William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was an Irish poet and a prominent figure in the Irish Literary Revival. “Easter 1916,” first published in 1921, describes Yeats’ torn emotions about the Easter Rising — an armed rebellion against British rule in Ireland. The event took place on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916. The British army suppressed the rebellion quickly, and many of the Irish leaders were executed. Though an Irish nationalist, Yeats distanced himself from politics and violence. As you read, take notes on how the events of the Easter Rising influenced Yeats’ poetry and politics. This poem is for grade 11 readers. “Easter 1916” by William Butler Yeats (1921) is in the public domain.