Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Responsibilities - and other poems
Author: Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Responsibilities - and other poems" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: (front cover)]


RESPONSIBILITIES AND OTHER POEMS


[Illustration]


  THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO · DALLAS
  ATLANTA · SAN FRANCISCO

  MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED
  LONDON · BOMBAY · CALCUTTA
  MELBOURNE

  THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.
  TORONTO



RESPONSIBILITIES AND OTHER POEMS

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS


  =New York=
  THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  1916

  _All rights reserved_



  Copyright, 1911
  By WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

  Copyright, 1904, 1908, and 1912
  By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

  Copyright, 1916
  By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1916.



CONTENTS


                                                          PAGE

RESPONSIBILITIES, 1912-1914--

  Introductory Rhymes                                        1
  The Grey Rock                                              3
  The Two Kings                                             11
  To a Wealthy Man                                          29
  September 1913                                            32
  To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing                34
  Paudeen                                                   35
  To a Shade                                                36
  When Helen Lived                                          39
  The Attack on 'The Playboy of the Western World,' 1907    40
  The Three Beggars                                         41
  The Three Hermits                                         45
  Beggar to Beggar cried                                    47
  The Well and the Tree                                     49
  Running to Paradise                                       50
  The Hour before Dawn                                      52
  The Player Queen                                          59
  The Realists                                              61
  The Witch                                                 62
  The Peacock                                               63
  The Mountain Tomb                                         64
  To a Child dancing in the Wind                            66
  A Memory of Youth                                         68
  Fallen Majesty                                            70
  Friends                                                   71
  The Cold Heaven                                           73
  That the Night come                                       75
  An Appointment                                            76
  The Magi                                                  77
  The Dolls                                                 78
  A Coat                                                    80
  Closing Rhymes                                            81

FROM THE GREEN HELMET AND OTHER POEMS, 1909-1912--

  His Dream                                                 85
  A Woman Homer sung                                        87
  The Consolation                                           89
  No Second Troy                                            91
  Reconciliation                                            92
  King and No King                                          94
  Peace                                                     96
  Against Unworthy Praise                                   97
  The Fascination of What's Difficult                       99
  A Drinking Song                                          101
  The Coming of Wisdom with Time                           102
  On hearing that the Students of our New University
    have joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians            103
  To a Poet                                                104
  The Mask                                                 105
  Upon a House shaken by the Land Agitation                106
  At the Abbey Theatre                                     108
  These are the Clouds                                     110
  At Galway Races                                          112
  A Friend's Illness                                       113
  All Things can tempt me                                  114
  The Young Man's Song                                     115

THE HOUR-GLASS--1912                                       117

NOTES                                                      181



  '_In dreams begins responsibility._'

                                          _Old Play._


  '_How am I fallen from myself, for a long time now_
  _I have not seen the Prince of Chang in my dreams._'

                                   _Khoung-fou-tseu._



RESPONSIBILITIES



  _Pardon, old fathers, if you still remain_
  _Somewhere in ear-shot for the story's end,_
  _Old Dublin merchant 'free of ten and four'_
  _Or trading out of Galway into Spain;_
  _And country scholar, Robert Emmet's friend,_
  _A hundred-year-old memory to the poor;_
  _Traders or soldiers who have left me blood_
  _That has not passed through any huxter's loin,_
  _Pardon, and you that did not weigh the cost,_
  _Old Butlers when you took to horse and stood_
  _Beside the brackish waters of the Boyne_
  _Till your bad master blenched and all was lost;_
  _You merchant skipper that leaped overboard_
  _After a ragged hat in Biscay Bay,_
  _You most of all, silent and fierce old man_
  _Because you were the spectacle that stirred_
  _My fancy, and set my boyish lips to say_
  _'Only the wasteful virtues earn the sun';_
  _Pardon that for a barren passion's sake,_
  _Although I have come close on forty-nine_
  _I have no child, I have nothing but a book,_
  _Nothing but that to prove your blood and mine._


_January 1914._



THE GREY ROCK


  _Poets with whom I learned my trade,_
  _Companions of the Cheshire Cheese,_
  _Here's an old story I've re-made,_
  _Imagining 'twould better please_
  _Your ears than stories now in fashion,_
  _Though you may think I waste my breath_
  _Pretending that there can be passion_
  _That has more life in it than death,_
  _And though at bottling of your wine_
  _The bow-legged Goban had no say;_
  _The moral's yours because it's mine._

  When cups went round at close of day--
  Is not that how good stories run?--
  Somewhere within some hollow hill,
  If books speak truth in Slievenamon,
  But let that be, the gods were still
  And sleepy, having had their meal,
  And smoky torches made a glare
  On painted pillars, on a deal
  Of fiddles and of flutes hung there
  By the ancient holy hands that brought them
  From murmuring Murias, on cups--
  Old Goban hammered them and wrought them,
  And put his pattern round their tops
  To hold the wine they buy of him.
  But from the juice that made them wise
  All those had lifted up the dim
  Imaginations of their eyes,
  For one that was like woman made
  Before their sleepy eyelids ran
  And trembling with her passion said,
  'Come out and dig for a dead man,
  Who's burrowing somewhere in the ground,
  And mock him to his face and then
  Hollo him on with horse and hound,
  For he is the worst of all dead men.'

  _We should be dazed and terror struck,_
  _If we but saw in dreams that room,_
  _Those wine-drenched eyes, and curse our luck_
  _That emptied all our days to come._
  _I knew a woman none could please,_
  _Because she dreamed when but a child_
  _Of men and women made like these;_
  _And after, when her blood ran wild,_
  _Had ravelled her own story out,_
  _And said, 'In two or in three years_
  _I need must marry some poor lout,'_
  _And having said it burst in tears._
  _Since, tavern comrades, you have died,_
  _Maybe your images have stood,_
  _Mere bone and muscle thrown aside,_
  _Before that roomful or as good._
  _You had to face your ends when young--_
  _'Twas wine or women, or some curse--_
  _But never made a poorer song_
  _That you might have a heavier purse,_
  _Nor gave loud service to a cause_
  _That you might have a troop of friends._
  _You kept the Muses' sterner laws,_
  _And unrepenting faced your ends,_
  _And therefore earned the right--and yet_
  _Dowson and Johnson most I praise--_
  _To troop with those the world's forgot,_
  _And copy their proud steady gaze._

  'The Danish troop was driven out
  Between the dawn and dusk,' she said;
  'Although the event was long in doubt,
  Although the King of Ireland's dead
  And half the kings, before sundown
  All was accomplished.'

                        'When this day
  Murrough, the King of Ireland's son,
  Foot after foot was giving way,
  He and his best troops back to back
  Had perished there, but the Danes ran,
  Stricken with panic from the attack,
  The shouting of an unseen man;
  And being thankful Murrough found,
  Led by a footsole dipped in blood
  That had made prints upon the ground,
  Where by old thorn trees that man stood;
  And though when he gazed here and there,
  He had but gazed on thorn trees, spoke,
  "Who is the friend that seems but air
  And yet could give so fine a stroke?"
  Thereon a young man met his eye,
  Who said, "Because she held me in
  Her love, and would not have me die,
  Rock-nurtured Aoife took a pin,
  And pushing it into my shirt,
  Promised that for a pin's sake,
  No man should see to do me hurt;
  But there it's gone; I will not take
  The fortune that had been my shame
  Seeing, King's son, what wounds you have."
  'Twas roundly spoke, but when night came
  He had betrayed me to his grave,
  For he and the King's son were dead.
  I'd promised him two hundred years,
  And when for all I'd done or said--
  And these immortal eyes shed tears--
  He claimed his country's need was most,
  I'd save his life, yet for the sake
  Of a new friend he has turned a ghost.
  What does he care if my heart break?
  I call for spade and horse and hound
  That we may harry him.' Thereon
  She cast herself upon the ground
  And rent her clothes and made her moan:
  'Why are they faithless when their might
  Is from the holy shades that rove
  The grey rock and the windy light?
  Why should the faithfullest heart most love
  The bitter sweetness of false faces?
  Why must the lasting love what passes,
  Why are the gods by men betrayed!'

  But thereon every god stood up
  With a slow smile and without sound,
  And stretching forth his arm and cup
  To where she moaned upon the ground,
  Suddenly drenched her to the skin;
  And she with Goban's wine adrip,
  No more remembering what had been,
  Stared at the gods with laughing lip.

