The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats

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Overview

The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats includes all of the poems authorized by Yeats for inclusion in his standard canon. Breathtaking in range, it encompasses the entire arc of his career, from luminous reworkings of ancient Irish myths and legends to passionate meditations on the demands and rewards of youth and old age, from exquisite, occasionally whimsical songs of love, nature, and art to somber and angry poems of life in a nation torn by war and uprising. In observing the development of rich and recurring ...

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The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats Volume I: The Poems: Revised Second Edition

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Overview

The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats includes all of the poems authorized by Yeats for inclusion in his standard canon. Breathtaking in range, it encompasses the entire arc of his career, from luminous reworkings of ancient Irish myths and legends to passionate meditations on the demands and rewards of youth and old age, from exquisite, occasionally whimsical songs of love, nature, and art to somber and angry poems of life in a nation torn by war and uprising. In observing the development of rich and recurring images and themes over the course of his body of work, we can trace the quest of this century's greatest poet to unite intellect and artistry in a single magnificent vision.
Revised and corrected, this edition includes Yeats's own notes on his poetry, complemented by explanatory notes from esteemed Yeats scholar Richard J. Finneran. The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats is the most comprehensive edition of one of the world's most beloved poets available in paperback.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684807317
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 9/9/1996
  • Series: Great Irish Writers
  • Edition description: Revised edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 139,838
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

William Butler Yeats is generally considered to be Ireland’s greatest poet, living or dead, and one of the most important literary figures of the twentieth century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

The late Richard J. Finneran was general editor, with George Mills Harper, of The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats for many years; series editor of The Poems in the Cornell Yeats; and editor of Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies, among other works. He held the Hodges Chair of Excellence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; was a past president of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association; and served as executive director of the Society for Textual Scholarship.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Crossways

1 The Song of the Happy Shepherd

The woods of Arcady are dead,

And over is their antique joy;

Of old the world on dreaming fed;

Grey Truth is now her painted toy;

Yet still she turns her restless head:

But O, sick children of the world,

Of all the many changing things

In dreary dancing past us whirled,

To the cracked tune that Chronos sings,

Words alone are certain good.

Where are now the warring kings,

Word be-mockers? — By the Rood

Where are now the warring kings?

An idle word is now their glory,

By the stammering schoolboy said,

Reading some entangled story:

The kings of the old time are dead;

The wandering earth herself may be

Only a sudden flaming word,

In clanging space a moment heard,

Troubling the endless reverie.

Then nowise worship dusty deeds,

Nor seek, for this is also sooth,

To hunger fiercely after truth,

Lest all thy toiling only breeds

New dreams, new dreams; there is no truth

Saving in thine own heart. Seek, then,

No learning from the starry men,

Who follow with the optic glass

The whirling ways of stars that pass —

Seek, then, for this is also sooth,

No word of theirs — the cold star-bane

Has cloven and rent their hearts in twain,

And dead is all their human truth.

Go gather by the humming sea

Some twisted, echo-harbouring shell,

And to its lips thy story tell,

And they thy comforters will be,

Rewarding in melodious guile

Thy fretful words a little while,

Till they shall singing fade in ruth

And die a pearly brotherhood;

For words alone are certain good:

Sing, then, for this is also sooth.

I must be gone: there is a grave

Where daffodil and lily wave,

And I would please the hapless faun,

Buried under the sleepy ground,

With mirthful songs before the dawn.

His shouting days with mirth were crowned;

And still I dream he treads the lawn,

Walking ghostly in the dew,

Pierced by my glad singing through,

My songs of old earth's dreamy youth:

But ah! she dreams not now; dream thou!

For fair are poppies on the brow:

Dream, dream, for this is also sooth.

2 The Sad Shepherd

There was a man whom Sorrow named his friend,

And he, of his high comrade Sorrow dreaming,

Went walking with slow steps along the gleaming

And humming sands, where windy surges wend:

And he called loudly to the stars to bend

From their pale thrones and comfort him, but they

Among themselves laugh on and sing alway:

ardAnd then the man whom Sorrow named his friend

Cried out, Dim sea, hear my most piteous story!

The sea swept on and cried her old cry still,

Rolling along in dreams from hill to hill.

He fled the persecution of her glory

And, in a far-off, gentle valley stopping,

Cried all his story to the dewdrops glistening.

But naught they heard, for they are always listening,

The dewdrops, for the sound of their own dropping.

And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend

Sought once again the shore, and found a shell,

And thought, I will my heavy story tell

Till my own words, re-echoing, shall send

Their sadness through a hollow, pearly heart;

And my own tale again for me shall sing,

And my own whispering words be comforting,

And lo! my ancient burden may depart.

Then he sang softly nigh the pearly rim;

But the sad dweller by the sea-ways lone

Changed all he sang to inarticulate moan

Among her wildering whirls, forgetting him.

3 The Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes

'What do you make so fair and bright?'

'I make the cloak of Sorrow:

O lovely to see in all men's sight

Shall be the cloak of Sorrow,

In all men's sight.'

'What do you build with sails for flight?'

'I build a boat for Sorrow:

O swift on the seas all day and night

Saileth the rover Sorrow,

All day and night.'

'What do you weave with wool so white?'

'I weave the shoes of Sorrow:

Soundless shall be the footfall light

In all men's ears of Sorrow,

Sudden and light.'

4 Anashuya and Vijaya

A little Indian temple in the Golden Age. Around it a garden; around that the forest. Anashuya, the young priestess, kneeling Within the temple.

Anashuya. Send peace on all the lands and flickering corn. —

O, may tranquillity walk by his elbow

When wandering in the forest, if he love

No other. — Hear, and may the indolent flocks

Be plentiful. — And if he love another,

May panthers end him. — Hear, and load our king

With wisdom hour by hour. — May we two stand,

When we are dead, beyond the setting suns,

A little from the other shades apart,

With mingling hair, and play upon one lute.

Vijaya [entering and throwing a lily at her]. Hail! hail, my Anashuya.

Anashuya. No: be still.

I, priestess of this temple, offer up

Prayers for the land.

Vijaya. I will wait here, Amrita.

Anashuya. By mighty Brahma's ever-rustling robe,

Who is Amrita? Sorrow of all sorrows!

Another fills your mind.

Vijaya. My mother's name.

Anashuya [sings, coming out of the temple].

A sad, sad thought went by me slowly:

Sigh, O you little stars! O sigh and shake your blue apparel!

The sad, sad thought has gone from me now wholly:

Sing, O you little stars! O sing and raise your rapturous carol

To mighty Brahma, he who made you many as the sands,

And laid you on the gates of evening with his quiet hands.

[Sits down on the steps of the temple.]

Vijaya, I have brought my evening rice;

The sun has laid his chin on the grey wood,

Weary, with all his poppies gathered round him.

