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W. B. Yeats


William Butler Yeats, 1865–1939

5,276 words

Editor’s Note:

To commemorate the birthday of William Butler Yeats (June 13, 1865–January 28, 1939), we are publishing this expanded version of Kerry Bolton’s essay on Yeats, which forms chapter five of his book Artists of the Right: Resisting Decadence, forthcoming from Counter-Currents. Also see Vic Olvir’s tribute “William Butler Yeats: A Poet for the West [2]” as well as George Orwell on Yeats as “occult fascist [3].”

The rise of industrialism and capitalism during the 19th century brought with it social dislocation, the triumph of the commercial classes and interests, and the creation of an urban proletariat on the ruins of rural life. Smashed asunder were the traditional organic bonds of family and village, rootedness to the earth through generations of one’s offspring, and attunement to the cycles of nature. With the ascendancy of materialism came the economic doctrines of Free Trade capitalism and Marxism and the new belief in rationalism and science over faith, the mysteries of the cosmos, and the traditional religions. The forces of money had defeated everything of the Spirit. As Spengler explained in his Decline of the West, Western Civilization had entered its end cycle. Such forces had been let loose as long ago as the English Revolution of Cromwell and again by the French Revolution.

There was, however, a reaction to this predicament. The old conservatives had not been up to the task. The spiritual and cultural reaction came from the artists, poets and writers who reach beyond the material and draw their inspiration from the well-springs of what C. G. Jung identified as the collective unconscious. This reaction included not only the political and the cultural but also a spiritual revival expressed in an interest in the metaphysical.

Against the Modern World

Among the artists in “revolt against the modern world”[1] was the Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865–1939), leader of the Irish literary renaissance and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

Despite his English and Protestant background,  Yeats was involved in the Young Ireland movement, much of his poetry celebrating the Irish rebellion and its heroes.[2]

Yeats wrote of his return to England in 1887 and how the drab modernity of London impressed upon his aesthetic sense the nature of the crisis that was unfolding for civilization:

I could not understand where the charm had gone that I had felt, when as a school-boy of twelve or thirteen, I had played among the unfinished houses, once leaving the marks of my two hands, blacked by a fall among some paint, upon a white balustrade. Sometimes I thought it was because these were real houses, while my play had been among toy-houses some day to be inhabited by imaginary people full of the happiness that one can see in picture books. I was in all things Pre-Raphaelite.

. . . I remember feeling disappointed because the co-operative stores, with their little seventeenth century panes, were so like any common shop; and because the public house, called “The Tabard” after Chaucer’s Inn, was so plainly a common public house; and because the great sign of a trumpeter designed by Rooke, the Pre-Raphaelite artist, had been freshened by some inferior hand.[3]

Yeats had been as a youngster introduced by his father John, himself a Pre-Raphaelite artist, to the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites, the romantic imagery of which stood then as a rebellion against the encroachments of modernism and industrialism. Having lived in England as a child twenty years before, Yeats was now struck by how much had radically changed under the impress of “progress.” The modern era had even impacted upon the aesthetic of Yeats’ own family, writing of how his father now made his living, and also alluding to the changes being wrought by modernism in art:

It was a perpetual bewilderment that my father, who had begun life as a Pre-Raphaelite painter, now painted portraits of the first comer, children selling newspapers, or a consumptive girl with a basket of fish upon her head, and that when, moved perhaps by memory of his youth, he chose some theme from poetic tradition, he would soon weary and leave it unfinished. I had seen the change coming bit by bit and its defence elaborated by young men fresh from the Paris art-schools. ‘We must paint what is in front of us,’ or ‘A man must be of his own time,’ they would say, and if I spoke of Blake or Rossetti they would point out his bad drawing and tell me to admire Carolus Duran and Bastien-Lepage. Then, too, they were very ignorant men; they read nothing, for nothing mattered but “Knowing how to paint,” being in reaction against a generation that seemed to have wasted its time upon so many things.[4]