  _I have kept my faith, though faith was tried,_
  _To that rock-born, rock-wandering foot,_
  _And the world's altered since you died,_
  _And I am in no good repute_
  _With the loud host before the sea,_
  _That think sword strokes were better meant_
  _Than lover's music--let that be,_
  _So that the wandering foot's content._



THE TWO KINGS


  King Eochaid came at sundown to a wood
  Westward of Tara. Hurrying to his queen
  He had out-ridden his war-wasted men
  That with empounded cattle trod the mire;
  And where beech trees had mixed a pale green light
  With the ground-ivy's blue, he saw a stag
  Whiter than curds, its eyes the tint of the sea.
  Because it stood upon his path and seemed
  More hands in height than any stag in the world
  He sat with tightened rein and loosened mouth
  Upon his trembling horse, then drove the spur;
  But the stag stooped and ran at him, and passed,
  Rending the horse's flank. King Eochaid reeled
  Then drew his sword to hold its levelled point
  Against the stag. When horn and steel were met
  The horn resounded as though it had been silver,
  A sweet, miraculous, terrifying sound.
  Horn locked in sword, they tugged and struggled there
  As though a stag and unicorn were met
  In Africa on Mountain of the Moon,
  Until at last the double horns, drawn backward,
  Butted below the single and so pierced
  The entrails of the horse. Dropping his sword
  King Eochaid seized the horns in his strong hands
  And stared into the sea-green eye, and so
  Hither and thither to and fro they trod
  Till all the place was beaten into mire.
  The strong thigh and the agile thigh were met,
  The hands that gathered up the might of the world,
  And hoof and horn that had sucked in their speed
  Amid the elaborate wilderness of the air.
  Through bush they plunged and over ivied root,
  And where the stone struck fire, while in the leaves
  A squirrel whinnied and a bird screamed out;
  But when at last he forced those sinewy flanks
  Against a beech bole, he threw down the beast
  And knelt above it with drawn knife. On the instant
  It vanished like a shadow, and a cry
  So mournful that it seemed the cry of one
  Who had lost some unimaginable treasure
  Wandered between the blue and the green leaf
  And climbed into the air, crumbling away,
  Till all had seemed a shadow or a vision
  But for the trodden mire, the pool of blood,
  The disembowelled horse.

                    King Eochaid ran,
  Toward peopled Tara, nor stood to draw his breath
  Until he came before the painted wall,
  The posts of polished yew, circled with bronze,
  Of the great door; but though the hanging lamps
  Showed their faint light through the unshuttered windows,
  Nor door, nor mouth, nor slipper made a noise,
  Nor on the ancient beaten paths, that wound
  From well-side or from plough-land, was there noise;
  And there had been no sound of living thing
  Before him or behind, but that far-off
  On the horizon edge bellowed the herds.
  Knowing that silence brings no good to kings,
  And mocks returning victory, he passed
  Between the pillars with a beating heart
  And saw where in the midst of the great hall
  Pale-faced, alone upon a bench, Edain
  Sat upright with a sword before her feet.
  Her hands on either side had gripped the bench,
  Her eyes were cold and steady, her lips tight.
  Some passion had made her stone. Hearing a foot
  She started and then knew whose foot it was;
  But when he thought to take her in his arms
  She motioned him afar, and rose and spoke:
  'I have sent among the fields or to the woods
  The fighting men and servants of this house,
  For I would have your judgment upon one
  Who is self-accused. If she be innocent
  She would not look in any known man's face
  Till judgment has been given, and if guilty,
  Will never look again on known man's face.'
  And at these words he paled, as she had paled,
  Knowing that he should find upon her lips
  The meaning of that monstrous day.

                                     Then she:
  'You brought me where your brother Ardan sat
  Always in his one seat, and bid me care him
  Through that strange illness that had fixed him there,
  And should he die to heap his burial mound
  And carve his name in Ogham.' Eochaid said,
  'He lives?' 'He lives and is a healthy man.'
  'While I have him and you it matters little
  What man you have lost, what evil you have found.'
  'I bid them make his bed under this roof
  And carried him his food with my own hands,
  And so the weeks passed by. But when I said
  "What is this trouble?" he would answer nothing,
  Though always at my words his trouble grew;
  And I but asked the more, till he cried out,
  Weary of many questions: "There are things
  That make the heart akin to the dumb stone."
  Then I replied: "Although you hide a secret,
  Hopeless and dear, or terrible to think on,
  Speak it, that I may send through the wide world
  For medicine." Thereon he cried aloud:
  "Day after day you question me, and I,
  Because there is such a storm amid my thoughts
  I shall be carried in the gust, command,
  Forbid, beseech and waste my breath." Then I,
  "Although the thing that you have hid were evil,
  The speaking of it could be no great wrong,
  And evil must it be, if done 'twere worse
  Than mound and stone that keep all virtue in,
  And loosen on us dreams that waste our life,
  Shadows and shows that can but turn the brain."
  But finding him still silent I stooped down
  And whispering that none but he should hear,
  Said: "If a woman has put this on you,
  My men, whether it please her or displease,
  And though they have to cross the Loughlan waters
  And take her in the middle of armed men,
  Shall make her look upon her handiwork,
  That she may quench the rick she has fired; and though
  She may have worn silk clothes, or worn a crown,
  She'll not be proud, knowing within her heart
  That our sufficient portion of the world
  Is that we give, although it be brief giving,
  Happiness to children and to men."
  Then he, driven by his thought beyond his thought,
  And speaking what he would not though he would,
  Sighed: "You, even you yourself, could work the cure!"
  And at those words I rose and I went out
  And for nine days he had food from other hands,
  And for nine days my mind went whirling round
  The one disastrous zodiac, muttering
  That the immedicable mound's beyond
  Our questioning, beyond our pity even.
  But when nine days had gone I stood again
  Before his chair and bending down my head
  Told him, that when Orion rose, and all
  The women of his household were asleep,
  To go--for hope would give his limbs the power--
  To an old empty woodman's house that's hidden
  Close to a clump of beech trees in the wood
  Westward of Tara, there to await a friend
  That could, as he had told her, work his cure
  And would be no harsh friend.

                         When night had deepened,
  I groped my way through boughs, and over roots,
  Till oak and hazel ceased and beech began,
  And found the house, a sputtering torch within,
  And stretched out sleeping on a pile of skins
  Ardan, and though I called to him and tried
  To shake him out of sleep, I could not rouse him.
  I waited till the night was on the turn,
  Then fearing that some labourer, on his way
  To plough or pasture-land, might see me there,
  Went out.

            Among the ivy-covered rocks,
  As on the blue light of a sword, a man
  Who had unnatural majesty, and eyes
  Like the eyes of some great kite scouring the woods,
  Stood on my path. Trembling from head to foot
  I gazed at him like grouse upon a kite;
  But with a voice that had unnatural music,
  "A weary wooing and a long," he said,
  "Speaking of love through other lips and looking
  Under the eyelids of another, for it was my craft
  That put a passion in the sleeper there,
  And when I had got my will and drawn you here,
  Where I may speak to you alone, my craft
  Sucked up the passion out of him again
  And left mere sleep. He'll wake when the sun wakes,
  Push out his vigorous limbs and rub his eyes,
  And wonder what has ailed him these twelve months."
  I cowered back upon the wall in terror,
  But that sweet-sounding voice ran on: "Woman,
  I was your husband when you rode the air,
  Danced in the whirling foam and in the dust,
  In days you have not kept in memory,
  Being betrayed into a cradle, and I come
  That I may claim you as my wife again."
  I was no longer terrified, his voice
  Had half awakened some old memory,
  Yet answered him: "I am King Eochaid's wife
  And with him have found every happiness
  Women can find." With a most masterful voice,
  That made the body seem as it were a string
  Under a bow, he cried: "What happiness
  Can lovers have that know their happiness
  Must end at the dumb stone? But where we build
  Our sudden palaces in the still air
  Pleasure itself can bring no weariness,
  Nor can time waste the cheek, nor is there foot
  That has grown weary of the whirling dance,
  Nor an unlaughing mouth, but mine that mourns,
  Among those mouths that sing their sweethearts' praise,
  Your empty bed." "How should I love," I answered,
  "Were it not that when the dawn has lit my bed
  And shown my husband sleeping there, I have sighed,
  'Your strength and nobleness will pass away.'
  Or how should love be worth its pains were it not
  That when he has fallen asleep within my arms,
  Being wearied out, I love in man the child?
  What can they know of love that do not know
  She builds her nest upon a narrow ledge
  Above a windy precipice?" Then he:
  "Seeing that when you come to the death-bed
  You must return, whether you would or no,
  This human life blotted from memory,
  Why must I live some thirty, forty years,
  Alone with all this useless happiness?"
  Thereon he seized me in his arms, but I
  Thrust him away with both my hands and cried,
  "Never will I believe there is any change
  Can blot out of my memory this life
  Sweetened by death, but if I could believe
  That were a double hunger in my lips
  For what is doubly brief."