Vijaya. The hour when Kama, full of sleepy laughter,

Rises, and showers abroad his fragrant arrows,

Piercing the twilight with their murmuring barbs.

Anashuya. See how the sacred old flamingoes come,

Painting with shadow all the marble steps:

Aged and wise, they seek their wonted perches

Within the temple, devious walking, made

To wander by their melancholy minds.

Yon tall one eyes my supper; chase him away,

Far, far away. I named him after you.

He is a famous fisher; hour by hour

He ruffles with his bill the minnowed streams.

Ah! there he snaps my rice. I told you so.

Now cuff him off. He's off! A kiss for you,

Because you saved my rice. Have you no thanks?

Vijaya [sings]. Sing you of her, O first few stars,

Whom Brahma, touching with his finger, praises, for you hold

The van of wandering quiet; ere you be too calm and old,

Sing, turning in your cars,

Sing, till you raise your hands and sigh, and from your car-heads peer,

With all your whirling hair, and drop many an azure tear.

Anashuya. What know the pilots of the stars of tears?

Vijaya. Their faces are all worn, and in their eyes

Flashes the fire of sadness, for they see

The icicles that famish all the North,

Where men lie frozen in the glimmering snow;

And in the flaming forests cower the lion

And lioness, with all their whimpering cubs;

And, ever pacing on the verge of things,

The phantom, Beauty, in a mist of tears;

While we alone have round us woven woods,

And feel the softness of each other's hand,

Amrita, while —

Anashuya [going away from him].

Ah me! you love another,

[Bursting into tears.]

And may some sudden dreadful ill befall her!

Vijaya. I loved another; now I love no other.

Among the mouldering of ancient woods

You live, and on the village border she,

With her old father the blind wood-cutter;

I saw her standing in her door but now.

Anashuya. Vijaya, swear to love her never more.

Vijaya. Ay, ay.

Anashuya. Swear by the parents of the gods,

Dread oath, who dwell on sacred Himalay,

On the far Golden Peak; enormous shapes,

Who still were old when the great sea was young;

On their vast faces mystery and dreams;

Their hair along the mountains rolled and filled

From year to year by the unnumbered nests

Of aweless birds, and round their stirless feet

The joyous flocks of deer and antelope,

Who never hear the unforgiving hound.

Swear!

Vijaya. By the parents of the gods, I swear.

Anashuya [sings]. I have forgiven, O new star!

Maybe you have not heard of us, you have come forth so newly,

You hunter of the fields afar!

Ah, you will know my loved one by his hunter's arrows truly,

Shoot on him shafts of quietness, that he may ever keep

A lonely laughter, and may kiss his hands to me in sleep.

Farewell, Vijaya. Nay, no word, no word;

I, priestess of this temple, offer up

Prayers for the land.

[Vijaya goes.]

O Brahma, guard in sleep

The merry lambs and the complacent kine,

The flies below the leaves, and the young mice

In the tree roots, and all the sacred flocks

Of red flamingoes; and my love, Vijaya;

And may no restless fay with fidget finger

Trouble his sleeping: give him dreams of me.

5 The Indian upon God

I passed along the water's edge below the humid trees,

My spirit rocked in evening light, the rushes round my knees,

My spirit rocked in sleep and sighs; and saw the moorfowl pace

All dripping on a grassy slope, and saw them cease to chase

Each other round in circles, and heard the eldest speak:

Who holds the worm between His bill and made us strong or weak

Is an undying moorfowl, and He lives beyond the sky.

The rains are from His dripping wing, the moonbeams from His eye.

I passed a little further on and heard a lotus talk:

Who made the worm and ruleth it, He hangeth on a stalk,

For I am in His image made, and all this tinkling tide

Is but a sliding drop of rain between His petals wide.

A little way within the gloom a roebuck raised his eyes

Brimful of starlight, and he said: The Stamper of the Skies,

He is a gentle roebuck; for how else, I pray, could He

Conceive a thing so sad and soft, a gentle thing like me?

I passed a little further on and heard a peacock say:

Who made the grass and made the worms and made my feathers gay,

He is a monstrous peacock, and He waveth all the night

His languid tail above us, lit with myriad spots of light.

6 The Indian to his Love

The island dreams under the dawn

And great boughs drop tranquillity;

The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,

A parrot sways upon a tree,

Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.

Here we will moor our lonely ship

And wander ever with woven hands,

Murmuring softly lip to lip,

Along the grass, along the sands,

Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:

pardHow we alone of mortals are

Hid under quiet boughs apart,

While our love grows an Indian star,

A meteor of the burning heart,

One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam and dart,

The heavy boughs, the burnished dove

That moans and sighs a hundred days:

How when we die our shades will rove,

When eve has hushed the feathered ways,

With vapoury footsole by the water's drowsy blaze.

7 The Falling of the Leaves

Autumn is over the long leaves that love us,

And over the mice in the barley sheaves;

Yellow the leaves of the rowan above us,

And yellow the wet wild-strawberry leaves.

The hour of the waning of love has beset us,

And weary and worn are our sad souls now;

Let us part, ere the season of passion forget us,

With a kiss and a tear on thy drooping brow.

8 Ephemera

'Your eyes that once were never weary of mine

Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,

Because our love is waning.'

And then she:

'Although our love is waning, let us stand

By the lone border of the lake once more,

Together in that hour of gentleness

When the poor tired child, Passion, falls asleep:

How far away the stars seem, and how far

Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!'

Pensive they paced along the faded leaves,

While slowly he whose hand held hers replied:

'Passion has often worn our wandering hearts.'

The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves

Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once

A rabbit old and lame limped down the path;

Autumn was over him: and now they stood

On the lone border of the lake once more:

Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves

Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes,

In bosom and hair.

'Ah, do not mourn,' he said,

'That we are tired, for other loves await us;

Hate on and love through unrepining hours.

Before us lies eternity; our souls

Are love, and a continual farewell.'

9 The Madness of King Goll

I sat on cushioned otter-skin:

My word was law from Ith to Emain,

And shook at Invar Amargin

The hearts of the world-troubling seamen,

And drove tumult and war away

From girl and boy and man and beast;

The fields grew fatter day by day,

The wild fowl of the air increased;

And every ancient Ollave said,

While he bent down his fading head,

'He drives away the Northern cold.'

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

I sat and mused and drank sweet wine;

A herdsman came from inland valleys,

Crying, the pirates drove his swine

To fill their dark-beaked hollow galleys.

I called my battle-breaking men

And my loud brazen battle-cars

From rolling vale and rivery glen;

And under the blinking of the stars

Fell on the pirates by the deep,

And hurled them in the gulph of sleep:

These hands won many a torque of gold.

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

But slowly, as I shouting slew

And trampled in the bubbling mire,

In my most secret spirit grew

A whirling and a wandering fire:

I stood: keen stars above me shone,

Around me shone keen eyes of men:

I laughed aloud and hurried on

By rocky shore and rushy fen;

I laughed because birds fluttered by,

And starlight gleamed, and clouds flew high,

And rushes waved and waters rolled.

