A Coat Poem by William Butler Yeats Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English


“A Coat” is a poem written by W. B. Yeats. It is a self-referential poem that brings out the poet’s thoughts on his poetry. 

About the Poet:

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was an eminent Irish poet and writer. He was a former Senator of the Irish Free State. Famous works of his include ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, and ‘Easter, 1916’. 


This is a short poem consisting of 10 lines encompassed in a single stanza. It follows the rhyme scheme ‘abbacdccde’

Explanation of the Poem:

I made my song a coat 

Covered with embroideries 

Out of old mythologies 

From heel to throat; 

But the fools caught it, 

Wore it in the world’s eyes 

As though they’d wrought it. 

Song, let them take it

For there’s more enterprise 

In walking naked.

The poem begins with the poet referring to itself as a “coat”. He states that he made it “Covered with embroideries/Out of old mythologies/From heel to throat”, referring to his compositions consisting of classical Hellenic literature through and through. However, the poet then states that the “fools caught it”, pointing out that others plagiarised. They “Wore it in the world’s eyes/As though they’d wrought it”, meaning to state that they used his creation and paraded it as theirs. The poem concludes with an assertive tone where the poet directly addresses the poem. He declares for “them” to “take it” without fight, deeming that “there’s more enterprise/ In walking naked”. This means that the poet finds more honour in shedding his clothes off than in fighting with those who plagiarised his work over the ownership of his hard work.


This is a short and succinct poem that brings out how artists feel when their works are unlawfully plagiarised in those times.