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Rare Yeats edition sells high

October 23, 2008|Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland -- A rare first edition of one of William Butler Yeats' most political poems, "Easter 1916," was sold Wednesday at Adam's auctioneers in central Dublin to an anonymous bidder for $9,600 -- roughly double the forecast price.

Yeats wrote the poem in the months following the Easter rebellion of 1916, when guerrillas seized key Dublin government buildings for a week before surrendering to British forces.

The poem reflects Yeats' deep ambivalence to his countrymen's willingness to resort to violence against Britain.

The poet distributed only 25 copies of the work at first, for fear that wider publication might stir violence. Just three of those are known to remain today; the other two are in the National Library in Dublin and the British Library in London.

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