Books: Lasting Songs

THE COLLECTED POEMS OF W. B. YEATS (480 pp.]—Macm/7/an ($5).

A month before his death in 1939, Irish Poet William Butler Yeats wrote to a friend: "And I do nothing but write verse." It was not the lyric verse that once sang: "I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree"; now it had a marblelike quality, a classic vigor and clarity that most younger poets envied. A few months earlier, at 73, he had written his epitaph:

Cast a cold eye

On life, on death.

Horseman, pass by!

His last verses had something else...