They will not hush, the leaves aflutter round me, the beech leaves old.

And now I wander in the woods

When summer gluts the golden bees,

Or in autumnal solitudes

Arise the leopard-coloured trees;

Or when along the wintry strands

The cormorants shiver on their rocks;

I wander on, and wave my hands,

And sing, and shake my heavy locks.

The grey wolf knows me; by one ear

I lead along the woodland deer;

The hares run by me growing bold.

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

I came upon a little town

That slumbered in the harvest moon,

And passed a-tiptoe up and down,

Murmuring, to a fitful tune,

How I have followed, night and day,

A tramping of tremendous feet,

And saw where this old tympan lay

Deserted on a doorway seat,

And bore it to the woods with me;

Of some inhuman misery

Our married voices wildly trolled.

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

I sang how, when day's toil is done,

Orchil shakes out her long dark hair

That hides away the dying sun

And sheds faint odours through the air:

When my hand passed from wire to wire

It quenched, with sound like falling dew,

The whirling and the wandering fire;

But lift a mournful ulalu,

For the kind wires are torn and still,

And I must wander wood and hill

Through summer's heat and winter's cold.

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

10 The Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland

Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,

There lies a leafy island

Where flapping herons wake

The drowsy water-rats;

There we've hid our faery vats,

Full of berries

And of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses

The dim grey sands with light,

Far off by furthest Rosses

We foot it all the night,

Weaving olden dances,

Mingling hands and mingling glances

Till the moon has taken flight;

To and fro we leap

And chase the frothy bubbles,

While the world is full of troubles

And is anxious in its sleep.

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes

From the hills above Glen-Car,

In pools among the rushes

That scarce could bathe a star,

We seek for slumbering trout

And whispering in their ears

Give them unquiet dreams;

Leaning softly out

From ferns that drop their tears

Over the young streams.

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,

The solemn-eyed:

He'll hear no more the lowing

Of the calves on the warm hillside

Or the kettle on the hob

Sing peace into his breast,

Or see the brown mice bob

Round and round the oatmeal-chest.

For he comes, the human child,

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

From a world more full of weeping than he can understand.

11 To an Isle in the Water

Shy one, shy one,

Shy one of my heart,

She moves in the firelight

Pensively apart.

She carries in the dishes,

And lays them in a row.

To an isle in the water

With her would I go.

She carries in the candles,

And lights the curtained room,

Shy in the doorway

And shy in the gloom;

And shy as a rabbit,

Helpful and shy.

To an isle in the water

With her would I fly.

12 Down by the Salley Gardens

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;

She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.

She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;

But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,

And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.

She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;

But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

13 The Meditation of the Old Fisherman

You waves, though you dance by my feet like children at play,

Though you glow and you glance, though you purr and you dart;

In the Junes that were warmer than these are, the waves were more gay,

When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart.

The herring are not in the tides as they were of old;

My sorrow! for many a creak gave the creel in the cart

That carried the take to Sligo town to be sold,

When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart.

And ah, you proud maiden, you are not so fair when his oar

Is heard on the water, as they were, the proud and apart,

Who paced in the eve by the nets on the pebbly shore,

When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart.

14 The Ballad of Father O'Hart

Good Father John O'Hart

In penal days rode out

To a shoneen who had free lands

And his own snipe and trout.

In trust took he John's lands;

Sleiveens were all his race;

And he gave them as dowers to his daughters,

And they married beyond their place.

But Father John went up,

And Father John went down;

And he wore small holes in his shoes,

And he wore large holes in his gown.

All loved him, only the shoneen,

Whom the devils have by the hair,

From the wives, and the cats, and the children,

To the birds in the white of the air.

The birds, for he opened their cages

As he went up and down;

And he said with a smile, 'Have peace now';

And he went his way with a frown.

But if when anyone died

Came keeners hoarser than rooks,

He bade them give over their keening;

For he was a man of books.

And these were the works of John,

When, weeping score by score,

People came into Coloony;

For he'd died at ninety-four.

There was no human keening;

The birds from Knocknarea

And the world round Knocknashee

Came keening in that day.

The young birds and old birds

Came flying, heavy and sad;

Keening in from Tiraragh,

Keening from Ballinafad;

Keening from Inishmurray,

Nor stayed for bite or sup;

This way were all reproved

Who dig old customs up.

15 The Ballad of Moll Magee

Come round me, little childer;

There, don't fling stones at me

Because I mutter as I go;

But pity Moll Magee.

My man was a poor fisher

With shore lines in the say;

My work was saltin' herrings

The whole of the long day.

And sometimes from the saltin' shed

I scarce could drag my feet,

Under the blessed moonlight,

Along the pebbly street.

I'd always been but weakly,

And my baby was just born;

A neighbour minded her by day,

I minded her till morn.

I lay upon my baby;

Ye little childer dear,

I looked on my cold baby

When the morn grew frosty and clear.

A weary woman sleeps so hard!

My man grew red and pale,

And gave me money, and bade me go

To my own place, Kinsale.

He drove me out and shut the door,

And gave his curse to me;

I went away in silence,

No neighbour could I see.

The windows and the doors were shut,

One star shone faint and green,

The little straws were turnin' round

Across the bare boreen.

I went away in silence:

Beyond old Martin's byre

I saw a kindly neighbour

Blowin' her mornin' fire.

She drew from me my story —

My money's all used up,

And still, with pityin', scornin' eye,

She gives me bite and sup.

She says my man will surely come,

And fetch me home agin;

But always, as I'm movin' round,

Without doors or within,

Pilin' the wood or pilin' the turf,

Or goin' to the well,

I'm thinkin' of my baby

And keenin' to mysel'.

And sometimes I am sure she knows

When, openin' wide His door,

God lights the stars, His candles,

And looks upon the poor.

So now, ye little childer,

Ye won't fling stones at me;

But gather with your shinin' looks

And pity Moll Magee.

16 The Ballad of the Foxhunter

'Lay me in a cushioned chair;

Carry me, ye four,

With cushions here and cushions there,

To see the world once more.

'To stable and to kennel go;

Bring what is there to bring;

Lead my Lollard to and fro,

Or gently in a ring.

'Put the chair upon the grass:

Bring Rody and his hounds,

That I may contented pass

From these earthly bounds.'

His eyelids droop, his head falls low,

His old eyes cloud with dreams;

The sun upon all things that grow

Falls in sleepy streams.

Brown Lollard treads upon the lawn,

And to the armchair goes,

And now the old man's dreams are gone,

He smooths the long brown nose.

And now moves many a pleasant tongue

Upon his wasted hands,

For leading aged hounds and young

The huntsman near him stands.

'Huntsman Rody, blow the horn,

Make the hills reply.'

The huntsman loosens on the morn

A gay wandering cry.

