William Butler Yeats2017-10-25T00:42:16-07:00

William Butler Yeats

A Bronze Head

HERE at right of the entrance this bronze head,
Human, superhuman, a bird’s round eye,
Everything else withered and mummy-dead.
What great tomb-haunter sweeps the distant sky
(Something may linger there though all else die;)
And finds there nothing to make its terror less
Hysterica passio of its own emptiness?

No dark tomb-haunter once; her form all full
As though with magnanimity of light,
Yet a most gentle woman; who can tell
Which of her forms has shown her

May 16th, 2017|William Butler Yeats|0 Comments

A Coat

I MADE my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But he 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.
-William Butler Yeats

May 16th, 2017|William Butler Yeats|0 Comments

A Cradle Song

THE angels are stooping
Above your bed;
They weary of trooping
With the whimpering dead.

God’s laughing in Heaven
To see you so good;
The Sailing Seven
Are gay with His mood.

I sigh that kiss you,
For I must own
That I shall miss you
When you have grown.
-William Butler Yeats

May 16th, 2017|William Butler Yeats|0 Comments

A Crazed Girl

THAT crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,
Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling she knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, ‘O

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A Deep-Sworn Vow

OTHERS because you did not keep
That deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine;
Yet always when I look death in the face,
When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
Or when I grow excited with wine,
Suddenly I meet your face.
-William Butler Yeats

May 16th, 2017|William Butler Yeats|0 Comments

A Dialogue of Self and Soul

-I-
My Soul I summon to the winding ancient stair;
Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,
Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,
Upon the breathless starlit air,
‘Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;
Fix every wandering thought upon
That quarter where all thought is done:
Who can distinguish darkness from the soul?

My Self. The consecrated blade upon my knees
Is Sato’s ancient blade, still as it was,
Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass
Unspotted by the centuries;
That

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A Dream of Death

I DREAMED that one had died in a strange place
Near no accustomed hand,
And they had nailed the boards above her face,
The peasants of that land,
Wondering to lay her in that solitude,
And raised above her mound
A cross they had made out of two bits of wood,
And planted cypress round;
And left her to the indifferent stars above
Until I carved these words:
She was more beautiful than thy first love,
But now lies under

May 16th, 2017|William Butler Yeats|0 Comments

A Drunken Man’s Praise Of Sobriety

COME swish around, my pretty punk,
And keep me dancing still
That I may stay a sober man
Although I drink my fill.

Sobriety is a jewel
That I do much adore;
And therefore keep me dancing
Though drunkards lie and snore.
O mind your feet, O mind your feet,
Keep dancing like a wave,
And under every dancer
A dead man in his grave.
No ups and downs, my pretty,
A mermaid, not a punk;
A drunkard is a dead man,
And all

May 16th, 2017|William Butler Yeats|0 Comments

A Faery Song

Sung by the people of Faery over Diarmuid and Grania,
in their bridal sleep under a Cromlech.

WE who are old, old and gay,
O so old!
Thousands of years, thousands of years,
If all were told:

Give to these children, new from the world,
Silence and love;
And the long dew-dropping hours of the night,
And the stars above:

Give to these children, new from the world,
Rest far from men.
Is anything better, anything better?
Tell us it then:

Us who

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A Man Young And Old -I- First Love

THOUGH nurtured like the sailing moon
In beauty’s murderous brood,
She walked awhile and blushed awhile
And on my pathway stood
Until I thought her body bore
A heart of flesh and blood.

But since I laid a hand thereon
And found a heart of stone
I have attempted many things
And not a thing is done,
For every hand is lunatic
That travels on the moon.

She smiled and that transfigured me
And left me but a lout,
Maundering here, and maundering

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A Man Young And Old -II- Human Dignity

Like the moon her kindness is,
If kindness I may call
What has no comprehension in’t,
But is the same for all
As though my sorrow were a scene
Upon a painted wall.

