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51 Works of George William Russell

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The day had been wet and wild, and the woods looked dim and drenched from the window where Con sat. All the day long his ever restless feet were running to the door in a vain hope of sunshine. His sister, Norah, to quiet him had told him over and over again the tales which […]

It was long ago, so long that only the spirit of earth remembers truly. The old shepherd Admetus sat before the door of his hut waiting for his grandson to return. He watched with drowsy eyes the eve gather, and the woods and mountains grow dark over the isles–the isles of ancient Greece. It was […]

A tradition rises within me of quiet, unarmored years, ages before the demigods and heroes toiled at the making of Greece, long ages before the building of the temples and sparkling palaces of her day of glory. The land was pastoral, and over all the woods hung a stillness as of dawn and of unawakened […]

Out of her cave came the ancient Lilith; Lilith the wise; Lilith the enchantress. There ran a little path outside her dwelling; it wound away among the mountains and glittering peaks, and before the door one of the Wise Ones walked to and fro. Out of her cave came Lilith, scornful of his solitude, exultant […]

The emotions that haunted me in that little cathedral town would be most difficult to describe. After the hurry, rattle, and fever of the city, the rare weeks spent here were infinitely peaceful. They were full of a quaint sense of childhood, with sometimes a deeper chord touched–the giant and spiritual things childhood has dreams […]

I am a part of all that I have met;Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’Gleams that untravel’d world…..Come, my friends,‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.–Ulysses I. Humanity is no longer the child it was at the beginning of the world. The spirit which prompted by some divine intent, flung itself long […]

The Hero In Man

Story type: Essay

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I. There sometimes comes on us a mood of strange reverence for people and things which in less contemplative hours we hold to be unworthy; and in such moments we may set side by side the head of the Christ and the head of an outcast, and there is an equal radiance around each, which […]

Ananda rose from his seat under the banyan tree. He passed his hand unsteadily over his brow. Throughout the day the young ascetic had been plunged in profound meditation; and now, returning from heaven to earth, he was bewildered like one who awakens in darkness and knows not where he is. All day long before […]

“Arhans are born at midnight hour, together with the holy flower that opes and blossoms in darkness.” –From an Eastern Scripture. We stood together at the door of our hut. We could see through the gathering gloom where our sheep and goats were cropping the sweet grass on the side of the hill. We were […]

For a country where political agitations follow each other as rapidly as plagues in an Eastern city, it is curious how little constructive thought we can show on the ideals of a rural civilization. But economic peace ought surely to have its victories to show as well as political war. I would a thousand times […]

1. There are moments in history when by the urgency of circumstance everyone in a country is drawn from normal pursuits to consider the affairs of the nation. The merchant is turned from his warehouse, the bookman from his books, the farmer from his fields, because they realize that the very foundations of the society, […]

The New Nation

Story type: Essay

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In that cycle of history which closed in 1914, but which seems now to the imagination as far sunken behind time as Babylon or Samarcand, it was customary at the festival of the Incarnation to forego our enmities for a little and allow freer play to the spiritual in our being. Since 1914 all things […]

Prophetic I am told when a gun is fired it recoils with almost as much force as urges forward the projectile. It is the triumph of the military engineer that he anticipates and provides for this recoil when designing the weapon. Nations prepare for war, but do not, as the military engineer in his sphere […]

It has been my dream for many years that I might at some time dwell in a cabin on the hillside in this dear and living land of ours, and there I would lay my head in the lap of a serene nature, and be on friendly terms with the winds and mountains who hold […]

I have often wondered whether there is not something wrong in our religious systems in that the same ritual, the same doctrines, the same aspirations are held to be sufficient both for men and women. The tendency everywhere is to obliterate distinctions, and if a woman be herself she is looked upon unkindly. She rarely […]

As I grow older I get more songless. I am now exiled irrevocably from the Country of the Young, but I hope I can listen without jealousy and even with delight to those who still make music in the enchanted land. I often searched in the “Poet’s Corner” of the country papers with a wild […]

A LECTURE ON THE ART OF G. F. WATTS After the publication of The Gentle Art of Making Enemies the writer who ventures to speak of art and literature in the same breath needs some courage. Since the death of Whistler, his opinions about the independence of art from the moral ideas with which literature […]

