Section 7: They Came Like Swallows
Lady Gregory's Journals written 1916–32; published 1978 and 1987 chart her literary work and friendships of the period in extraordinary detail and show her political acuity and resilient optimism amidst the violence leading up to the foundation of the Irish Free State. She was nominated to be a senator in the new government in 1923 but was not elected. After two decades as Gregory's regular guest at Coole, Yeats finally married. His changed circumstances inevitably reduced Gregory's close and regular involvement in his life, though his poetic celebrations of her and Coole became more intense and elegiac with his greater independence. ''They came like swallows and like swallows went," he wrote of her numerous literary visitors. This was in part in response to Gregory's aging and to Yeats's increasing recognition that Coole might soon be lost. Margaret Gregory, Robert's widow and owner of the estate since Robert's death, was determined to sell, but Lady Gregory agreed to take over running expenses so that she could remain.