobel Prize for Literature. But when it came to love? Things were different.
W.B. Yeats & Maud Gonne: The Poet & His Muse
Maud Gonne was 23 years when she met Yeats; at 52, he was nearly twice her age. Yeats fell for her like a ton of bricks – not only was she beautiful and intelligent, Maud was possessed of a strong sense of social justice and was willing to fight for what she believed.
In her turn, Maud admired Yeats. She enjoyed his work and sought out his company. The two of them had deep philosophical conversations; at one point, Maud agreed to a spiritual marriage with Yeats. But when it came to the more typical, everyday sort of romantic relationship, Maud chose Lucien Millevoye first; later, she married Major John MacBride.
Yeats never let go of his love for Maud. When Maud’s marriage to MacBride dissolved, Yeats was there again, offering unwavering love and support – and once again, his hand in marriage. The way you know that this is an Irish love story is that at this point, Maud continued to say no – she told Yeats that she’d always treasure their spiritual union, but that was all they were going to have between them.
Poets have the gift of spinning their pain into beauty. Many of Yeats’ poems are said to be inspired by Maud, including “This, This Rude Knocking”. Perhaps no lines give more insight into their relationship than these final lines from “Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven", which read:
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Celebrating Lasting Love: Free Infinite Heart Keychain with Purchase
While Yeats’ passion for Maud ultimately proved to be fruitless, he did have lasting love in his life. Less than a year after Maud turned down Yeats’ proposal, he popped the question again – this time to 25-year-old Georgie Hyde-Lees. She accepted, and went on to spend the rest of her life at Yeats’ side. The couple had two children and built a happy life together – proof that love will always find a way.
This Valentine’s Day we’re sending out our wishes that everyone’s path to lasting love go a little more smoothly than Yeats’. We’re also celebrating the holiday by offering a free Infinite Heart Keychain with your purchase made between now & February 10th. This lovely piece combines a heart – the most romantic symbol ever – with the infinity sign. It’s a great gift for your special someone! Quantities are limited, so you’ll want to act now.