Yeats at that time could still see promise in the youth, in a romantic rebellion against modernism, difficult for us to understand now, when the youthful “rebellion” (sic) of our own time transpired to be of the most bogus nature of the hippie era, and the “New Left” and next the present generation of consumers. But at that time Yeats could still say of the youth:

I thought myself alone in hating these young men,[5] now indeed getting towards middle life, their contempt for the past, their monopoly of the future, but in a few months I was to discover others of my own age, who thought as I did, for it is not true that youth looks before it with the mechanical gaze of a well-drilled soldier. Its quarrel is not with the past, but with the present, where its elders are so obviously powerful, and no cause seems lost if it seem to threaten that power. Does cultivated youth ever really love the future, where the eye can discover no persecuted Royalty hidden among oak leaves, though from it certainly does come so much proletarian rhetoric?[6]

He had maintained a religious outlook against materialism, rationalism, and the worship of science and “progress”:

I had made a new religion, almost an infallible church, out of poetic tradition: a fardel of stories, and of personages, and of emotions, a bundle of images and of masks passed on from generation to generation by poets & painters with some help from philosophers and theologians. I wished for a world where I could discover this tradition perpetually, and not in pictures and in poems only, but in tiles round the chimney-piece and in the hangings that kept out the draught. I had even created a dogma: ‘Because those imaginary people are created out of the deepest instinct of man, to be his measure and his norm, whatever I can imagine those mouths speaking may be the nearest I can go to truth.’ When I listened they seemed always to speak of one thing only: they, their loves, every incident of their lives, were steeped in the supernatural.[7]

It was against this background of resistance to the modern world that Yeats, having already been acquainted with Theosophy in Dublin, sought out Helena Blavatsky who had recently come to England, a woman with whom he was impressed as having a vast knowledge of what is called the “Ageless Wisdom” or “Perennial Tradition.”[8]

For Blavatsky’s “hidden masters”[9] Yeats provides a relatively plausible explanation, and one that might be as readily accepted by adherents to the theory of the Collective Unconscious and archetypes postulated by Jung:

I thought that her masters were imaginary forms created by suggestion, but whether that suggestion came from Madame Blavatsky’s own mind or from some mind, perhaps at a great distance, I did not know; and I believed that these forms could pass from Madame Blavatsky’s mind to the minds of others, and even acquire external reality, and that it was even possible that they talked and wrote. They were born in the imagination, where Blake[10] had declared that all men live after death, and where “every man is king or priest in his own house.”[11]

It was around this time that Yeats happened to meet Macgregor Mathers, a student and author of the occult, at the British Museum reading-room, and to begin studies of occultism under his guidance, writing: “and it was through him mainly that I began certain studies and experiences that were to convince me that images well up before the mind’s eye from a deeper source than conscious or subconscious memory.”[12]

Mathers was a co-founder and head of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the primary organization around which there was an occult revival. Yeats was initiated in 1890, and was within a few years an Adept in its governing body, the “Second Order.”[13]

For Yeats the mystical was the basis of both his poetry and his political ideas. He was particularly interested in the Irish mystical tradition and folklore. He saw the peasantry and rural values as being necessary to revive against the onslaught of materialism. He aimed to found an Irish Hermetic Order, an “Order of Celtic Mysteries,” as he aimed to call it,  replacing the alien Egyptian gods of Golden Dawn ritual with the Irish gods and heroes.[14]

Yeats saw the mythic and spiritual as the basis of a culture, providing the underlying unity for all cultural manifestations, a “unity of being,” where, writing in reference to Byzantine culture: “[The] religious, aesthetic and practical life were one . . . the painter, the mosaic worker, the worker in gold and silver, the illuminator of sacred books were absorbed in the subject matter, and that of the vision of a whole people.”[15]

Archetypes & the Multitude

Yeats held that symbols had an autonomous power of their own in the unconscious. It was these symbols, age-long inherited memories, upon which the artist and the poet drew as the source of creativity.