Fire is in the old man's eyes,

His fingers move and sway,

And when the wandering music dies

They hear him feebly say,

'Huntsman Rody, blow the horn,

Make the hills reply.'

'I cannot blow upon my horn,

I can but weep and sigh.'

Servants round his cushioned place

Are with new sorrow wrung;

Hounds are gazing on his face,

Aged hounds and young.

One blind hound only lies apart

On the sun-smitten grass;

He holds deep commune with his heart:

The moments pass and pass;

The blind hound with a mournful din

Lifts slow his wintry head;

The servants bear the body in;

The hounds wail for the dead.

Poems Copyright by Anne Yeats

Revisions and additional poems copyright © 1983, 1989 by Anne Yeats

Editorial matter and compilation copyright © 1983, 1989 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

PREFACE

PART ONE

Lyrical

Crossways (1889)

1 The Song of the Happy Shepherd

2 The Sad Shepherd

3 The Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes

4 Anashuya and Vijaya

5 The Indian upon God

6 The Indian to his Love

7 The Falling of the Leaves

8 Ephemera

9 The Madness of King Goll

10 The Stolen Child

11 To an Isle in the Water

12 Down by the Salley Gardens

13 The Meditation of the Old Fisherman

14 The Ballad of Father O'Hart

15 The Ballad of Moll Magee

16 The Ballad of the Foxhunter

The Rose (1893)

17 To the Rose upon the Rood of Time

18 Fergus and the Druid

19 Cuchulain's Fight with the Sea

20 The Rose of the World

21 The Rose of Peace

22 The Rose of Battle

23 A Faery Song

24 The Lake Isle of Innisfree

25 A Cradle Song

26 The Pity of Love

27 The Sorrow of Love

28 When You are Old

29 The White Birds

30 A Dream of Death

31 The Countess Cathleen in Paradise

32 Who goes with Fergus?

33 The Man who dreamed of Faeryland

34 The Dedication to a Book of Stories selected from the Irish Novelists

35 The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner

36 The Ballad of Father Gilligan

37 The Two Trees

38 To Some I have Talked with by the Fire

39 To Ireland in the Coming Times

The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)

40 The Hosting of the Sidhe

41 The Everlasting Voices

42 The Moods

43 The Lover tells of the Rose in his Heart

44 The Host of the Air

45 The Fish

46 The Unappeasable Host

47 Into the Twilight

48 The Song of Wandering Aengus

49 The Song of the Old Mother

50 The Heart of the Woman

51 The Lover mourns for the Loss of Love

52 He mourns for the Change that has come upon Him and his Beloved, and longs for the End of the World

53 He bids his Beloved be at Peace

54 He reproves the Curlew

55 He remembers forgotten Beauty

56 A Poet to his Beloved

57 He gives his Beloved certain Rhymes

58 To his Heart, bidding it have no Fear

59 The Cap and Bells

60 The Valley of the Black Pig

61 The Lover asks Forgiveness because of his Many Moods

62 He tells of a Valley full of Lovers

63 He tells of the Perfect Beauty

64 He hears the Cry of the Sedge

65 He thinks of Those who have spoken Evil of his Beloved

66 The Blessed

67 The Secret Rose

68 Maid Quiet

69 The Travail of Passion

70 The Lover pleads with his Friend for Old Friends

71 The Lover speaks to the Hearers of his Songs in Coming Days

72 The Poet pleads with the Elemental Powers

73 He wishes his Beloved were Dead

74 He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

75 He thinks of his Past Greatness when a Part of the Constellations of Heaven

76 The Fiddler of Dooney

In the Seven Woods (1904)

77 In the Seven Woods

78 The Arrow

79 The Folly of being Comforted

80 Old Memory

81 Never give all the Heart

82 The Withering of the Boughs

83 Adam's Curse

84 Red Hanrahan's Song about Ireland

85 The Old Men admiring Themselves in the Water

86 Under the Moon

87 The Ragged Wood

88 O do not Love Too Long

89 The Players ask for a Blessing on the Psalteries and on Themselves

90 The Happy Townland

The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1910)

91 His Dream

92 A Woman Homer sung

93 Words

94 No Second Troy

95 Reconciliation

96 King and no King

97 Peace

98 Against Unworthy Praise

99 The Fascination of What's Difficult

100 A Drinking Song

101 The Coming of Wisdom with Time

102 On hearing that the Students of our New University have joined the Agitation against Immoral Literature

103 To a Poet, who would have me Praise certain Bad Poets, Imitators of His and Mine

104 The Mask

105 Upon a House shaken by the Land Agitation

106 At the Abbey Theatre

107 These are the Clouds

108 At Galway Races

109 A Friend's Illness

110 All Things can tempt Me

111 Brown Penny

Responsibilities (1914)

112 Introductory Rhymes

113 The Grey Rock

114 To a Wealthy Man who promised a second Subscription to the Dublin Municipal Gallery if it were proved the People wanted Pictures

115 September 1913

116 To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing

117 Paudeen

118 To a Shade

119 When Helen lived

120 On Those that hated 'The Playboy of the Western World,' 1907

121 The Three Beggars

122 The Three Hermits

123 Beggar to Beggar cried

124 Running to Paradise

125 The Hour before Dawn

126 A Song from 'The Player Queen'

127 The Realists

128 I. The Witch

129 II. The Peacock

130 The Mountain Tomb

131 I. To a Child dancing in the Wind

132 II. Two Years Later

133 A Memory of Youth

134 Fallen Majesty

135 Friends

136 The Cold Heaven

137 That the Night come

138 An Appointment

139 The Magi

140 The Dolls

141 A Coat

142 Closing Rhyme

The Wild Swans at Coole (1919)

par143 The Wild Swans at Coole

144 In Memory of Major Robert Gregory

145 An Irish Airman foresees his Death

146 Men improve with the Years

147 The Collar-bone of a Hare

148 Under the Round Tower

149 Solomon to Sheba

150 The Living Beauty

151 A Song

152 To a Young Beauty

153 To a Young Girl

154 The Scholars

155 Tom O'Roughley

156 Shepherd and Goatherd

157 Lines written in Dejection

158 The Dawn

159 On Woman

160 The Fisherman

161 The Hawk

162 Memory

163 Her Praise

164 The People

165 His Phoenix

166 A Thought from Propertius

167 Broken Dreams

168 A Deep-sworn Vow

169 Presences

170 The Balloon of the Mind

171 To a Squirrel at Kyle-na-no

172 On being asked for a War Poem

173 In Memory of Alfred Pollexfen Upon a Dying Lady:

174 I. Her Courtesy

175 II. Certain Artists bring her Dolls and Drawings

176 III. She turns the Dolls' Faces to the Wall

177 IV. The End of Day

178 V. Her Race

179 VI. Her Courage

180 VII. Her Friends bring her a Christmas Tree

181 Ego Dominus Tuus

182 A Prayer on going into my House

183 The Phases of the Moon

184 The Cat and the Moon

185 The Saint and the Hunchback

186 Two Songs of a Fool

187 Another Song of a Fool

188 The Double Vision of Michael Robartes

Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921)