So like a bit of stone I lie
Under a broken tree.
I could recover if I shrieked
My heart’s agony
To passing bird, but I am dumb
From human dignity.
-William Butler Yeats

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A Man Young And Old -IV- The Death of the Hare

I have pointed out the yelling pack,
The hare leap to the wood,
And when I pass a compliment
Rejoice as lover should
At the drooping of an eye,
At the mantling of the blood.

Then’ suddenly my heart is wrung
By her distracted air
And I remember wildness lost
And after, swept from there,
Am set down standing in the wood
At the death of the hare.
-William Butler Yeats

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A Man Young And Old -VI- His Memories

We should be hidden from their eyes,
Being but holy shows
And bodies broken like a thorn
Whereon the bleak north blows,
To think of buried Hector
And that none living knows.

The women take so little stock
In what I do or say
They’d sooner leave their cosseting
To hear a jackass bray;
My arms are like the twisted thorn
And yet there beauty lay;

The first of all the tribe lay there
And did such pleasure take –
She who had

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A Man Young And Old -VII- The Friends of his Youth

Laughter not time destroyed my voice
And put that crack in it,
And when the moon’s pot-bellied
I get a laughing fit,
For that old Madge comes down the lane,
A stone upon her breast,
And a cloak wrapped about the stone,
And she can get no rest
With singing hush and hush-a-bye;
She that has been wild
And barren as a breaking wave
Thinks that the stone’s a child.

And Peter that had great affairs
And was a pushing man
Shrieks, ‘I

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A Man Young And Old -VIII- Summer and Spring

We sat under an old thorn-tree
And talked away the night,
Told all that had been said or done
Since first we saw the light,
And when we talked of growing up
Knew that we’d halved a soul
And fell the one in t’other’s arms
That we might make it whole;
Then peter had a murdering look,
For it seemed that he and she
Had spoken of their childish days
Under that very tree.
O what a bursting out there was,
And

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A Man Young And Old -IX- The Secrets of the Old

I have old women’s secrets now
That had those of the young;
Madge tells me what I dared not think
When my blood was strong,
And what had drowned a lover once
Sounds like an old song.

Though Margery is stricken dumb
If thrown in Madge’s way,
We three make up a solitude;
For none alive to-day
Can know the stories that we know
Or say the things we say:

How such a man pleased women most
Of all that are gone,
How

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A Man Young And Old -X- His Wildness

O bid me mount and sail up there
Amid the cloudy wrack,
For peg and Meg and Paris’ love
That had so straight a back,
Are gone away, and some that stay
Have changed their silk for sack.

Were I but there and none to hear
I’d have a peacock cry,
For that is natural to a man
That lives in memory,
Being all alone I’d nurse a stone
And sing it lullaby.
-William Butler Yeats

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A Man Young And Old -XI- From Oedipus at Colonus

Endure what life God gives and ask no longer span;
Cease to remember the delights of youth, travel-wearied aged man;
Delight becomes death-longing if all longing else be vain.

Even from that delight memory treasures so,
Death, despair, division of families, all entanglements of mankind grow,
As that old wandering beggar and these God-hated children know.

In the long echoing street the laughing dancers throng,
The bride is carried to the bridegroom’s chamber through torchlight and

May 16th, 2017|William Butler Yeats|0 Comments

A Memory of Youth

The moments passed as at a play;
I had the wisdom love brings forth;
I had my share of mother-wit,
And yet for all that I could say,
And though I had her praise for it,
A cloud blown from the cut-throat North
Suddenly hid Love’s moon away.

Believing every word I said,
I praised her body and her mind
Till pride had made her eyes grow bright,
And pleasure made her cheeks grow red,
And vanity her footfall light,
Yet

May 15th, 2017|William Butler Yeats|0 Comments

A Model for the Laureate

ON thrones from China to Peru
All sorts of kings have sat
That men and women of all sorts
Proclaimed both good and great;
And what’s the odds if such as these
For reason of the State
Should keep their lovers waiting,
Keep their lovers waiting.

Some boast of beggar-kings and kings
Of rascals black and white
That rule because a strong right arm
Puts all men in a fright,
And drunk or sober live at ease
Where none gainsay their right,
And

May 15th, 2017|William Butler Yeats|0 Comments