The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by William Butler Yeats - Read Online
The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
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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, ocasionally 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.
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W. B. Yeats



Richard J. Finneran

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, a division of Macmillan, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Publisher.

Collier Books

Macmillan Publishing Company

866 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865–1939.

The collected poems of W.B. Yeats.

Includes indexes.

I. Finneran, Richard J.        II. Title.

PR5900.A3    1989b      821’.8      89-7234

ISBN 0-02-055650-0

eISBN 978-1-4391-0477-4

Macmillan books are available at special discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details contact:

Special Sales Director

Macmillan Publishing Company

866 Third Avenue

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Printed in the United States of America





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 hisMany 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)

143   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

224   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)

382   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


This edition is essentially a reconstruction of the expanded version of The Collected Poems (1933) which as of June 22, 1937, Yeats had planned to publish in about two years’ time. To the 1933 volume have been added the poems published in the section Parnell’s Funeral and Other Poems in A Full Moon in March, 1935 (except Three Songs to the Same Tune, later revised as Three Marching Songs); the poems from New Poems, 1938; and the poems included on a manuscript table of contents for a volume of poetry and plays Yeats had projected during the last few weeks of his life (published posthumously as Last Poems and Two Plays, 1939). The notes from the Collected Poems and the music from New Poems have been included as appendices. The only comment from the Preface to A Full Moon in March relevant to the poetry is quoted in the editor’s Explanatory Notes. Last Poems and Two Plays did not offer any ancillary materials.

The texts in this volume are taken from the revised edition of The Poems (1989) in the Macmillan Collected Works of W. B. Yeats (Volume I). The textual policy for both editions has been to present the final versions of the poems authorized by Yeats. The copy-texts therefore consist of printed editions (some with corrections by Yeats), manuscripts, typescripts, and corrected proofs. Emendation has been held to a minimum. For example, there has been virtually no attempt to regularize Yeats’s unorthodox punctuation, nor has the spelling of Gaelic names been corrected or made uniform unless Yeats himself established a standard spelling (as with Cuchulain or Oisin). Readers interested in these matters will find a list of the copy-texts and a tabular presentation of all emendations in The Poems, as well as a fuller discussion in the editor’s Editing Yeats’s Poems: A Reconsideration (1989).

The Explanatory Notes attempt to elucidate all direct allusions in the poems. Attention is directed to the headnote, which explains the principles of annotation.

Any project of this scope is of course the work not only of one individual but of various hands. I should first like to thank Anne Yeats and Michael B. Yeats, not only for authorizing me to undertake this project but also for giving me free access to their collections of Yeats’s books and manuscripts, without which its completion would have been quite impossible.

Of the many scholars who contributed to this edition, my greatest debt by far is to Brendan O Hehir, who not only provided me with much of the information on Irish materials in the Notes but also saved me from numerous errors. His combination of precise knowledge and generosity in sharing it is a rare virtue. I should also like to give special thanks to George Bornstein, whose advice on many matters I have valued, as I have his friendship. And I thank John Glusman and Robert Kimzey of Macmillan, New York, for their support of this project and their patience, and John Woodside for his careful attention to the proofs.

I am also indebted to the following: the late Russell K. Alspach; Charles Bowen; Maureen Brown; John Francis Byrne; Edward Callan; Eamonn R. Cantwell; Andrew Carpenter; David R. Clark; Rosalind E. Clark; Peter Connolly; Kevin Danaher; Istvan Deak; Eilis Dillon; Clive E. Driver; Michael Durkan; the late Oliver Edwards; the late Richard Ellmann; Julia Emmons; Richard Fal-lis; T. M. Farmiloe; the late Ian Fletcher; Richard Garnett; the late James Gilvarry; Warwick Gould; Maurice Harmon; George Mills Harper; Carolyn Holdsworth; M. C. K. Hood; Walter Kelly Hood; Michael Horniman; K. P. S. Jochum; John Kelleher; John Kelly; Hugh Kenner; Dan H. Laurence; A. Walton Litz; Seán Lucy; the late F. S. L. Lyons; Phillip L. Marcus; Vivian Mercier; William M. Murphy; William H. O’Donnell; James Olney; Edward O’Shea; Mícheàl O Súilleabhain; Thomas Parkinson; Edward B. Partridge; Richard F. Peterson; Elizabeth Poe; Donald Pizer; Raymond J. Porter; J. A. V. Rose; M. L. Rosenthal; Ann Saddlemyer; Charles Seaton; Ronald Schuchard; Paula Scott-James; David Seidman; Linda Shaughnessy; Colin Smythe; Gerald Snare; John Sparrow; Jon Stallworthy; Donald E. Stanford; Thomas R. Starnes; Julia Tame; Mary Helen Thuente; Donald T. Torchiana; and Karen Wilcox.

I am also indebted to the following institutions and libraries; The Berg Collection, New York Public Library; British Library; Houghton Library, Harvard University (Rodney G. Dennis); Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery; Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin (Ellen S. Dunlap and Cathy Henderson); National Library of Ireland; Pierpont Morgan Library; Princeton University Library (Nancy N. Coffin and Richard Ludwig); Southern Illinois University Library (Kenneth W. Duckett); University College, Dublin, Library (Norma Jessop); William Andrews Clark Memorial Library; and the Yeats Archives, State University of New York at Stony Brook (Narayan Hegde, Lewis Lusardi, Peggy McMullen, and Arthur Sniffin).

For the financial support which enabled me to undertake my editing of Yeats’s poems, I am most grateful to the American Council of Learned Societies; the American Philosophical Society; the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery; the Graduate Council on Research, Tulane University; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

I would like to dedicate this edition to Richard and Catherine, my constant joy.

Mandeville, Louisiana                                       R.J.F.

September 21, 1988




The stars are threshed, and the souls are threshed from their husks.’





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


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.


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

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

May be 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 world 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 world 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 a-flutter 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


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


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, 0 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


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


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;