                            And now the shape,
  My hands were pressed to, vanished suddenly.
  I staggered, but a beech tree stayed my fall,
  And clinging to it I could hear the cocks
  Crow upon Tara.'

                   King Eochaid bowed his head
  And thanked her for her kindness to his brother,
  For that she promised, and for that refused.

  Thereon the bellowing of the empounded herds
  Rose round the walls, and through the bronze-ringed door
  Jostled and shouted those war-wasted men,
  And in the midst King Eochaid's brother stood.
  He'd heard that din on the horizon's edge
  And ridden towards it, being ignorant.



TO A WEALTHY MAN WHO PROMISED A SECOND SUBSCRIPTION TO THE DUBLIN
MUNICIPAL GALLERY IF IT WERE PROVED THE PEOPLE WANTED PICTURES


  You gave but will not give again
  Until enough of Paudeen's pence
  By Biddy's halfpennies have lain
  To be 'some sort of evidence,'
  Before you'll put your guineas down,
  That things it were a pride to give
  Are what the blind and ignorant town
  Imagines best to make it thrive.
  What cared Duke Ercole, that bid
  His mummers to the market place,
  What th' onion-sellers thought or did
  So that his Plautus set the pace
  For the Italian comedies?
  And Guidobaldo, when he made
  That grammar school of courtesies
  Where wit and beauty learned their trade
  Upon Urbino's windy hill,
  Had sent no runners to and fro
  That he might learn the shepherds' will.
  And when they drove out Cosimo,
  Indifferent how the rancour ran,
  He gave the hours they had set free
  To Michelozzo's latest plan
  For the San Marco Library,
  Whence turbulent Italy should draw
  Delight in Art whose end is peace,
  In logic and in natural law
  By sucking at the dugs of Greece.

  Your open hand but shows our loss,
  For he knew better how to live.
  Let Paudeens play at pitch and toss,
  Look up in the sun's eye and give
  What the exultant heart calls good
  That some new day may breed the best
  Because you gave, not what they would
  But the right twigs for an eagle's nest!


_December 1912._



SEPTEMBER 1913


  What need you, being come to sense,
  But fumble in a greasy till
  And add the halfpence to the pence
  And prayer to shivering prayer, until
  You have dried the marrow from the bone;
  For men were born to pray and save:
  Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
  It's with O'Leary in the grave.

  Yet they were of a different kind
  The names that stilled your childish play,
  They have gone about the world like wind,
  But little time had they to pray
  For whom the hangman's rope was spun,
  And what, God help us, could they save:
  Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
  It's with O'Leary in the grave.

  Was it for this the wild geese spread
  The grey wing upon every tide;
  For this that all that blood was shed,
  For this Edward Fitzgerald died,
  And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,
  All that delirium of the brave;
  Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
  It's with O'Leary in the grave.

  Yet could we turn the years again,
  And call those exiles as they were,
  In all their loneliness and pain
  You'd cry 'some woman's yellow hair
  Has maddened every mother's son':
  They weighed so lightly what they gave,
  But let them be, they're dead and gone,
  They're with O'Leary in the grave.



TO A FRIEND WHOSE WORK HAS COME TO NOTHING


  Now all the truth is out,
  Be secret and take defeat
  From any brazen throat,
  For how can you compete,
  Being honour bred, with one
  Who, were it proved he lies,
  Were neither shamed in his own
  Nor in his neighbours' eyes?
  Bred to a harder thing
  Than Triumph, turn away
  And like a laughing string
  Whereon mad fingers play
  Amid a place of stone,
  Be secret and exult,
  Because of all things known
  That is most difficult.



PAUDEEN


  Indignant at the fumbling wits, the obscure spite
  Of our old Paudeen in his shop, I stumbled blind
  Among the stones and thorn trees, under morning light;
  Until a curlew cried and in the luminous wind
  A curlew answered; and suddenly thereupon I thought
  That on the lonely height where all are in God's eye,
  There cannot be, confusion of our sound forgot,
  A single soul that lacks a sweet crystaline cry.



TO A SHADE


  If you have revisited the town, thin Shade,
  Whether to look upon your monument
  (I wonder if the builder has been paid)
  Or happier thoughted when the day is spent
  To drink of that salt breath out of the sea
  When grey gulls flit about instead of men,
  And the gaunt houses put on majesty:
  Let these content you and be gone again;
  For they are at their old tricks yet.

                                        A man
  Of your own passionate serving kind who had brought
  In his full hands what, had they only known,
  Had given their children's children loftier thought,
  Sweeter emotion, working in their veins
  Like gentle blood, has been driven from the place,
  And insult heaped upon him for his pains
  And for his open-handedness, disgrace;
  An old foul mouth that slandered you had set
  The pack upon him.

                     Go, unquiet wanderer,
  And gather the Glasnevin coverlet
  About your head till the dust stops your ear,
  The time for you to taste of that salt breath
  And listen at the corners has not come;
  You had enough of sorrow before death--
  Away, away! You are safer in the tomb.


_September 29th, 1914._



WHEN HELEN LIVED


  We have cried in our despair
  That men desert,
  For some trivial affair
  Or noisy, insolent sport,
  Beauty that we have won
  From bitterest hours;
  Yet we, had we walked within
  Those topless towers
  Where Helen walked with her boy,
  Had given but as the rest
  Of the men and women of Troy,
  A word and a jest.



THE ATTACK ON 'THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD,' 1907


  Once, when midnight smote the air,
  Eunuchs ran through Hell and met
  From thoroughfare to thoroughfare,
  While that great Juan galloped by;
  And like these to rail and sweat
  Staring upon his sinewy thigh.



THE THREE BEGGARS


  _'Though to my feathers in the wet,_
  _I have stood here from break of day,_
  _I have not found a thing to eat_
  _For only rubbish comes my way._
  _Am I to live on lebeen-lone?'_
  _Muttered the old crane of Gort._
  _'For all my pains on lebeen-lone.'_

  King Guari walked amid his court
  The palace-yard and river-side
  And there to three old beggars said:
  'You that have wandered far and wide
  Can ravel out what's in my head.
  Do men who least desire get most,
  Or get the most who most desire?'
  A beggar said: 'They get the most
  Whom man or devil cannot tire,
  And what could make their muscles taut
  Unless desire had made them so.'
  But Guari laughed with secret thought,
  'If that be true as it seems true,
  One of you three is a rich man,
  For he shall have a thousand pounds
  Who is first asleep, if but he can
  Sleep before the third noon sounds.'
  And thereon merry as a bird,
  With his old thoughts King Guari went
  From river-side and palace-yard
  And left them to their argument.
  'And if I win,' one beggar said,
  'Though I am old I shall persuade
  A pretty girl to share my bed';
  The second: 'I shall learn a trade';
  The third: 'I'll hurry to the course
  Among the other gentlemen,
  And lay it all upon a horse';
  The second: 'I have thought again:
  A farmer has more dignity.'
  One to another sighed and cried:
  The exorbitant dreams of beggary,
  That idleness had borne to pride,
  Sang through their teeth from noon to noon;
  And when the second twilight brought
  The frenzy of the beggars' moon
  They closed their blood-shot eyes for naught.
  One beggar cried: 'You're shamming sleep.'
  And thereupon their anger grew
  Till they were whirling in a heap.

  They'd mauled and bitten the night through
  Or sat upon their heels to rail,
  And when old Guari came and stood
  Before the three to end this tale,
  They were commingling lice and blood.
  'Time's up,' he cried, and all the three
  With blood-shot eyes upon him stared.
  'Time's up,' he cried, and all the three
  Fell down upon the dust and snored.