189 Michael Robartes and the Dancer

190 Solomon and the Witch

191 An Image from a Past Life

192 Under Saturn

193 Easter, 1916

194 Sixteen Dead Men

195 The Rose Tree

196 On a Political Prisoner

197 The Leaders of the Crowd

198 Towards Break of Day

199 Demon and Beast

200 The Second Coming

201 A Prayer for my Daughter

202 A Meditation in Time of War

203 To be carved on a Stone at Thoor Ballylee

The Tower (1928)

204 Sailing to Byzantium

205 The Tower

Meditations in Time of Civil War:

206 I. Ancestral Houses

207 II. My House

208 III. My Table

209 IV. My Descendants

210 V. The Road at My Door

211 VI. The Stare's Nest by My Window

212 VII. I see Phantoms of Hatred and of the Heart's Fullness and of the Coming Emptiness

213 Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen

214 The Wheel

215 Youth and Age

216 The New Faces

217 A Prayer for my Son

218 Two Songs from a Play

219 Fragments

220 Leda and the Swan

221 On a Picture of a Black Centaur by Edmund Dulac

222 Among School Children

223 Colonus' Praise

par224 Wisdom

225 The Fool by the Roadside

226 Owen Aherne and his Dancers

A Man Young and Old:

227 I. First Love

228 II. Human Dignity

229 III. The Mermaid

230 IV. The Death of the Hare

231 V. The Empty Cup

232 VI. His Memories

233 VII. The Friends of his Youth

234 VIII. Summer and Spring

235 IX. The Secrets of the Old

236 X. His Wildness

237 XI. From 'Oedipus at Colonus'

238 The Three Monuments

239 All Souls' Night

The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933)

240 In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz

241 Death

242 A Dialogue of Self and Soul

243 Blood and the Moon

244 Oil and Blood

245 Veronica's Napkin

246 Symbols

247 Spilt Milk

248 The Nineteenth Century and After

249 Statistics

250 Three Movements

251 The Seven Sages

252 The Crazed Moon

253 Coole Park, 1929

254 Coole and Ballylee, 1931

255 For Anne Gregory

256 Swift's Epitaph

257 At Algeciras - a Meditation upon Death

258 The Choice

259 Mohini Chatterjee

260 Byzantium

261 The Mother of God

262 Vacillation

263 Quarrel in Old Age

264 The Results of Thought

265 Gratitude to the Unknown Instructors

266 Remorse for Intemperate Speech

267 Stream and Sun at Glendalough

Words for Music Perhaps:

268 I. Crazy Jane and the Bishop

269 II. Crazy Jane Reproved

270 III. Crazy Jane on the Day of Judgment

271 IV. Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman

272 V. Crazy Jane on God

273 VI. Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop

274 VII. Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks at the Dancers

275 VIII. Girl's Song

276 IX. Young Man's Song

277 X. Her Anxiety

278 XI. His Confidence

279 XII. Love's Loneliness

280 XIII. Her Dream

281 XIV. His Bargain

282 XV. Three Things

283 XVI. Lullaby

284 XVII. After Long Silence

285 XVIII. Mad as the Mist and Snow

286 XIX. Those Dancing Days are Gone

287 XX. 'I am of Ireland'

288 XXI. The Dancer at Cruachan and Cro-Patrick

289 XXII. Tom the Lunatic

290 XXIII. Tom at Cruachan

291 XXIV. Old Tom again

292 XXV. The Delphic Oracle upon Plotinus

A Woman Young and Old:

293 I. Father and Child

294 II. Before the World was Made

295 III. A First Confession

296 IV. Her Triumph

297 V. Consolation

298 VI. Chosen

299 VII. Parting

300 VIII. Her Vision in the Wood

301 IX. A Last Confession

302 X. Meeting

303 XI. From the 'Antigone'

[Parnell's Funeral and Other Poems (1935)]

304 Parnell's Funeral

305 Alternative Song for the Severed Head in 'The King of the Great Clock Tower'

306 Two Songs Rewritten for the Tune's Sake

307 A Prayer for Old Age

308 Church and State

Supernatural Songs:

309 I. Ribh at the Tomb of Baile and Aillinn

310 II. Ribh denounces Patrick

311 III. Ribh in Ecstasy

312 IV. There

313 V. Ribh considers Christian Love insufficient

314 VI. He and She

315 VII. What Magic Drum?

316 VIII. Whence had they Come?

317 IX. The Four Ages of Man

318 X. Conjunctions

319 XI. A Needle's Eye

320 XII. Meru

New Poems (1938)

321 The Gyres

322 Lapis Lazuli

323 Imitated from the Japanese

324 Sweet Dancer

325 The Three Bushes

326 The Lady's First Song

327 The Lady's Second Song

328 The Lady's Third Song

329 The Lover's Song

330 The Chambermaid's First Song

331 The Chambermaid's Second Song

332 An Acre of Grass

333 What Then?

334 Beautiful Lofty Things

335 A Crazed Girl

336 To Dorothy Wellesley

337 The Curse of Cromwell

338 Roger Casement

339 The Ghost of Roger Casement

340 The O'Rahilly

341 Come Gather Round Me Parnellites

342 The Wild Old Wicked Man

343 The Great Day

344 Parnell

345 What Was Lost

346 The Spur

347 A Drunken Man's Praise of Sobriety

348 The Pilgrim

349 Colonel Martin

350 A Model for the Laureate

351 The Old Stone Cross

352 The Spirit Medium

353 Those Images

354 The Municipal Gallery Re-visited

355 Are You Content

[Last Poems (1938-1939)]

356 Under Ben Bulben

357 Three Songs to the One Burden

358 The Black Tower

359 Cuchulain Comforted

360 Three Marching Songs

361 In Tara's Halls

362 The Statues

363 News for the Delphic Oracle

364 Long-legged Fly

365 A Bronze Head

366 A Stick of Incense

367 Hound Voice

368 John Kinsella's Lament for Mrs. Mary Moore

369 High Talk

370 The Apparitions

371 A Nativity

372 Man and the Echo

373 The Circus Animals' Desertion

374 Politics

Narrative and Dramatic

375 The Wanderings of Oisin (1889)

376 The Old Age of Queen Maeve (1903)

377 Baile and Aillinn (1903)

The Shadowy Waters (1906):

378 Introductory Lines

379 The Harp of Aengus

380 The Shadowy Waters

381 The Two Kings (1914)

par382 The Gift of Harun Al-Rashid (1923)

Appendix A: Yeats's Notes in The Collected Poems (1933)

Notes to Appendix A

Appendix B: Music from New Poems (1938)

Notes to Appendix B

Explanatory Notes

Index to Titles

Index to First Lines

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First Chapter

Chapter 1 Crossways

1 The Song of the Happy Shepherd

The woods of Arcady are dead,
And over is their antique joy;
Of old the world on dreaming fed;
Grey Truth is now her painted toy;
Yet still she turns her restless head:
But O, sick children of the world,
Of all the many changing things
In dreary dancing past us whirled,
To the cracked tune that Chronos sings,
Words alone are certain good.
Where are now the warring kings,
Word be-mockers? -- By the Rood
Where are now the warring kings?
An idle word is now their glory,
By the stammering schoolboy said,
Reading some entangled story:
The kings of the old time are dead;
The wandering earth herself may be
Only a sudden flaming word,
In clanging space a moment heard,
Troubling the endless reverie.

