Pedant’s Corner

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in a speech at Dublin Castle —

The Irish have always been visionaries. They have never been afraid to dream big. It was William Butler Yeats who said: “I have spread my dreams beneath your feet; tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” Over the past few decades, the dream of a dynamic, prosperous, confident nation became reality. And today, despite grave setbacks, this dream is still very much alive. 

But Yeats also said “in dreams begin responsibilities”. And those responsibilities are the co-responsibilities of Ireland and Europe.

Yeats didn’t say “in dreams begin responsibilities”. He wrote “in dreams begins responsibility” as an epigraph in his Responsibilities collection, a line which he attributed to an old play. The commonly cited quote that Lagarde uses is a Delmore Schwartz book title.

1 thought on “Pedant’s Corner

  1. The reference to W.B. Yeats’ poetry by Christine Laguard is rather interesting, especially her substitution of “responsibilities” for the less utilitarian “reponsibility.”

    George Orwell referred to Yeats as an “occult fascist” which was about right. W.B. was certainly no progressive in the democratic sense.

    When you think about it Yeats and Lagarde have quite a bit in common. In company with the likes of Aleister Crowley (aka Great Beast 666), Yeats was an initiate and leader of the magical organization the “Golden Dawn” which he joined in the 1890’s. He was known by the magical name Daemon est Deus inversus. Lagarde is of course initiate and head magician of that other esoteric organization – the IMF.

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