  _'Maybe I shall be lucky yet,_
  _Now they are silent,' said the crane._
  _'Though to my feathers in the wet_
  _I've stood as I were made of stone_
  _And seen the rubbish run about,_
  _It's certain there are trout somewhere_
  _And maybe I shall take a trout_
  _If but I do not seem to care.'_



THE THREE HERMITS


  Three old hermits took the air
  By a cold and desolate sea,
  First was muttering a prayer,
  Second rummaged for a flea;
  On a windy stone, the third,
  Giddy with his hundredth year,
  Sang unnoticed like a bird.
  'Though the Door of Death is near
  And what waits behind the door,
  Three times in a single day
  I, though upright on the shore,
  Fall asleep when I should pray.'
  So the first but now the second,
  'We're but given what we have earned
  When all thoughts and deeds are reckoned,
  So it's plain to be discerned
  That the shades of holy men,
  Who have failed being weak of will,
  Pass the Door of Birth again,
  And are plagued by crowds, until
  They've the passion to escape.'
  Moaned the other, 'They are thrown
  Into some most fearful shape.'
  But the second mocked his moan:
  'They are not changed to anything,
  Having loved God once, but maybe,
  To a poet or a king
  Or a witty lovely lady.'
  While he'd rummaged rags and hair,
  Caught and cracked his flea, the third,
  Giddy with his hundredth year
  Sang unnoticed like a bird.



BEGGAR TO BEGGAR CRIED


  'Time to put off the world and go somewhere
  And find my health again in the sea air,'
  Beggar to beggar cried, being frenzy-struck,
  'And make my soul before my pate is bare.'

  'And get a comfortable wife and house
  To rid me of the devil in my shoes,'
  Beggar to beggar cried, being frenzy-struck,
  'And the worse devil that is between my thighs.'

  'And though I'd marry with a comely lass,
  She need not be too comely--let it pass,'
  Beggar to beggar cried, being frenzy-struck,
  'But there's a devil in a looking-glass.'

  'Nor should she be too rich, because the rich
  Are driven by wealth as beggars by the itch,'
  Beggar to beggar cried, being frenzy-struck,
  'And cannot have a humorous happy speech.'

  'And there I'll grow respected at my ease,
  And hear amid the garden's nightly peace,'
  Beggar to beggar cried, being frenzy-struck,
  'The wind-blown clamor of the barnacle-geese.'



THE WELL AND THE TREE


  'The Man that I praise,'
  Cries out the empty well,
  'Lives all his days
  Where a hand on the bell
  Can call the milch-cows
  To the comfortable door of his house.
  Who but an idiot would praise
  Dry stones in a well?'

  'The Man that I praise,'
  Cries out the leafless tree,
  'Has married and stays
  By an old hearth, and he
  On naught has set store
  But children and dogs on the floor.
  Who but an idiot would praise
  A withered tree?'



RUNNING TO PARADISE


  As I came over Windy Gap
  They threw a halfpenny into my cap,
  For I am running to Paradise;
  And all that I need do is to wish
  And somebody puts his hand in the dish
  To throw me a bit of salted fish:
  And there the king _is_ but as the beggar.

  My brother Mourteen is worn out
  With skelping his big brawling lout,
  And I am running to Paradise;
  A poor life do what he can,
  And though he keep a dog and a gun,
  A serving maid and a serving man:
  And there the king _is_ but as the beggar.

  Poor men have grown to be rich men,
  And rich men grown to be poor again,
  And I am running to Paradise;
  And many a darling wit's grown dull
  That tossed a bare heel when at school,
  Now it has filled an old sock full:
  And there the king _is_ but as the beggar.

  The wind is old and still at play
  While I must hurry upon my way,
  For I am running to Paradise;
  Yet never have I lit on a friend
  To take my fancy like the wind
  That nobody can buy or bind:
  And there the king _is_ but as the beggar.



THE HOUR BEFORE DAWN


  A one-legged, one-armed, one-eyed man,
  A bundle of rags upon a crutch,
  Stumbled on windy Cruachan
  Cursing the wind. It was as much
  As the one sturdy leg could do
  To keep him upright while he cursed.
  He had counted, where long years ago
  Queen Maeve's nine Maines had been nursed,
  A pair of lapwings, one old sheep
  And not a house to the plain's edge,
  When close to his right hand a heap
  Of grey stones and a rocky ledge
  Reminded him that he could make,
  If he but shifted a few stones,
  A shelter till the daylight broke.
  But while he fumbled with the stones
  They toppled over; 'Were it not
  I have a lucky wooden shin
  I had been hurt'; and toppling brought
  Before his eyes, where stones had been,
  A dark deep hole in the rock's face.
  He gave a gasp and thought to run,
  Being certain it was no right place
  But the Hell Mouth at Cruachan
  That's stuffed with all that's old and bad,
  And yet stood still, because inside
  He had seen a red-haired jolly lad
  In some outlandish coat beside
  A ladle and a tub of beer,
  Plainly no phantom by his look.
  So with a laugh at his own fear
  He crawled into that pleasant nook.
  Young Red-head stretched himself to yawn
  And murmured, 'May God curse the night
  That's grown uneasy near the dawn
  So that it seems even I sleep light;
  And who are you that wakens me?
  Has one of Maeve's nine brawling sons
  Grown tired of his own company?
  But let him keep his grave for once
  I have to find the sleep I have lost.'
  And then at last being wide awake,
  'I took you for a brawling ghost,
  Say what you please, but from day-break
  I'll sleep another century.'
  The beggar deaf to all but hope
  Went down upon a hand and knee
  And took the wooden ladle up
  And would have dipped it in the beer
  But the other pushed his hand aside,
  'Before you have dipped it in the beer
  That sacred Goban brewed,' he cried,
  'I'd have assurance that you are able
  To value beer--I will have no fool
  Dipping his nose into my ladle
  Because he has stumbled on this hole
  In the bad hour before the dawn.
  If you but drink that beer and say
  I will sleep until the winter's gone,
  Or maybe, to Midsummer Day
  You will sleep that length; and at the first
  I waited so for that or this--
  Because the weather was a-cursed
  Or I had no woman there to kiss,
  And slept for half a year or so;
  But year by year I found that less
  Gave me such pleasure I'd forgo
  Even a half hour's nothingness,
  And when at one year's end I found
  I had not waked a single minute,
  I chose this burrow under ground.
  I will sleep away all Time within it:
  My sleep were now nine centuries
  But for those mornings when I find
  The lapwing at their foolish cries
  And the sheep bleating at the wind
  As when I also played the fool.'
  The beggar in a rage began
  Upon his hunkers in the hole,
  'It's plain that you are no right man
  To mock at everything I love
  As if it were not worth the doing.
  I'd have a merry life enough
  If a good Easter wind were blowing,
  And though the winter wind is bad
  I should not be too down in the mouth
  For anything you did or said
  If but this wind were in the south.'
  But the other cried, 'You long for spring
  Or that the wind would shift a point
  And do not know that you would bring,
  If time were suppler in the joint,
  Neither the spring nor the south wind
  But the hour when you shall pass away
  And leave no smoking wick behind,
  For all life longs for the Last Day
  And there's no man but cocks his ear
  To know when Michael's trumpet cries
  That flesh and bone may disappear,
  And souls as if they were but sighs,
  And there be nothing but God left;
  But I alone being blessed keep
  Like some old rabbit to my cleft
  And wait Him in a drunken sleep.'

  He dipped his ladle in the tub
  And drank and yawned and stretched him out.
  The other shouted, 'You would rob
  My life of every pleasant thought
  And every comfortable thing
  And so take that and that.' Thereon
  He gave him a great pummelling,
  But might have pummelled at a stone
  For all the sleeper knew or cared;
  And after heaped the stones again
  And cursed and prayed, and prayed and cursed:
  'Oh God if he got loose!' And then
  In fury and in panic fled
  From the Hell Mouth at Cruachan
  And gave God thanks that overhead
  The clouds were brightening with the dawn.



THE PLAYER QUEEN

(_Song from an Unfinished Play_)


  My mother dandled me and sang,
  'How young it is, how young!'
  And made a golden cradle
  That on a willow swung.