The art of Hone and the elder Yeats, while in spirit filled with a sentiment which was the persistence of ancient moods into modern times, still has not the external characteristics of Gaeldom; but looking at the pictures of the younger Yeats it seemed to me that for the first time we had something which […]

It is unjust to an artist to write on the spur of the moment of his work–of the just seen picture which pleases or displeases. For what instantly delights the eye may never win its way into the heart, and what repels at first may steal later on into the understanding, and find its interpretation […]

I Speak to you, brother, because you have spoken to me, or rather you have spoken for me. I am a native of Ulster. So far back as I can trace the faith of my forefathers they held the faith for whose free observance you are afraid. I call you brother, for so far as […]

In this age we read so much that we lay too great a burden on the imagination. It is unable to create images which are the spiritual equivalent of the words on the printed page, and reading becomes for too many an occupation of the eye rather than of the mind. How rarely, out of […]

“The Red Branch ought not to be staged…. That literature ought not to be produced for popular consumption for the edification of the crowd…. I say to you drop this thing at your peril…. You may succeed in degrading Irish ideals, and banishing the soul of the land. … Leave the heroic cycles alone, and […]

Lady Gregory, a fairy godmother, has given to Young Ireland the gift of her Cuchulain of Muirthemne, which should be henceforward the book of its dream. I do not doubt but there will be a great change in the next generation, for the character of many children will have grown to maturity brooding over the […]

When I was asked to write “anything” about Yeats, our Irish poet, my thoughts were like rambling flocks that have no shepherd, and without guidance my rambling thoughts have run anywhere. I confess I have feared to enter or linger too long in the many-colored land of Druid twilights and tunes. A beauty not our […]

When I was a boy I knew another who has since become famous and who has now written Reveries over Childhood and Youth. I searched the pages to meet the boy I knew and could not find him. He has told us what he saw and what he remembered of others, but from himself he […]

For a generation the Irish bards have endeavored to live in a palace of art, in chambers hung with the embroidered cloths and made dim with pale lights and Druid twilights, and the melodies they most sought for were half soundless. The art of an early age began softly, to end its songs with a […]

As one of those who believe that the literature of a country is for ever creating a new soul among its people, I do not like to think that literature with us must follow an inexorable law of sequence, and gain a spiritual character only after the bodily passions have grown weary and exhausted themselves. […]

I heard that a strange woman, dwelling on the western coast, who had the repute of healing by faery power, said a little before she died, “There’s a cure for all things in the well at Ballykeele”: and I know not why at first, but her words lingered with me and repeated themselves again and […]

They torture me also.–Krishna The night was wet: and, as I was moving down the streets, my mind was also journeying on a way of its own, and the things which were bodily present before me were no less with me in my unseen traveling. Every now and then a transfer would take place, and […]

I am a part of all that I have met:Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’Gleams that untraveled world …..……. Come, my friends,‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.–Ulysses We are no longer children as we were in the beginning. The spirit which, prompted by some divine intent, flung itself long ago into […]

Priest Or Hero?

Story type: Essay

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“I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-containedI stand and look at them long and long.They do not sweat and whine about their condition,They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,No one kneels to another, nor to one of his kind that lived […]

Our Secret Ties

Story type: Essay

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Our deepest life is when we are alone. We think most truly, love best, when isolated from the outer world in that mystic abyss we call soul. Nothing external can equal the fulness of these moments. We may sit in the blue twilight with a friend, or bend together by the hearth, half whispering, or […]

When twilight flutters the mountains overThe faery lights from the earth unfold,And over the hills enchanted hoverThe giant heroes and gods of old:The bird of aether its flaming pinionsWaves over earth the whole night long:The stars drop down in their blue dominionsTo hymn together their choral song:The child of earth in his heart grows burningMad […]

Works And Days

Story type: Essay

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When we were boys with what anxiety we watched for the rare smile on the master’s face ere we preferred a request for some favor, a holiday or early release. There was wisdom in that. As we grow up we act more or less consciously upon intuitions as to time and place. My companion, I […]

The Mountains

Story type: Essay

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While we live within four walls we half insensibly lose something of our naturalness and comport ourselves as creatures of the civilization we belong to. But we never really feel at home there, though childhood may have wreathed round with tender memories old rooms and the quaint garden-places of happy unthinking hours. There is a […]