Then nowise worship dusty deeds,
Nor seek, for this is also sooth,
To hunger fiercely after truth,
Lest all thy toiling only breeds
New dreams, new dreams; there is no truth
Saving in thine own heart. Seek, then,
No learning from the starry men,
Who follow with the optic glass
The whirling ways of stars that pass --
Seek, then, for this is also sooth,
No word of theirs -- the cold star-bane
Has cloven and rent their hearts in twain,
And dead is all their human truth.
Go gather by the humming sea
Some twisted, echo-harbouring shell,
And to its lips thy story tell,
And they thy comforters will be,
Rewarding in melodious guile
Thy fretful words a little while,
Till they shall singing fade in ruth
And die a pearly brotherhood;
For words alone are certain good:
Sing, then, for this is also sooth.

I must be gone: there is a grave
Where daffodil and lily wave,
And I would please the hapless faun,
Buried under the sleepy ground,
With mirthful songs before the dawn.
His shouting days with mirth were crowned;
And still I dream he treads the lawn,
Walking ghostly in the dew,
Pierced by my glad singing through,
My songs of old earth's dreamy youth:
But ah! she dreams not now; dream thou!
For fair are poppies on the brow:
Dream, dream, for this is also sooth.

2 The Sad Shepherd

There was a man whom Sorrow named his friend,
And he, of his high comrade Sorrow dreaming,
Went walking with slow steps along the gleaming
And humming sands, where windy surges wend:
And he called loudly to the stars to bend
From their pale thrones and comfort him, but they
Among themselves laugh on and sing alway:
And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend
Cried out, Dim sea, hear my most piteous story!
The sea swept on and cried her old cry still,
Rolling along in dreams from hill to hill.
He fled the persecution of her glory
And, in a far-off, gentle valley stopping,
Cried all his story to the dewdrops glistening.
But naught they heard, for they are always listening,
The dewdrops, for the sound of their own dropping.
And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend
Sought once again the shore, and found a shell,
And thought, I will my heavy story tell
Till my own words, re-echoing, shall send
Their sadness through a hollow, pearly heart;
And my own tale again for me shall sing,
And my own whispering words be comforting,
And lo! my ancient burden may depart.

Then he sang softly nigh the pearly rim;
But the sad dweller by the sea-ways lone
Changed all he sang to inarticulate moan
Among her wildering whirls, forgetting him.

3 The Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes

'What do you make so fair and bright?'

'I make the cloak of Sorrow:
O lovely to see in all men's sight
Shall be the cloak of Sorrow,
In all men's sight.'

'What do you build with sails for flight?'

'I build a boat for Sorrow:
O swift on the seas all day and night
Saileth the rover Sorrow,
All day and night.'

'What do you weave with wool so white?'

'I weave the shoes of Sorrow:
Soundless shall be the footfall light
In all men's ears of Sorrow,
Sudden and light.'

4 Anashuya and Vijaya

A little Indian temple in the Golden Age. Around it a garden; around that the forest. Anashuya, the young priestess, kneeling Within the temple.

Anashuya. Send peace on all the lands and flickering corn. --
O, may tranquillity walk by his elbow
When wandering in the forest, if he love
No other. -- Hear, and may the indolent flocks
Be plentiful. -- And if he love another,
May panthers end him. -- Hear, and load our king
With wisdom hour by hour. -- May we two stand,
When we are dead, beyond the setting suns,
A little from the other shades apart,
With mingling hair, and play upon one lute.

Vijaya [entering and throwing a lily at her]. Hail! hail, my Anashuya.

Anashuya. No: be still.
I, priestess of this temple, offer up
Prayers for the land.

Vijaya. I will wait here, Amrita.

Anashuya. By mighty Brahma's ever-rustling robe,
Who is Amrita? Sorrow of all sorrows!
Another fills your mind.

Vijaya. My mother's name.

Anashuya [sings, coming out of the temple].
A sad, sad thought went by me slowly:
Sigh, O you little stars! O sigh and shake your blue apparel!
The sad, sad thought has gone from me now wholly:
Sing, O you little stars! O sing and raise your rapturous carol
To mighty Brahma, he who made you many as the sands,
And laid you on the gates of evening with his quiet hands.
[Sits down on the steps of the temple.]

Vijaya, I have brought my evening rice;
The sun has laid his chin on the grey wood,
Weary, with all his poppies gathered round him.

Vijaya. The hour when Kama, full of sleepy laughter,
Rises, and showers abroad his fragrant arrows,
Piercing the twilight with their murmuring barbs.

Anashuya. See how the sacred old flamingoes come,
Painting with shadow all the marble steps:
Aged and wise, they seek their wonted perches
Within the temple, devious walking, made
To wander by their melancholy minds.
Yon tall one eyes my supper; chase him away,
Far, far away. I named him after you.
He is a famous fisher; hour by hour
He ruffles with his bill the minnowed streams.
Ah! there he snaps my rice. I told you so.
Now cuff him off. He's off! A kiss for you,
Because you saved my rice. Have you no thanks?

Vijaya [sings]. Sing you of her, O first few stars,
Whom Brahma, touching with his finger, praises, for you hold
The van of wandering quiet; ere you be too calm and old,
Sing, turning in your cars,
Sing, till you raise your hands and sigh, and from your car-heads peer,
With all your whirling hair, and drop many an azure tear.

Anashuya. What know the pilots of the stars of tears?

Vijaya. Their faces are all worn, and in their eyes
Flashes the fire of sadness, for they see
The icicles that famish all the North,
Where men lie frozen in the glimmering snow;
And in the flaming forests cower the lion
And lioness, with all their whimpering cubs;
And, ever pacing on the verge of things,
The phantom, Beauty, in a mist of tears;
While we alone have round us woven woods,
And feel the softness of each other's hand,
Amrita, while --

Anashuya [going away from him].
Ah me! you love another,
[Bursting into tears.]
And may some sudden dreadful ill befall her!

Vijaya. I loved another; now I love no other.
Among the mouldering of ancient woods
You live, and on the village border she,
With her old father the blind wood-cutter;
I saw her standing in her door but now.