To Yeats, “individuality is not as important as our age has imagined.”[16] The daimons[17] of the ancient memories acted upon the individual, and one’s creativity was an expression of these forces. These symbols and images could be brought to consciousness and expressed artistically via magic and ritual; hence Yeats’ involvement in metaphysical societies such as the Golden Dawn and Theosophy. Additionally, the “occult” provided a literally hidden culture that was above and beyond the crassness of democracy, of the herd, and of material existence, hence its being termed the “Royal Art,” where again, as in traditional societies over the course of millennia, a priestly caste, at the apex of a hierarchical society, served as the nexus between the terrestrial and the divine, serving as that axis around which High Culture revolves.[18]

Yeats’ poetry was intended as an expression of these symbols of the unconscious and the  archetypal. This resurgence of these age-long memories required a “revolt of soul against intellect now beginning in the world.”[19] What is here called “intellect” was the advance of rationalism, scientism, and Enlightenment doctrines that had destroyed man’s nexus with the divine embodied in traditions and hierarchical social orders, and which has repressed man’s spiritual nature in favor of the crassly material. Spengler referred to the same cultural predicament when he wrote of the conflict in the final stages of a civilization between “blood” and “money,” the “intellect” being the superficial that is at the service of money, “blood” being a metaphor for the traditional (i.e. the organic). [20]

Yeats, like D. H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound, et al., was particularly concerned that commercialism would mean the pushing down of cultural values in the pursuit of profit rather than artistic excellence. Hence, he called for a revival of aristocratic values. He lamented that, “the mere multitude is everywhere with its empty photographic eyes. A declaration of war on the masses by higher men is called for. Everywhere the mediocre are coming in order to make themselves master.”[21]

His appeal was to the artist and to the individual of taste and culture for, as Nietzsche had pointed out, culture is the faculty that distinguishes the human from other organisms. In this spirit, Yeats applauded Nietzsche’s philosophy as, “a counteractive to the spread of democratic vulgarity.”[22]

This suspicion of democratic vulgarity, specifically what appears to be a condemnation of the democratization of literature known as the “news media,” was poetically expressed for example in 1921 in “The Leaders of the Crowd”:

They must to keep their certainty accuse
All that are different of a base intent;
Pull down established honor; hawk for news
Whatever their loose fantasy invent . . . [23]

Here Yeats is condemning the leveling effects of the democratic media, pandering to the lowest denominator for the sake of maximum profit via the largest market, which was reflected also in every other facet of culture that had become part of a production process like any other commodity, and which was why Yeats, like Lawrence, Lewis, Pound, et al., deplored the democratization process

Yeats’ keen sense of historical context is reflected in “The Curse of Cromwell.” Here he identifies the English Revolution as what we can see as the inauguration of the cycle of “Money over Blood,” in Spenglerian terms: the victory of the merchant class over the traditional order, which was to be re-reenacted in the French Revolution.[24] The Bolshevik Revolution was of the same spirit of money against blood, of the materialistic against the spirit and culture. All three revolutions were carried out in the name of “the people” against the traditional rulers, only to create a greater tyranny in the service of money. Spengler had written in The Decline of the West: “Practical communism with its ‘class war’ . . . is nothing but the trusty henchman of big Capital, which knows perfectly well how to make use of it . . .[25] in that their object is not to overcome money-values, but to possess them.”[26]

Cromwell’s English revolution has had lasting consequences for the entire West. The cycle of Money over culture and tradition that Cromwell inaugurated has never been overcome. America was founded on the same Puritan money ethics and continues to spread that spirit over the farthest reaches of the world.

Cromwell’s “murderous crew” have brought forth the “money’s rant” on the blood of what is noble.

You ask what I have found, and far and wide I go:
Nothing but Cromwell’s house and Cromwell’s murderous crew
The lovers and the dancers are beaten into the clay
And the tall men and the swordsmen and the horsemen,
where are they?

