Research Output

"Fiery Speech": Vision and Violence in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats and Patrick Pearse

  This paper examines the work of two of the main protagonists behind the cultural and political revival of Ireland in the early twentieth century, W. B. Yeats and Patrick Pearse, looking particularly at some of the religious and spiritual ideas and emotions forming the foundation to their poetry.While Yeats memorialises Pearse, and other 1916 martyrs, in ‘Easter, 1916’, a poem that is in many ways a reply to Pearse’s ‘The Fool’, their respective visions of what the new Ireland should look like – Pearse’s traditional ‘peasant’ Catholicism and Yeats’s heterodox elite Protestantism − were very different. Yet in many of their poems Yeats and Pearse inhabit the persona of prophet or visionary, with what Pearse in ‘The Rebel’ calls ‘the gift of fiery speech’. Their poems, especially those on Ireland, often display a violent anger and outrage that, even so, shares the ultimate aim of resacralising Ireland.

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Date:

    22 August 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    PR English literature

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Lyall, S. (2016, August). "Fiery Speech": Vision and Violence in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats and Patrick Pearse. Paper presented at ESSE 2016



Irish literature, poetry, nationalism,

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