Anashuya. Vijaya, swear to love her never more.

Vijaya. Ay, ay.

Anashuya. Swear by the parents of the gods,
Dread oath, who dwell on sacred Himalay,
On the far Golden Peak; enormous shapes,
Who still were old when the great sea was young;
On their vast faces mystery and dreams;
Their hair along the mountains rolled and filled
From year to year by the unnumbered nests
Of aweless birds, and round their stirless feet
The joyous flocks of deer and antelope,
Who never hear the unforgiving hound.
Swear!

Vijaya. By the parents of the gods, I swear.

Anashuya [sings]. I have forgiven, O new star!
Maybe you have not heard of us, you have come forth so newly,
You hunter of the fields afar!
Ah, you will know my loved one by his hunter's arrows truly,
Shoot on him shafts of quietness, that he may ever keep
A lonely laughter, and may kiss his hands to me in sleep.

Farewell, Vijaya. Nay, no word, no word;
I, priestess of this temple, offer up
Prayers for the land.

[Vijaya goes.]

O Brahma, guard in sleep
The merry lambs and the complacent kine,
The flies below the leaves, and the young mice
In the tree roots, and all the sacred flocks
Of red flamingoes; and my love, Vijaya;
And may no restless fay with fidget finger
Trouble his sleeping: give him dreams of me.

5 The Indian upon God

I passed along the water's edge below the humid trees,
My spirit rocked in evening light, the rushes round my knees,
My spirit rocked in sleep and sighs; and saw the moorfowl pace
All dripping on a grassy slope, and saw them cease to chase
Each other round in circles, and heard the eldest speak:
Who holds the worm between His bill and made us strong or weak
Is an undying moorfowl, and He lives beyond the sky.
The rains are from His dripping wing, the moonbeams from His eye.

I passed a little further on and heard a lotus talk:
Who made the worm and ruleth it, He hangeth on a stalk,
For I am in His image made, and all this tinkling tide
Is but a sliding drop of rain between His petals wide.

A little way within the gloom a roebuck raised his eyes
Brimful of starlight, and he said: The Stamper of the Skies,
He is a gentle roebuck; for how else, I pray, could He
Conceive a thing so sad and soft, a gentle thing like me?

I passed a little further on and heard a peacock say:
Who made the grass and made the worms and made my feathers gay,
He is a monstrous peacock, and He waveth all the night
His languid tail above us, lit with myriad spots of light.

6 The Indian to his Love

The island dreams under the dawn
And great boughs drop tranquillity;
The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
A parrot sways upon a tree,
Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.

Here we will moor our lonely ship
And wander ever with woven hands,
Murmuring softly lip to lip,
Along the grass, along the sands,
Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:

How we alone of mortals are
Hid under quiet boughs apart,
While our love grows an Indian star,
A meteor of the burning heart,
One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam and dart,

The heavy boughs, the burnished dove
That moans and sighs a hundred days:
How when we die our shades will rove,
When eve has hushed the feathered ways,
With vapoury footsole by the water's drowsy blaze.

7 The Falling of the Leaves

Autumn is over the long leaves that love us,
And over the mice in the barley sheaves;
Yellow the leaves of the rowan above us,
And yellow the wet wild-strawberry leaves.
The hour of the waning of love has beset us,
And weary and worn are our sad souls now;
Let us part, ere the season of passion forget us,
With a kiss and a tear on thy drooping brow.

8 Ephemera

'Your eyes that once were never weary of mine
Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,
Because our love is waning.'

And then she:
'Although our love is waning, let us stand
By the lone border of the lake once more,
Together in that hour of gentleness
When the poor tired child, Passion, falls asleep:
How far away the stars seem, and how far
Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!'

Pensive they paced along the faded leaves,
While slowly he whose hand held hers replied:
'Passion has often worn our wandering hearts.'

The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves
Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once
A rabbit old and lame limped down the path;
Autumn was over him: and now they stood
On the lone border of the lake once more:
Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves
Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes,
In bosom and hair.

'Ah, do not mourn,' he said,
'That we are tired, for other loves await us;
Hate on and love through unrepining hours.
Before us lies eternity; our souls
Are love, and a continual farewell.'

9 The Madness of King Goll

I sat on cushioned otter-skin:
My word was law from Ith to Emain,
And shook at Invar Amargin
The hearts of the world-troubling seamen,
And drove tumult and war away
From girl and boy and man and beast;
The fields grew fatter day by day,
The wild fowl of the air increased;
And every ancient Ollave said,
While he bent down his fading head,
'He drives away the Northern cold.'
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

I sat and mused and drank sweet wine;
A herdsman came from inland valleys,
Crying, the pirates drove his swine
To fill their dark-beaked hollow galleys.
I called my battle-breaking men
And my loud brazen battle-cars
From rolling vale and rivery glen;
And under the blinking of the stars
Fell on the pirates by the deep,
And hurled them in the gulph of sleep:
These hands won many a torque of gold.
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

But slowly, as I shouting slew
And trampled in the bubbling mire,
In my most secret spirit grew
A whirling and a wandering fire:
I stood: keen stars above me shone,
Around me shone keen eyes of men:
I laughed aloud and hurried on
By rocky shore and rushy fen;
I laughed because birds fluttered by,
And starlight gleamed, and clouds flew high,
And rushes waved and waters rolled.
They will not hush, the leaves aflutter round me, the beech leaves old.

And now I wander in the woods
When summer gluts the golden bees,
Or in autumnal solitudes
Arise the leopard-coloured trees;
Or when along the wintry strands
The cormorants shiver on their rocks;
I wander on, and wave my hands,
And sing, and shake my heavy locks.
The grey wolf knows me; by one ear
I lead along the woodland deer;
The hares run by me growing bold.
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

I came upon a little town
That slumbered in the harvest moon,
And passed a-tiptoe up and down,
Murmuring, to a fitful tune,
How I have followed, night and day,
A tramping of tremendous feet,
And saw where this old tympan lay
Deserted on a doorway seat,
And bore it to the woods with me;
Of some inhuman misery
Our married voices wildly trolled.
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

I sang how, when day's toil is done,
Orchil shakes out her long dark hair
That hides away the dying sun
And sheds faint odours through the air:
When my hand passed from wire to wire
It quenched, with sound like falling dew,
The whirling and the wandering fire;
But lift a mournful ulalu,
For the kind wires are torn and still,
And I must wander wood and hill
Through summer's heat and winter's cold.
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

10 The Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances,
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal-chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
From a world more full of weeping than he can understand.

11 To an Isle in the Water

Shy one, shy one,
Shy one of my heart,
She moves in the firelight
Pensively apart.

She carries in the dishes,
And lays them in a row.
To an isle in the water
With her would I go.

She carries in the candles,
And lights the curtained room,
Shy in the doorway
And shy in the gloom;

And shy as a rabbit,
Helpful and shy.
To an isle in the water
With her would I fly.