And there is an old beggar wandering in his pride—
His fathers served their fathers before Christ was crucified
O what of that, O what of that?
What is there left to say?

The specter of Puritanism has haunted the entire world ever since, “far and wide.” Nobility of character, regardless of “class”–itself a vulgarization of the traditional castes–was destroyed by the inauguration in the West of the reign of money by Cromwell, and one that was not overcome, but rather adopted by its supposed “enemy,” socialism, as Spengler was to point out. Yeats, as “The Curse of Cromwell” shows, has been one of the few to realize the full depth and lasting significance of Puritanism under whatever name it might appear.

Spengler pointed out the nature of Puritanism in the same spirit as Yeats, referring to Puritanism, not only in the West, but its analogous manifestations in other cultures in their cycle of decay, which “lacks the smile that had illuminated the religion of the Spring . . .[27] the moments of profound joy in life, the humour of life.”[28] Yeats discerned the same: “The lovers and the dancers are beaten into the clay/And the tall men and the swordsmen and the horsemen, here are they?”

No longer are there left those of noble tradition, those who served as part of a long heritage, “the tall men”; and the old gaiety of the peasant village, the squire’s hall and aristocrat’s manor have been beaten down.

All neighborly, content and easy talk are gone,
But here’s no good complaining, for money’s rant is on.

The artists, once patronized by the aristocracy, must now prostitute their art for the sake of money on the mass market, as script writers, and “public entertainers” to sell a product. All individuals are now producers and consumers, including the artist producing for a consumer market.

And we and all the Muses are things of no account.

Yeats considered himself heir to a tradition that has been repressed by democratic vulgarity,  and he lived in  service to that tradition, now virtually driven to the catacombs under the dead weight of “mass culture,” which is nothing more than consumerism posturing as “art,” “literature,” and “music” manufactured according to market demands. He and a few others of the same temperament lived in the service of High Culture as contemporary troubadours “against the modern world” to uplift the spirits of the remnant who have managed to maintain their nobility in the face of the crass:

That the swordsmen and the ladies can still keep company,
Can pay the poet for a verse and hear the fiddle sound,
That I am still their servant though all are underground . . .

Order from Chaos

One product of democracy and capitalism that Yeats feared was the proliferation of those he regarded as inferior people. Yeats advocated planned human up-breeding and joined the Eugenics Society at a time when eugenics was a widely held belief among the intelligentsia. As with his political and cultural views, however, his outlook on eugenics had a mystical basis, relating reincarnation to the race soul. In his 1938 poem “Under Ben Bulben” Yeats calls in eugenic terms for Irish poets to sing of “whatever is well made,” and “scorn the sort now growing up,” “all out of shape from toe to top.” In this poem, there is a mixture of the mythic, reincarnation, the race soul, and eugenics. There is an immortality of the soul that parts one in death only briefly from the world.

Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities
That of race and that of soul
And ancient Ireland knew it all.[29]

The eugenic and the divine combine within the artist:

Poet and sculptor, do the work,
Nor let the modish painter shirk
What his great forefathers did,
Bring the soul of man to God,
Make him fill the cradles right.

However, in the modern age, “The greater dream had gone. Confusion fell upon our thought.” It is the duty of the cultural-bearing stratum to set the culture anew by remembering what had once been:

Irish poets, learn your trade,
Sing whatever is well made,
Scorn the sort now growing up
All out of shape from toe to top,
Their unremembering hearts and heads
Base-born products of base beds.

Yeats’ antidote to the modem cycle of decline is to return to the traditional order of peasant, squire, monk and aristocrat:

Sing the peasantry and then
Hard-riding country gentlemen,
The holiness of monks, and after
Porter-drinkers’randy laughter
Sing the lords and ladies gay
That were beaten into the clay
Through seven heroic centuries;
Cast your mind on other days
That we in coming days may be
Still the indomitable Irishry . . .

