Yeats on revolution and religion

 How many of us, hope and passion kindled by the 1960s, learned this the hard way! How many have still to learn it! W.B. Yeats, speaking of his youth in the section of Autobiographies titled “Four Years: 1887-1891” (pp 148-149)

Then gradually the attitude towards religion of almost everybody but Morris, who avoided the subject altogether, got upon my nerves, for I broke out after some lecture or other with all the arrogance of raging youth. They attacked religion, I said, or some such words, and yet there must be a change of heart and only religion could make it. What was the use of talking about some new revolution putting all things right, when the change must come, if come it did, with astronomical slowness, like the cooling of the sun, or it may have been like the drying of the moon? Morris rang his chairman’s bell, but I was too angry to listen, and he had to ring it a second time before I sat down. He said that night at supper, “Of course I know there must be a change of heart, but it will not come as slowly as all that. I rang my bell because you were not being understood.” He did not show any vexation, but I never returned after that night; and yet I did not always believe what I had said, and only gradually gave up thinking of and planning for some near sudden change for the better.

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