Robert Bridges's line "all day in the sweet box-tree the bee for pleasure hummeth" (from "April 1885," which appeared in my previous post) brings to mind W. B. Yeats's well-known vision of paradise: "Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,/And live alone in the bee-loud glade."
What do you do with a poem like "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"? It is difficult to see afresh, isn't it? And one is hampered by the hard-to-envision spectacle of Yeats, the ambitious, grandiose, cape-wearing bard, taking himself off to the woods to live in a self-built (!) clay-and-wattle cabin and tend to nine rows of beans. Not likely. (Although I should note, in fairness to Yeats, that the poem was written when he was in his mid-twenties, before he had become a "smiling public man" (as he describes himself in "Among School Children") and a national treasure.)
But, in spite of all this, the poem always beguiles me. It does, after all, speak to something that most of us can understand. It is a lovely poem.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
W. B. Yeats, The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics (1895).