Returning to eugenics, Yeats had “On the Boiler” published the same year, where he endorsed the psychometric studies that were showing intelligence to be inherited, and expressed concern at the proliferation of the unintelligent.[30]

The modern era is compared to the traditional by way of a man in a golden breastplate under the old stone cross, symbols of a noble age. In “The Old Stone Cross,” Yeats writes:

A statesman is an easy man.
He tells his lies by rote;
A journalist makes up his lies
And takes you by the throat;
So stay at home and drink your beer
And let the neighbours vote
Said the man in the golden breastplate
Under the old stone Cross

Because this age and the next engender in the ditch . . .[31]
The democratic farce, with its politicians, newspapermen, and voting masses are not worthy of attention. The modern cycle is  also dealt with in “The Statesman’s Holiday,” where:

I lived among great houses,
Riches drove out rank.
Base drove out the better blood.
And mind and body shrank . . . [32]

The aristocracy of old, the noble lineage of blood, of familial descent, has been replaced by the new rich, the merchants, our new rulers are those who measure all things by profit.

Fall & Rise

In 1921, the  year prior to Mussolini’s assumption to power, Yeats had prophesied in “The Second Coming” the approach of a figure from out of the democratic chaos, a “rough beast” who would settle matters amidst a world where, when “things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.”

The theme is reminiscent of Spengler’s account of the return of “Caesarism” at the end of Civilization, in a type of last hurrah, or final dying breath when the Civilization briefly reasserts itself against money and returns to its founding values.[33] In the Spenglerian cyclic paradigm,  there is not only a decline and fall of a civilization but an  interregnum where the “new Caesar” emerges from the decadent epoch to inaugurate a revitalization of the civilization. Yeats’ poem opens with an allusion to the “turning” of the historic cycles:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
the falcon cannot hear the falconer:
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold;[34]

Here Yeats is portraying history as a cycle reminiscent of a wheel, where the axis around which the civilization revolves is that of Tradition, but as the civilization advances along the path of cyclic decay, it begins to fall asunder as the axis of Tradition is no longer strong enough to hold the edifice of civilization together. “The falcon cannot hear the falconer”: “modern” man in the last cycle of every civilization no longer hears the call of his Tradition, or metaphorically, his “blood.” He is detached and looses the anchorage of the axis of Tradition. Consequently everything falls apart: the civilization dies, and its light is extinguished, existing perhaps only in the form of ruins of once great monuments, of the Coliseum and the pyramids. Although Yeats had worked out his theory of history prior to reading Spengler, he found the coincidence between his views and those expressed in The Decline of The West, “too great for coincidence,”[35] or perhaps what one might call in the Jungian sense synchronistic.

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

One can read in the above what appears to be then the growing tide of Bolshevik revolution amidst the loss of tradition, having described Marxism as “the super-head of materialism and leading to inevitable murder.”[36] The answer is the rise of a strong leader who will get civilization back on course, the “new Caesar” that Spengler later saw in the possibility of Mussolini.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.[37]

Like Spengler, Yeats saw hope in Fascist Italy: “The Ireland that reacts from the present disorder is turning its eyes towards individualist Italy.” In particular, he admired the educational reforms and cyclic historical doctrine of Italian Fascist philosopher and Minister of Education, Giovanni Gentile, stating in 1925 before the Irish Senate, of which he was a member, that Irish teachers should study the methods that Gentile had enacted in Italian schools, “so to correlate all subjects of study.”[38] The following year Senator Yeats[39] stated that the Italian educational system was “adapted to an agricultural nation” which was applicable also to Ireland, “a system of education that will not turn out clerks only, but will turn out efficient men and women, who can manage to do all the work of the nation.”[40]

With the assumption to Government of De Valera in 1932, the following year Yeats was seeking to formulate a doctrine for Ireland that would be a form of “Fascism modified by religion.”[41] History consisted broadly of “the rule of the many followed by the rule of the few,” again reminiscent of Spengler’s idea of a “new Caesarism” that follows on the rule of plutocracy at the end cycle of a civilization. For Yeats, the rule of the few meant a return to some form of aristocracy.[42]

