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Four Years

By Yeats, William Butler

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Book Id: WPLBN0000620514
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Title: Four Years  
Author: Yeats, William Butler
Language: English
Subject: Literature & thought, Literature and history, Literature & philosophy
Collections: Project Gutenberg Consortia Center
Publication Date:
Publisher: Project Gutenberg Consortia Center


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Yeats, W. B. (n.d.). Four Years. Retrieved from

FOUR YEARS, 1887-1891. At the end of the eighties my father and mother, my brother and sisters and myself, all newly arrived from Dublin, were settled in Bedford Park in a red-brick house with several wood mantlepieces copied from marble mantlepieces by the brothers Adam, a balcony, and a little garden shadowed by a great horse-chestnut tree. Years before we had lived there, when the crooked, ostentatiously picturesque streets, with great trees casting great shadows, had been anew enthusiasm: the Pre-Raphaelite movement at last affecting life. But now exaggerated criticism had taken the place of enthusiasm; the tiled roofs, the first in modern London, were said to leak, which they did not, & the drains to be bad, though that was no longer true; and I imagine that houses were cheap. 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. The big red-brick church had never pleased me, and I was accustomed, when I saw the wooden balustrade that ran along the slanting edge of the roof, where nobody ever walked or could walk, to remember the opinion of some architect friend of my father?s, that it had been put there to keep the birds from falling off. Still, however, it had some village characters and helped us to feel not wholly lost in the metropolis. I no longer went to church as a regular habit, but go I sometimes did, for one Sunday morning I saw these words painted on a board in the porch: ?The congregation are requested to kneel during prayers; the kneelers are afterwards to be hung upon pegs provided for the purpose.? In front of every seat hung a little cushion, and these cushions were called ?kneelers.? Presently the joke ran through the community, where there were many artists, who considered religion at best an unimportant accessory to good architecture and who disliked that particular church.


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