  'He went away,' my mother sang,
  'When I was brought to bed,'
  And all the while her needle pulled
  The gold and silver thread.

  She pulled the thread and bit the thread
  And made a golden gown,
  And wept because she had dreamt that I
  Was born to wear a crown.

  'When she was got,' my mother sang,
  'I heard a sea-mew cry,
  And saw a flake of the yellow foam
  That dropped upon my thigh.'

  How therefore could she help but braid
  The gold into my hair,
  And dream that I should carry
  The golden top of care?



THE REALISTS


  Hope that you may understand!
  What can books of men that wive
  In a dragon-guarded land,
  Paintings of the dolphin-drawn
  Sea-nymphs in their pearly waggons
  Do, but awake a hope to live
  That had gone
  With the dragons?



I

THE WITCH


  Toil, and grow rich,
  What's that but to lie
  With a foul witch
  And after, drained dry,
  To be brought
  To the chamber where
  Lies one long sought
  With despair.



II

THE PEACOCK


  What's riches to him
  That has made a great peacock
  With the pride of his eye?
  The wind-beaten, stone-grey,
  And desolate Three-rock
  Would nourish his whim.
  Live he or die
  Amid wet rocks and heather,
  His ghost will be gay
  Adding feather to feather
  For the pride of his eye.



THE MOUNTAIN TOMB


  Pour wine and dance if Manhood still have pride,
  Bring roses if the rose be yet in bloom;
  The cataract smokes upon the mountain side,
  Our Father Rosicross is in his tomb.

  Pull down the blinds, bring fiddle and clarionet
  That there be no foot silent in the room
  Nor mouth from kissing, nor from wine unwet;
  Our Father Rosicross is in his tomb.

  In vain, in vain; the cataract still cries
  The everlasting taper lights the gloom;
  All wisdom shut into his onyx eyes
  Our Father Rosicross sleeps in his tomb.



TO A CHILD DANCING IN THE WIND


I


  Dance there upon the shore;
  What need have you to care
  For wind or water's roar?
  And tumble out your hair
  That the salt drops have wet;
  Being young you have not known
  The fool's triumph, nor yet
  Love lost as soon as won,
  Nor the best labourer dead
  And all the sheaves to bind.
  What need have you to dread
  The monstrous crying of wind?


II


  Has no one said those daring
  Kind eyes should be more learn'd?
  Or warned you how despairing
  The moths are when they are burned,
  I could have warned you, but you are young,
  So we speak a different tongue.

  O you will take whatever's offered
  And dream that all the world's a friend,
  Suffer as your mother suffered,
  Be as broken in the end.
  But I am old and you are young,
  And I speak a barbarous tongue.



A MEMORY OF YOUTH


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

  Believing every word I said
  I praised her body and her mind
  Till pride had made her eyes grow bright,
  And pleasure made her cheeks grow red,
  And vanity her footfall light,
  Yet we, for all that praise, could find
  Nothing but darkness overhead.

  We sat as silent as a stone,
  We knew, though she'd not said a word,
  That even the best of love must die,
  And had been savagely undone
  Were it not that love upon the cry
  Of a most ridiculous little bird
  Tore from the clouds his marvellous moon.



FALLEN MAJESTY


  Although crowds gathered once if she but showed her face,
  And even old men's eyes grew dim, this hand alone,
  Like some last courtier at a gypsy camping place,
  Babbling of fallen majesty, records what's gone.

  The lineaments, a heart that laughter has made sweet,
  These, these remain, but I record what's gone. A crowd
  Will gather, and not know it walks the very street
  Whereon a thing once walked that seemed a burning cloud.



FRIENDS


  Now must I these three praise--
  Three women that have wrought
  What joy is in my days;
  One that no passing thought,
  Nor those unpassing cares,
  No, not in these fifteen
  Many times troubled years,
  Could ever come between
  Heart and delighted heart;
  And one because her hand
  Had strength that could unbind
  What none can understand,
  What none can have and thrive,
  Youth's dreamy load, till she
  So changed me that I live
  Labouring in ecstasy.
  And what of her that took
  All till my youth was gone
  With scarce a pitying look?
  How should I praise that one?
  When day begins to break
  I count my good and bad,
  Being wakeful for her sake,
  Remembering what she had,
  What eagle look still shows,
  While up from my heart's root
  So great a sweetness flows
  I shake from head to foot.



THE COLD HEAVEN


  Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting Heaven
  That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,
  And thereupon imagination and heart were driven
  So wild that every casual thought of that and this
  Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season
  With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago;
  And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,
  Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro,
  Riddled with light. Ah! when the ghost begins to quicken,
  Confusion of the death-bed over, is it sent
  Out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken
  By the injustice of the skies for punishment?



THAT THE NIGHT COME


  She lived in storm and strife,
  Her soul had such desire
  For what proud death may bring
  That it could not endure
  The common good of life,
  But lived as 'twere a king
  That packed his marriage day
  With banneret and pennon,
  Trumpet and kettledrum,
  And the outrageous cannon,
  To bundle time away
  That the night come.



AN APPOINTMENT


  Being out of heart with government
  I took a broken root to fling
  Where the proud, wayward squirrel went,
  Taking delight that he could spring;
  And he, with that low whinnying sound
  That is like laughter, sprang again
  And so to the other tree at a bound.
  Nor the tame will, nor timid brain,
  Bred that fierce tooth and cleanly limb
  And threw him up to laugh on the bough;
  No government appointed him.



I

THE MAGI


  Now as at all times I can see in the mind's eye,
  In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones
  Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky
  With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,
  And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,
  And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,
  Being by Calvary's turbulence unsatisfied,
  The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.



II

THE DOLLS


  A doll in the doll-maker's house
  Looks at the cradle and balls:
  'That is an insult to us.'
  But the oldest of all the dolls
  Who had seen, being kept for show,
  Generations of his sort,
  Out-screams the whole shelf: 'Although
  There's not a man can report
  Evil of this place,
  The man and the woman bring
  Hither to our disgrace,
  A noisy and filthy thing.'
  Hearing him groan and stretch
  The doll-maker's wife is aware
  Her husband has heard the wretch,
  And crouched by the arm of his chair,
  She murmurs into his ear,
  Head upon shoulder leant:
  'My dear, my dear, oh dear,
  It was an accident.'



A COAT


  I made my song a coat
  Covered with embroideries
  Out of old mythologies
  From heel to throat;
  But the fools caught it,
  Wore it in the world's eye
  As though they'd wrought it.
  Song, let them take it
  For there's more enterprise
  In walking naked.



       *       *       *       *       *


  _While I, from that reed-throated whisperer_
  _Who comes at need, although not now as once_
  _A clear articulation in the air_
  _But inwardly, surmise companions_
  _Beyond the fling of the dull ass's hoof,_
  _--Ben Jonson's phrase--and find when June is come_
  _At Kyle-na-no under that ancient roof_
  _A sterner conscience and a friendlier home,_
  _I can forgive even that wrong of wrongs,_
  _Those undreamt accidents that have made me_
  _--Seeing that Fame has perished this long while_
  _Being but a part of ancient ceremony--_
  _Notorious, till all my priceless things_
  _Are but a post the passing dogs defile._



FROM THE GREEN HELMET AND OTHER POEMS



HIS DREAM


  I swayed upon the gaudy stern
  The butt end of a steering oar,
  And everywhere that I could turn
  Men ran upon the shore.

  And though I would have hushed the crowd
  There was no mother's son but said,
  'What is the figure in a shroud
  Upon a gaudy bed?'

  And fishes bubbling to the brim
  Cried out upon that thing beneath,
  --It had such dignity of limb--
  By the sweet name of Death.

  Though I'd my finger on my lip,
  What could I but take up the song?
  And fish and crowd and gaudy ship
  Cried out the whole night long,

  Crying amid the glittering sea,
  Naming it with ecstatic breath,
  Because it had such dignity
  By the sweet name of Death.



A WOMAN HOMER SUNG


  If any man drew near
  When I was young,
  I thought, 'He holds her dear,'
  And shook with hate and fear.
  But oh, 'twas bitter wrong
  If he could pass her by
  With an indifferent eye.

  Whereon I wrote and wrought,
  And now, being grey,
  I dream that I have brought
  To such a pitch my thought
  That coming time can say,
  'He shadowed in a glass
  What thing her body was.'