That year, 1933, Yeats met General Eoin O’Duffy, leader of the Irish Blueshirts, whom Yeats thought might be capable of overthrowing De Valera and instituting a sound government. O’Duffy, a hero of the Irish revolt and Michael Collins’ principal aide, created a mass movement, one of the many “corporatist” movements that were sprouting up all over Europe and further afield in the midst of the Depression, and Eire was almost brought to civil war between his “Blueshirts” and the IRA.[43] Yeats approvingly regarded the Blueshirts as part of a worldwide movement of “fascism”[44] and wrote three marching songs for them. These sang of the heroes of Ireland, and of the need for a renewed social order.

When nations are empty up there at the top,
When order has weakened and faction is strong,
Time for us to pick out a good tune,
Take to the roads and go marching along . . .

However, Yeats, like Wyndham Lewis, Evola, and others, was suspicious of any movement that appealed to the masses, and of what he saw as the demagoguery of the Fascist leaders in appealing to those masses. This was regardless of the fact that the masses were being won over to national ideals and away from the internationalism of the Communists.

Even Spengler expressed reservations about Fascism because of its nature as a mass movement, writing that: “Mussolini’s creative idea was grand, and it has an international effect: it revealed a possible form for combating Bolshevism. But this form arose out of imitating the enemy and is therefore full of dangers: revolution from below . . .”[45]

Yeats, like other members of the literati who were suspicious of mass movements of any form, had the luxury of not subjecting his ideals to the sobering necessities of a practical political struggle to save civilization from communism and capitalism, which is what O’Duffy and others around the world were then trying to accomplish.

But it is not the role of the troubadour to carry out political campaigns, but to maintain the remnants of High Culture amidst the vulgarity of what the Hindus call the Kali Yuga. And in this task, Yeats never wavered.


[1] Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, trans. Guido Stucco (Rochester, Ver.: Inner Traditions, 1995).

[2] W. B. Yeats, “Easter 1916.”

[3] W. B. Yeats, Four Years 1887– 1891 (Dublin: The Cuala Press, 1921), Chapter 1.

[4] Yeats, Four Years, Chapter 2.

[5] The modernists.

[6] Yeats, Four Years, Chapter 2.

[7] Yeats, Four Years. However, it might be asked whether the enormous interest in wizardry and fantasy, and in new forms of the heroic epic, in film and literature among present-day youngsters (Tolkien, Harry Potter, and the like) is an embryonic reaction against the modern world. Does this express a yearning for the return of something deeper, religion and the mystical having been driven from life by science, technology, and the shopping mall?

[8] Yeats, Four Years, Chapter 17.

[9] “Hidden Masters,” supposedly controllers of the world in some remote region such as Tibet, manifesting their desires to lesser mortals through their chosen vehicles, have been in vogue since Blavatsky’s day, and often provide the legitimacy for claims to occult leadership.

[10] William Blake.

[11] Yeats, Four Years, Chapter 18. The notion of “thought forms” being able to take on an independent existence should not perhaps be automatically dismissed as nonsense. The present-day scientist Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist of repute, has devoted much research into the possibility of what he calls the “morphic field” and “morphic resonance,” which is analogous to what mystics call the “astral plane,” where thought forms might take tangible shape. Rupert Sheldrake Website: http://www.sheldrake.org/homepage.html [4]

The famous experiment in Canada of the creation of a group “thought form,” which took on a personality and even a history and name of its own, is a fascinating example of what Yeats seems to be hypothesizing. (The Philip Experiment, Toronto, 1972).

[12] Yeats, Four Years, Chapter 19. Here again one could have recourse to Jung’s concept of the Collective Unconscious, although Yeats seems to have developed an analogous theory on his own account.

[13] Ellic Howe, The Magicians of the Golden Dawn (Northamptonshire: The Aquarian Press, 1985), pp. 100–102.

[14] Terence Brown, The Life of W. B. Yeats: A Critical Biography (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), p. 119.

