The most striking characteristic of Yeats's work is the pensive yearning for a spiritual love, for an unchecked joy, and an unchanging peace beyond what mortal life can give. The very spirit of Celtic poetry is seen in these lines from The Lake Isle of Innisfree:
Penetrating beneath the varying externalities attending the ruin of the monasteries in Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, and other countries, it will be found that the underlying cause of the destruction of the monasteries was that the monastic ideal conflicted with the spirit of the modern era.
After a partial recovery from the shame of the revelation of my correspondent's unsoldierly spirit, a shame which was a little softened by the thought that anyhow he was dead, I went to Leaves of Grass for the first time for some years, to see whether Drum Taps accorded with war as we know it. And now I am forced to confess that we may no longer accuse the Americans of coming late into the War.
The figures in the court room grew dim and faded, and out of the mists of the spirit world his excited fancy saw a crooked Red Shape rise over all, stretch forth a long bony hand dripping with blood and filth and begin to throw gold into a black bag.
Margaret was, for an hour or two, possessed with the bad spirit of defiance.
Before my birth I was a blessed sky-fairy, and the emperor was a blessed spirit as well. Even then we loved each other dearly. Then, when the emperor was sent down to earth by the Lord of the Heavens, I, too, descended to earth and found him there among men. In twelve years' time we will meet again.
Luella watched my face narrowly through the conflict in my mind, and I felt as though her spirit struggled with mine to win me to the course of open, honest dealing. But it was impossible. She must be the last of all to know. Her eyes sank as though she knew which had won the victory, and a proud, scornful look took the place of the grave good humor that had been there a moment before.
This letter is written in a spirit of caution, and not of censure." But Fremont was willing to override both President and congress, and declined to make the necessary modifications. This placed him, with such influence as he had, in direct antagonism to the administration.
His chief comfort was, however, in visits and letters from his daughter Margaret, who was fully able to enter into the spirit that preferred death to transgression. He was tried in Westminster Hall, on the 1st of July, and, as he had fully expected, sentenced to death. He was taken back along the river to the Tower. On the wharf his loving Margaret was waiting for her last look.
What was the source of the hope and the rapture and the delusion? Was it not the deep certainty that Isora yet existed; that her spirit, her nature, her love were preserved, were inviolate, were the same?