  For she had fiery blood
  When I was young,
  And trod so sweetly proud
  As 'twere upon a cloud,
  A woman Homer sung,
  That life and letters seem
  But an heroic dream.



THE CONSOLATION


  I had this thought awhile ago,
  'My darling cannot understand
  What I have done, or what would do
  In this blind bitter land.'

  And I grew weary of the sun
  Until my thoughts cleared up again,
  Remembering that the best I have done
  Was done to make it plain;

  That every year I have cried, 'At length
  My darling understands it all,
  Because I have come into my strength,
  And words obey my call.'

  That had she done so who can say
  What would have shaken from the sieve?
  I might have thrown poor words away
  And been content to live.



NO SECOND TROY


  Why should I blame her that she filled my days
  With misery, or that she would of late
  Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
  Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
  Had they but courage equal to desire?
  What could have made her peaceful with a mind
  That nobleness made simple as a fire,
  With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
  That is not natural in an age like this,
  Being high and solitary and most stern?
  Why, what could she have done being what she is?
  Was there another Troy for her to burn?



RECONCILIATION


  Some may have blamed you that you took away
  The verses that could move them on the day
  When, the ears being deafened, the sight of the eyes blind
  With lightning you went from me, and I could find
  Nothing to make a song about but kings,
  Helmets, and swords, and half-forgotten things
  That were like memories of you--but now
  We'll out, for the world lives as long ago;
  And while we're in our laughing, weeping fit,
  Hurl helmets, crowns, and swords into the pit.
  But, dear, cling close to me; since you were gone,
  My barren thoughts have chilled me to the bone.



KING AND NO KING


  'Would it were anything but merely voice!'
  The No King cried who after that was King,
  Because he had not heard of anything
  That balanced with a word is more than noise;
  Yet Old Romance being kind, let him prevail
  Somewhere or somehow that I have forgot,
  Though he'd but cannon--Whereas we that had thought
  To have lit upon as clean and sweet a tale
  Have been defeated by that pledge you gave
  In momentary anger long ago;
  And I that have not your faith, how shall I know
  That in the blinding light beyond the grave
  We'll find so good a thing as that we have lost?
  The hourly kindness, the day's common speech,
  The habitual content of each with each
  When neither soul nor body has been crossed.



PEACE


  Ah, that Time could touch a form
  That could show what Homer's age
  Bred to be a hero's wage.
  'Were not all her life but storm,
  Would not painters paint a form
  Of such noble lines,' I said,
  'Such a delicate high head,
  All that sternness amid charm,
  All that sweetness amid strength?'
  Ah, but peace that comes at length,
  Came when Time had touched her form.



AGAINST UNWORTHY PRAISE


  O heart, be at peace, because
  Nor knave nor dolt can break
  What's not for their applause,
  Being for a woman's sake.
  Enough if the work has seemed,
  So did she your strength renew,
  A dream that a lion had dreamed
  Till the wilderness cried aloud,
  A secret between you two,
  Between the proud and the proud.

  What, still you would have their praise!
  But here's a haughtier text,
  The labyrinth of her days
  That her own strangeness perplexed;
  And how what her dreaming gave
  Earned slander, ingratitude,
  From self-same dolt and knave;
  Aye, and worse wrong than these,
  Yet she, singing upon her road,
  Half lion, half child, is at peace.



THE FASCINATION OF WHAT'S DIFFICULT


  The fascination of what's difficult
  Has dried the sap out of my veins, and rent
  Spontaneous joy and natural content
  Out of my heart. There's something ails our colt
  That must, as if it had not holy blood,
  Nor on an Olympus leaped from cloud to cloud,
  Shiver under the lash, strain, sweat and jolt
  As though it dragged road metal. My curse on plays
  That have to be set up in fifty ways,
  On the day's war with every knave and dolt,
  Theatre business, management of men.
  I swear before the dawn comes round again
  I'll find the stable and pull out the bolt.



A DRINKING SONG


  Wine comes in at the mouth
  And love comes in at the eye;
  That's all we shall know for truth
  Before we grow old and die.
  I lift the glass to my mouth,
  I look at you, and I sigh.



THE COMING OF WISDOM WITH TIME


  Though leaves are many, the root is one;
  Through all the lying days of my youth
  I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
  Now I may wither into the truth.



ON HEARING THAT THE STUDENTS OF OUR NEW UNIVERSITY HAVE JOINED THE
ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS AND THE AGITATION AGAINST IMMORAL LITERATURE


  Where, where but here have Pride and Truth,
  That long to give themselves for wage,
  To shake their wicked sides at youth
  Restraining reckless middle-age.



TO A POET, WHO WOULD HAVE ME PRAISE CERTAIN BAD POETS, IMITATORS OF HIS
AND MINE


  You say, as I have often given tongue
  In praise of what another's said or sung,
  'Twere politic to do the like by these;
  But have you known a dog to praise his fleas?



THE MASK


  'Put off that mask of burning gold
  With emerald eyes.'
  'O no, my dear, you make so bold
  To find if hearts be wild and wise,
  And yet not cold.'

  'I would but find what's there to find,
  Love or deceit.'
  'It was the mask engaged your mind,
  And after set your heart to beat,
  Not what's behind.'

  'But lest you are my enemy,
  I must enquire.'
  'O no, my dear, let all that be,
  What matter, so there is but fire
  In you, in me?'



UPON A HOUSE SHAKEN BY THE LAND AGITATION


  How should the world be luckier if this house,
  Where passion and precision have been one
  Time out of mind, became too ruinous
  To breed the lidless eye that loves the sun?
  And the sweet laughing eagle thoughts that grow
  Where wings have memory of wings, and all
  That comes of the best knit to the best? Although
  Mean roof-trees were the sturdier for its fall,
  How should their luck run high enough to reach
  The gifts that govern men, and after these
  To gradual Time's last gift, a written speech
  Wrought of high laughter, loveliness and ease?



AT THE ABBEY THEATRE

(_Imitated from Ronsard_)


  Dear Craoibhin Aoibhin, look into our case.
  When we are high and airy hundreds say
  That if we hold that flight they'll leave the place,
  While those same hundreds mock another day
  Because we have made our art of common things,
  So bitterly, you'd dream they longed to look
  All their lives through into some drift of wings.
  You've dandled them and fed them from the book
  And know them to the bone; impart to us--
  We'll keep the secret--a new trick to please.
  Is there a bridle for this Proteus
  That turns and changes like his draughty seas?
  Or is there none, most popular of men,
  But when they mock us that we mock again?



THESE ARE THE CLOUDS


  These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
  The majesty that shuts his burning eye;
  The weak lay hand on what the strong has done,
  Till that be tumbled that was lifted high
  And discord follow upon unison,
  And all things at one common level lie.
  And therefore, friend, if your great race were run
  And these things came, so much the more thereby
  Have you made greatness your companion,
  Although it be for children that you sigh:
  These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
  The majesty that shuts his burning eye.



AT GALWAY RACES


  There where the course is,
  Delight makes all of the one mind,
  The riders upon the galloping horses,
  The crowd that closes in behind:
  We, too, had good attendance once,
  Hearers and hearteners of the work;
  Aye, horsemen for companions,
  Before the merchant and the clerk
  Breathed on the world with timid breath.
  Sing on: sometime, and at some new moon,
  We'll learn that sleeping is not death,
  Hearing the whole earth change its tune,
  Its flesh being wild, and it again
  Crying aloud as the race course is,
  And we find hearteners among men
  That ride upon horses.



A FRIEND'S ILLNESS


  Sickness brought me this
  Thought, in that scale of his:
  Why should I be dismayed
  Though flame had burned the whole
  World, as it were a coal,
  Now I have seen it weighed
  Against a soul?



ALL THINGS CAN TEMPT ME


  All things can tempt me from this craft of verse:
  One time it was a woman's face, or worse--
  The seeming needs of my fool-driven land;
  Now nothing but comes readier to the hand
  Than this accustomed toil. When I was young,
  I had not given a penny for a song
  Did not the poet sing it with such airs
  That one believed he had a sword upstairs;
  Yet would be now, could I but have my wish,
  Colder and dumber and deafer than a fish.