[15] Alexander Norman Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W. B. Yeats (Stanford, Cal.: Stanford University Press, 1984), p. 212, citing: “A Vision: Notes on Sailing to Byzantium.”

[16] Brown, The Life of W. B. Yeats, p. 117.

[17] Greek, one’s higher intuitive, creative faculties.

[18] The pre-eminent 19th Century historian of the occult, Eliphas Lévy (Alphonse Constant) referred to the aristocratic tradition of the occult as elevating the adept to the “rank of kings, because magical initiation constitutes a true royalty . . . characterized by all Adepts as the Royal Art.” Eliphas Levy, The History of Magic (London: Rider, 1982), p. 5. Like Evola and René Guénon, Lévy, a former socialist agitator and Freemason of the Rose-Cross Degree, also warned of an anti-tradition that included Freemasonry and was behind the French Revolution: “The anarchists have resumed the rule, square and mallet, writing upon them the word Liberty, Equality, Fraternity–Liberty, that is to say, for all lusts, Equality in degradation and Fraternity in the work of destruction. Such are the men whom the Church has condemned justly and will condemn for ever” (p. 287). See also: Chapter 4: “The French Revolution.” It is of interest that the French Revolutionary slogan “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” also happens to be the slogan of the Grand Orient of France.

[19] W. B. Yeats, “Letter to John O’Leary,” 1892.

[20] “Money is overthrown and abolished only by blood” (Spengler, The Decline of the West, vol. 2, p. 507).

[21] W. B. Yeats, On the Boiler (Dublin: The Cuala Press, 1939), p. 25.

[22] John Carey, The Intellectual and the Masses (London: Faber and Faber, 1992), p. 25.

[23] W. B. Yeats, Michael Roberts and the Dancer, “The Leaders of the Crowd” (Dublin: The Cuala Press, 1921).

[24] Spengler, The Decline of the West, vol. 2, p. 507.

[25] Spengler, The Decline of the West, vol. 2, p. 506, n1.

[26] Spengler, The Decline of the West, vol. 2, p. 506, n2.

[27] Spengler referred to the “analogous historical epochs” of Civilizations in terms of the Seasons, to emphasize the organic nature of his cyclic historical paradigm.

[28] Spengler, The Decline of the West, vol. 2, p. 302.

[29] W. B. Yeats, “Under Ben Bulben,” 1938.

[30] W. B. Yeats, On the Boiler (Dublin: The Cuala Press, 1938).

[31] W. B. Yeats, “The Old Stone Cross,” 1938.

[32] W. B. Yeats, “The Statesman’s Holiday,” 1938.

[33] “The coming of Caesarism breaks the dictature of money and its political weapon democracy” (Spengler, The Decline of The West, vol. 2, p. 506).

[34] W. B. Yeats, “The Second Coming,” 1921.

[35] W. B. Yeats, A Vision (New York: Macmillan, 1961), p. 261.

[36] Allen Wade and Rupert Hart-Davis, ed. The Letters of W. B. Yeats, p. 656.

[37] Yeats, “The Second Coming.”

[38] D. R. Pearse, ed., The Senate Speeches of W. B. Yeats (London: Faber and Faber, 1961), p. 173.

[39] Yeats had been appointed to the first Irish Senate in 1922 and was reappointed in 1925.

[40] Pearse, ed., The Senate Speeches of W. B. Yeats, p. 111.

[41] Wade and Hart-Davis, eds., The Letters of W. B. Yeats, p. 808.

[42] Wade and Hart-Davis, eds., The Letters of W. B. Yeats, p. 813.

[43] Maurice Manning, The Blueshirts (London: Gill and Macmillan, 1970).

[44] Manning, The Blueshirts, p. 232.

[45] Oswald Spengler, The Hour of Decision, trans. Charles Francis Atkinson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963), pp. 186–87. However Spengler also believed that Fascism might transform into something else prefiguring a “new Caesarism” (p. 230).