It is with no feeling of sadness that I think of this withdrawal. He would not have wished for that. But with a faltering hand I try to express one of many incommunicable thoughts about the hero who has departed. Long before I met him, before even written words of his had been read, his […]

Many are the voices that entreat and warn those who would live the life of the Magi. It is well they should speak. They are voices of the wise. But after having listened and pondered, oh, that someone would arise and shout into our souls how much more fatal it is to refrain. For we […]

–By AE and Aretas (G.W. Russell and James M. Pryse) While our vision, backward cast,Ranged the everliving past,Through a haze of misty things–Luminous with quiveringsMusical as starry chimes–Rose a hero of old times,In whose breast the magic powersSlumbering from primeval hours,Woke at the enchantment wildOf Aed Abrait’s lovely child;Still for all her Druid learningWith the […]


Story type: Essay

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Who are exiles? as for meWhere beneath the diamond domeLies the light on hill or treeThere my palace is and home. We are outcasts from Deity; therefore we defame the place of our exile. But who is there may set apart his destiny from the earth which bore him? I am one of those who […]

"Yes, And Hope"

Story type: Essay

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They bring none to his or to her terminus or to be content and full, Whom they take they take into space to behold the birth of stars, to learn one of the meanings. To launch off with absolute faith, to sweep through the ceaseless rings and never be quiet again. –Whitman Here is inspiration–the […]

[London: W. Stewart and Co.] While one race sinks into night another renews its dawn. The Celtic Twilight is the morning-time and the singing of birds is prophetic of the new day. We have had to welcome of late years one sweet singer after another, and now comes a volume of lyrics which has that […]

A Reverend and learned professor in Trinity College, Dublin, a cynic and a humorist, is reported once to have wondered “why the old Irish, having a good religion of their own, did not stick to it?” Living in the “Celtic twilight,” and striving to pierce backward into the dawn, reading romance, tradition and history, I […]

I am minded to put down some intuitions about brotherhood and trust in persons. A witty friend writes, “Now that I have made up my mind, I intend looking at the evidence.” A position like that is not so absurd as at first it seems. It is folly only to those who regard reason alone […]

We went forth gay in the twilight’s cover;The dragon Day with his ruddy crestBlazed on the shadowy hills hung overThe still grey fields in their dewy rest. We went forth gay, for all ancient storiesWere told again in our hearts as we trod;Above were the mountain’s dawn-white glories;We climbed to it as the throne of […]

The teaching of the Secret Doctrine divides the period during which human evolution proceeds upon this globe into seven periods. During the first three-and-a-half of these, the ethereal humanity who appeared in the First Race gradually become material in form, and the psychic spirituality of the inner man is transformed into intellectuality. During the remaining […]

–A Paper Read Before the Dublin Lodge. In asking you to consider with me the influence of the system of thought called Theosophy upon one’s view of all the things which are included in the term Life, I have to preface my remarks by the confession that I have not extracted my ideas from portly […]

Chapter I. That we are living in the Dark Age we all know, yet we do not realise half its darkness. We endure physical and moral suffering; but, fortunately or unfortunately, we are oblivious of the sorrow of all sorrows–the Spiritual Tragedy. Such a rust has come over the pure and ancient spirit of life, […]

Priest Merodach walked with me at evening along the banks of the great river. “You feel despondent now,” he said, “but this was inevitable. You looked for a result equal to your inspiration. You must learn to be content with that alone. Finally an inspiration will come for every moment, and in every action a […]

Parvata rose up from his seat under the banyan tree. He passed his hand unsteadily over his brow. Throughout the day the young ascetic had been plunged in profound meditation, and now, returning from heaven to earth, he was dazed like one who awakens in darkness and knows not where he is. All day long […]

Where we sat on the hillside together that evening the winds were low and the air was misty with light. The huge sunbrowned slope on which we were sitting was sprinkled over with rare spokes of grass; it ran down into the vagueness underneath where dimly the village could be seen veiled by its tresses […]

In a chapter in the Secret Doctrine dealing with the origin of language, H.P. Blavatsky makes some statements which are quoted here and which should be borne well in mind in considering what follows. “The Second Race had a ‘Sound Language,’ to wit, chant-like sounds composed of vowels alone.” From this developed “monosyllabic speech which […]