THE YOUNG MAN'S SONG


  I whispered, 'I am too young,'
  And then, 'I am old enough;'
  Wherefore I threw a penny
  To find out if I might love.
  'Go and love, go and love, young man,
  If the lady be young and fair.'
  Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
  I am looped in the loops of her hair.

  Oh, love is the crooked thing,
  There is nobody wise enough
  To find out all that is in it,
  For he would be thinking of love
  Till the stars had run away,
  And the shadows eaten the moon.
  Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
  One cannot begin it too soon.



       *       *       *       *       *



THE HOUR-GLASS

NEW VERSION--1912



THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY


  WISE MAN.
  BRIDGET, his wife.
  TEIGUE, a fool.
  ANGEL.
  Children and Pupils.


_Pupils come in and stand before the stage curtain, which is still
closed. One pupil carries a book._

FIRST PUPIL

He said we might choose the subject for the lesson.

SECOND PUPIL

There is none of us wise enough to do that.

THIRD PUPIL

It would need a great deal of wisdom to know what it is we want to know.

FOURTH PUPIL

I will question him.

FIFTH PUPIL

You?

FOURTH PUPIL

Last night I dreamt that some one came and told me to question him.
I was to say to him, 'You were wrong to say there is no God and no
soul--maybe, if there is not much of either, there is yet some tatters,
some tag on the wind--so to speak--some rag upon a bush, some bob-tail
of a god.' I will argue with him,--nonsense though it be--according to
my dream, and you will see how well I can argue, and what thoughts I have.


FIRST PUPIL

I'd as soon listen to dried peas in a bladder, as listen to your thoughts.

                                                      [_Fool comes in._

FOOL

Give me a penny.

SECOND PUPIL

Let us choose a subject by chance. Here is his big book. Let us turn
over the pages slowly. Let one of us put down his finger without looking.
The passage his finger lights on will be the subject for the lesson.

FOOL

Give me a penny.

THIRD PUPIL

(_Taking up book_) How heavy it is.

FOURTH PUPIL

Spread it on Teigue's back, and then we can all stand round and see the
choice.

SECOND PUPIL

Make him spread out his arms.

FOURTH PUPIL

Down on your knees. Hunch up your back. Spread your arms out now, and
look like a golden eagle in a church. Keep still, keep still.

FOOL

Give me a penny.

THIRD PUPIL

Is that the right cry for an eagle cock?

SECOND PUPIL

I'll turn the pages--you close your eyes and put your finger down.

THIRD PUPIL

That's it, and then he cannot blame us for the choice.

FIRST PUPIL

There, I have chosen. Fool, keep still--and if what's wise is strange
and sounds like nonsense, we've made a good choice.

FIFTH PUPIL

The Master has come.

FOOL

Will anybody give a penny to a fool?

    [_One of the pupils draws back the stage curtain showing the Master
        sitting at his desk. There is an hour-glass upon his desk or in
            a bracket on the wall. One pupil puts the book before him._

FIRST PUPIL

We have chosen the passage for the lesson, Master. 'There are two
living countries, one visible and one invisible, and when it is summer
there, it is winter here, and when it is November with us, it is
lambing-time there.'

WISE MAN

That passage, that passage! what mischief has there been since yesterday?

FIRST PUPIL

None, Master.

WISE MAN

Oh yes, there has; some craziness has fallen from the wind, or risen
from the graves of old men, and made you choose that subject.

FOURTH PUPIL

I knew that it was folly, but they would have it.

THIRD PUPIL

Had we not better say we picked it by chance?

SECOND PUPIL

No; he would say we were children still.

FIRST PUPIL

I have found a sentence under that one that says--as though to show it
had a hidden meaning--a beggar wrote it upon the walls of Babylon.

WISE MAN

Then find some beggar and ask him what it means, for I will have nothing
to do with it.

FOURTH PUPIL

Come, Teigue, what is the old book's meaning when it says that there are
sheep that drop their lambs in November?

FOOL

To be sure--everybody knows, everybody in the world knows, when it is
Spring with us, the trees are withering there, when it is Summer with
us, the snow is falling there, and have I not myself heard the lambs
that are there all bleating on a cold November day--to be sure, does not
everybody with an intellect know that; and maybe when it's night with
us, it is day with them, for many a time I have seen the roads lighted
before me.

WISE MAN

The beggar who wrote that on Babylon wall meant that there is a
spiritual kingdom that cannot be seen or known till the faculties
whereby we master the kingdom of this world wither away, like green
things in winter. A monkish thought, the most mischievous thought that
ever passed out of a man's mouth.

FIRST PUPIL

If he meant all that, I will take an oath that he was spindle-shanked,
and cross-eyed, and had a lousy itching shoulder, and that his heart was
crosser than his eyes, and that he wrote it out of malice.

SECOND PUPIL

Let's come away and find a better subject.

FOURTH PUPIL

And maybe now you'll let me choose.

FIRST PUPIL

Come.

WISE MAN

  Were it but true 'twould alter everything
  Until the stream of the world had changed its course,
  And that and all our thoughts had run
  Into some cloudy thunderous spring
  They dream to be its source--
  Aye, to some frenzy of the mind;
  And all that we have done would be undone,
  Our speculation but as the wind.

                                                            [_A pause._

  I have dreamed it twice.

FIRST PUPIL

      Something has troubled him.

                                                      [_Pupils go out._

WISE MAN

  Twice have I dreamed it in a morning dream,
  Now nothing serves my pupils but to come
  With a like thought. Reason is growing dim;
  A moment more and Frenzy will beat his drum
  And laugh aloud and scream;
  And I must dance in the dream.
  No, no, but it is like a hawk, a hawk of the air,
  It has swooped down--and this swoop makes the third--
  And what can I, but tremble like a bird?

FOOL

Give me a penny.

WISE MAN

That I should dream it twice, and after that, that they should pick it out.

FOOL

Won't you give me a penny?

WISE MAN

What do you want? What can it matter to you whether the words I am
reading are wisdom or sheer folly?

FOOL

Such a great, wise teacher will not refuse a penny to a fool.

WISE MAN

Seeing that everybody is a fool when he is asleep and dreaming, why do
you call me wise?

FOOL

O, I know,--I know, I know what I have seen.

WISE MAN

Well, to see rightly is the whole of wisdom, whatever dream be with us.

FOOL

When I went by Kilcluan, where the bells used to be ringing at the break
of every day, I could hear nothing but the people snoring in their houses.
When I went by Tubbervanach, where the young men used to be climbing the
hill to the blessed well, they were sitting at the cross-roads playing
cards. When I went by Carrigoras, where the friars used to be fasting
and serving the poor, I saw them drinking wine and obeying their wives.
And when I asked what misfortune had brought all these changes, they
said it was no misfortune, but that it was the wisdom they had learned
from your teaching.

WISE MAN

And you too have called me wise--you would be paid for that good opinion
doubtless--Run to the kitchen, my wife will give you food and drink.

FOOL

That's foolish advice for a wise man to give.

WISE MAN

Why, Fool?

FOOL

What is eaten is gone--I want pennies for my bag. I must buy bacon in
the shops, and nuts in the market, and strong drink for the time the sun
is weak, and snares to catch the rabbits and the hares, and a big pot to
cook them in.

WISE MAN

I have more to think about than giving pennies to your like, so run away.

FOOL

Give me a penny and I will bring you luck. The fishermen let me sleep
among their nets in the loft because I bring them luck; and in the
summer time, the wild creatures let me sleep near their nests and their
holes. It is lucky even to look at me, but it is much more lucky to give
me a penny. If I was not lucky I would starve.

WISE MAN

What are the shears for?

FOOL

I won't tell you. If I told you, you would drive them away.

WISE MAN

Drive them away! Who would I drive away?

FOOL

I won't tell you.

WISE MAN

Not if I give you a penny?

FOOL

No.

WISE MAN

Not if I give you two pennies?

FOOL

You will be very lucky if you give me two pennies, but I won't tell you.

WISE MAN

Three pennies?

FOOL

Four, and I will tell you.

WISE MAN

Very well--four, but from this out I will not call you Teigue the Fool.

FOOL

Let me come close to you, where nobody will hear me; but first you must
promise not to drive them away. (_Wise Man nods._) Every day men go out
dressed in black and spread great black nets over the hills, great black
nets.

WISE MAN

A strange place that to fish in.