12 Down by the Salley Gardens

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

13 The Meditation of the Old Fisherman

You waves, though you dance by my feet like children at play,
Though you glow and you glance, though you purr and you dart;
In the Junes that were warmer than these are, the waves were more gay,
When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart.

The herring are not in the tides as they were of old;
My sorrow! for many a creak gave the creel in the cart
That carried the take to Sligo town to be sold,
When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart.

And ah, you proud maiden, you are not so fair when his oar
Is heard on the water, as they were, the proud and apart,
Who paced in the eve by the nets on the pebbly shore,
When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart.

14 The Ballad of Father O'Hart

Good Father John O'Hart
In penal days rode out
To a shoneen who had free lands
And his own snipe and trout.

In trust took he John's lands;
Sleiveens were all his race;
And he gave them as dowers to his daughters,
And they married beyond their place.

But Father John went up,
And Father John went down;
And he wore small holes in his shoes,
And he wore large holes in his gown.

All loved him, only the shoneen,
Whom the devils have by the hair,
From the wives, and the cats, and the children,
To the birds in the white of the air.

The birds, for he opened their cages
As he went up and down;
And he said with a smile, 'Have peace now';
And he went his way with a frown.

But if when anyone died
Came keeners hoarser than rooks,
He bade them give over their keening;
For he was a man of books.

And these were the works of John,
When, weeping score by score,
People came into Coloony;
For he'd died at ninety-four.

There was no human keening;
The birds from Knocknarea
And the world round Knocknashee
Came keening in that day.

The young birds and old birds
Came flying, heavy and sad;
Keening in from Tiraragh,
Keening from Ballinafad;

Keening from Inishmurray,
Nor stayed for bite or sup;
This way were all reproved
Who dig old customs up.

15 The Ballad of Moll Magee

Come round me, little childer;
There, don't fling stones at me
Because I mutter as I go;
But pity Moll Magee.

My man was a poor fisher
With shore lines in the say;
My work was saltin' herrings
The whole of the long day.

And sometimes from the saltin' shed
I scarce could drag my feet,
Under the blessed moonlight,
Along the pebbly street.

I'd always been but weakly,
And my baby was just born;
A neighbour minded her by day,
I minded her till morn.

I lay upon my baby;
Ye little childer dear,
I looked on my cold baby
When the morn grew frosty and clear.

A weary woman sleeps so hard!
My man grew red and pale,
And gave me money, and bade me go
To my own place, Kinsale.

He drove me out and shut the door,
And gave his curse to me;
I went away in silence,
No neighbour could I see.

The windows and the doors were shut,
One star shone faint and green,
The little straws were turnin' round
Across the bare boreen.

I went away in silence:
Beyond old Martin's byre
I saw a kindly neighbour
Blowin' her mornin' fire.

She drew from me my story --
My money's all used up,
And still, with pityin', scornin' eye,
She gives me bite and sup.

She says my man will surely come,
And fetch me home agin;
But always, as I'm movin' round,
Without doors or within,

Pilin' the wood or pilin' the turf,
Or goin' to the well,
I'm thinkin' of my baby
And keenin' to mysel'.

And sometimes I am sure she knows
When, openin' wide His door,
God lights the stars, His candles,
And looks upon the poor.

So now, ye little childer,
Ye won't fling stones at me;
But gather with your shinin' looks
And pity Moll Magee.

16 The Ballad of the Foxhunter

'Lay me in a cushioned chair;
Carry me, ye four,
With cushions here and cushions there,
To see the world once more.

'To stable and to kennel go;
Bring what is there to bring;
Lead my Lollard to and fro,
Or gently in a ring.

'Put the chair upon the grass:
Bring Rody and his hounds,
That I may contented pass
From these earthly bounds.'

His eyelids droop, his head falls low,
His old eyes cloud with dreams;
The sun upon all things that grow
Falls in sleepy streams.

Brown Lollard treads upon the lawn,
And to the armchair goes,
And now the old man's dreams are gone,
He smooths the long brown nose.

And now moves many a pleasant tongue
Upon his wasted hands,
For leading aged hounds and young
The huntsman near him stands.

'Huntsman Rody, blow the horn,
Make the hills reply.'
The huntsman loosens on the morn
A gay wandering cry.

Fire is in the old man's eyes,
His fingers move and sway,
And when the wandering music dies
They hear him feebly say,

'Huntsman Rody, blow the horn,
Make the hills reply.'
'I cannot blow upon my horn,
I can but weep and sigh.'

Servants round his cushioned place
Are with new sorrow wrung;
Hounds are gazing on his face,
Aged hounds and young.

One blind hound only lies apart
On the sun-smitten grass;
He holds deep commune with his heart:
The moments pass and pass;

The blind hound with a mournful din
Lifts slow his wintry head;
The servants bear the body in;
The hounds wail for the dead.

Poems Copyright by Anne Yeats
Revisions and additional poems copyright © 1983, 1989 by Anne Yeats
Editorial matter and compilation copyright © 1983, 1989 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2011

    An absolute must have for every library!

    Trying to describe the words of the timeless Yeats would be a disservice to him and an embarrassment to me. The numerous poems strike every emotion and are ready for any occasion. Yeats is truly the greatest poet of the modern era.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    Killer

    Im a river and a forest bear killer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    Blackberry

    Of coarse.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    Amazing!

    Thats really all i can say. I love yeats so so much!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    GREAT BOOK!!!

    This book has the most poem collection, from love,sad,happy,and greatnes. You can find so many poems to relate too!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Finally "Brown Penny"

    I have been looking for a collection of Yeats poems that included this one and finally found it. I love all his poems, especially, 'The Song of the Wandering Aegeus" that was quoted in "Bridges of Madison County". However, "Brown Penny" is special. I couldn't wait for the book to arrive so I could mark it for further reference. I will surely read it many times as it has sentimental value as well as being beautifully written. All of Yeats works are special and I am so blessed to ad this to my collection of famouns poets' works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2002

    Challenging, but worth the effort

    I recently completed a college course on W.B. Yeats in which this collection was the main text used. Yeats's poetry is absolutely worth anyone's attention; reflecting both personal themes, mythological symbolism, and phenomena universal to the human condition. Still, I know that I would have found many of his poems non-sensical without having been given background knowledge on his life and beliefs. Yeats is rewarding to read, but you may want to get some background on both his life, especially his relationship with Maud Gonne, and his (odd) philosophical/mystical beliefs, presented in his book 'A Vision.' Without some of this background knowledge (and even with) many of his poems will either not make sense, or one will not be able to understand their deeper levels of meaning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2001

    Brilliant Butler

    I think that William Butler Yeats' poetry is challenging, always calling for the reader to meet him halfway. His anti-chronological build up and confusing fragments reflect his emotions and fit the early modernist style of poetry perfectly. Although it may seem difficult it is beatiful poetry with an undrlying meaning.

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