FOOL

They spread them out on the hills that they may catch the feet of the
angels; but every morning just before the dawn, I go out and cut the
nets with the shears and the angels fly away.

WISE MAN

(_Speaking with excitement_) Ah, now I know that you are Teigue the
Fool. You say that I am wise, and yet I say, there are no angels.

FOOL

I have seen plenty of angels.

WISE MAN

No, no, you have not.

FOOL

They are plenty if you but look about you. They are like the blades
of grass.

WISE MAN

They are plenty as the blades of grass--I heard that phrase when I was
but a child and was told folly.

FOOL

When one gets quiet. When one is so quiet that there is not a thought in
one's head maybe, there is something that wakes up inside one, something
happy and quiet, and then all in a minute one can smell summer flowers,
and tall people go by, happy and laughing, but they will not let us look
at their faces. Oh no, it is not right that we should look at their faces.

WISE MAN

You have fallen asleep upon a hill, yet, even those that used to dream
of angels dream now of other things.

FOOL

I saw one but a moment ago--that is because I am lucky. It was coming
behind me, but it was not laughing.

WISE MAN

There's nothing but what men can see when they are awake. Nothing, nothing.

FOOL

I knew you would drive them away.

WISE MAN

  Pardon me, Fool,
  I had forgotten who I spoke to.
  Well, there are your four pennies--Fool you are called,
  And all day long they cry, 'Come hither, Fool.'

                                         [_The Fool goes close to him._

  Or else it's, 'Fool, be gone.'

                                          [_The Fool goes further off._

  Or, 'Fool, stand there.'

                                    [_The Fool straightens himself up._

  Or, 'Fool, go sit in the corner.'

                                        [_The Fool sits in the corner._

                            And all the while
  What were they all but fools before I came?
  What are they now, but mirrors that seem men,
  Because of my image? Fool, hold up your head.

                                                       [_Fool does so._

  What foolish stories they have told of the ghosts
  That fumbled with the clothes upon the bed,
  Or creaked and shuffled in the corridor,
  Or else, if they were pious bred,
  Of angels from the skies,
  That coming through the door,
  Or, it may be, standing there,
  Would solidly out stare
  The steadiest eyes with their unnatural eyes,
  Aye, on a man's own floor.

              [_An angel has come in. It should be played by a man if a
                  man can be found with the right voice, and may wear a
                  little golden domino and a halo made of metal. Or the
                  whole face may be a beautiful mask, in which case the
                       last sentence on page 136 should not be spoken._

  Yet it is strange, the strangest thing I have known,
  That I should still be haunted by the notion
  That there's a crisis of the spirit wherein
  We get new sight, and that they know some trick
  To turn our thoughts for their own ends to frenzy.
  Why do you put your finger to your lip,
  And creep away?

                                                      [_Fool goes out._

  (_Wise Man sees Angel._) What are you? Who are you?
  I think I saw some like you in my dreams,
  When but a child. That thing about your head,--
  That brightness in your hair--that flowery branch;
  But I have done with dreams, I have done with dreams.

ANGEL

  I am the crafty one that you have called.

WISE MAN

  How that I called?

ANGEL

                     I am the messenger.

WISE MAN

  What message could you bring to one like me?

ANGEL (_turning the hour-glass_)

  That you will die when the last grain of sand
  Has fallen through this glass.

WISE MAN

                                 I have a wife.
  Children and pupils that I cannot leave:
  Why must I die, my time is far away?

ANGEL

  You have to die because no soul has passed
  The heavenly threshold since you have opened school,
  But grass grows there, and rust upon the hinge;
  And they are lonely that must keep the watch.

WISE MAN

  And whither shall I go when I am dead?

ANGEL

  You have denied there is a purgatory,
  Therefore that gate is closed; you have denied
  There is a heaven, and so that gate is closed.

WISE MAN

  Where then? For I have said there is no hell.

ANGEL

  Hell is the place of those who have denied;
  They find there what they planted and what dug,
  A Lake of Spaces, and a Wood of Nothing,
  And wander there and drift, and never cease
  Wailing for substance.

WISE MAN

                         Pardon me, blessed Angel,
  I have denied and taught the like to others.
  But how could I believe before my sight
  Had come to me?

ANGEL

                   It is too late for pardon.

WISE MAN

  Had I but met your gaze as now I met it--
  But how can you that live but where we go
  In the uncertainty of dizzy dreams
  Know why we doubt? Parting, sickness and death,
  The rotting of the grass, tempest and drouth,
  These are the messengers that came to me.
  Why are you silent? You carry in your hands
  God's pardon, and you will not give it me.
  Why are you silent? Were I not afraid,
  I'd kiss your hands--no, no, the hem of your dress.

ANGEL

  Only when all the world has testified,
  May soul confound it, crying out in joy,
  And laughing on its lonely precipice.
  What's dearth and death and sickness to the soul
  That knows no virtue but itself? Nor could it,
  So trembling with delight and mother-naked,
  Live unabashed if the arguing world stood by.

WISE MAN

  It is as hard for you to understand
  Why we have doubted, as it is for us
  To banish doubt--what folly have I said?
  There can be nothing that you do not know:
  Give me a year--a month--a week--a day,
  I would undo what I have done--an hour--
  Give me until the sand has run in the glass.

ANGEL

  Though you may not undo what you have done,
  I have this power--if you but find one soul,
  Before the sands have fallen, that still believes,
  One fish to lie and spawn among the stones
  Till the great fisher's net is full again,
  You may, the purgatorial fire being passed,
  Spring to your peace.

                                        [_Pupils sing in the distance._

  'Who stole your wits away
  And where are they gone?'

WISE MAN

                        My pupils come,
  Before you have begun to climb the sky
  I shall have found that soul. They say they doubt,
  But what their mothers dinned into their ears
  Cannot have been so lightly rooted up;
  Besides, I can disprove what I once proved--
  And yet give me some thought, some argument,
  More mighty than my own.

ANGEL

                          Farewell--farewell,
  For I am weary of the weight of time.

          [_Angel goes out. Wise Man makes a step to follow and pauses.
            Some of his pupils come in at the other side of the stage._

FIRST PUPIL

  Master, master, you must choose the subject.

             [_Enter other pupils with Fool, about whom they dance; all
                 the pupils may have little cushions on which presently
                                                 they seat themselves._

SECOND PUPIL

  Here is a subject--where have the Fool's wits gone? (_singing_)
  'Who dragged your wits away
  Where no one knows?
  Or have they run off
  On their own pair of shoes?'

FOOL

Give me a penny.

FIRST PUPIL

                   The Master will find your wits,

SECOND PUPIL

  And when they are found, you must not beg for pennies.

THIRD PUPIL

  They are hidden somewhere in the badger's hole,
  But you must carry an old candle end
  If you would find them.

FOURTH PUPIL

                          They are up above the clouds.

FOOL

Give me a penny, give me a penny.

FIRST PUPIL (_singing_)

  'I'll find your wits again,
  Come, for I saw them roll,
  To where old badger mumbles
  In the black hole.'

SECOND PUPIL (_singing_)

  'No, but an angel stole them
  The night that you were born,
  And now they are but a rag,
  On the moon's horn.'

WISE MAN

Be silent.

FIRST PUPIL

  Can you not see that he is troubled?

                                          [_All the pupils are seated._

WISE MAN

  What do you think of when alone at night?
  Do not the things your mothers spoke about,
  Before they took the candle from the bedside,
  Rush up into the mind and master it,
  Till you believe in them against your will?

SECOND PUPIL (_to first pupil_)

  You answer for us.

THIRD PUPIL (_in a whisper to first pupil_)

                     Be careful what you say;
  If he persuades you to an argument,
  He will but turn us all to mockery.

FIRST PUPIL

  We had no minds until you made them for us;
  Our bodies only were our mothers' work.

WISE MAN

  You answer with incredible things. It is certain
  That there is one,--though it may be but one--
  Believes in God and in some heaven and hell--
  In all those things we put into our prayers.

FIRST PUPIL

  We thought those things before our minds were born,
  But that was long ago--we are not children.

WISE MAN

  You are afraid to tell me what you think
  Because I am hot and angry when I am crossed.
  I do not blame you for it; but have no fear,
  For if there's one that sat on smiling there,
  As though my arguments were sweet as milk
  Yet found them bitter, I will thank him for it,
  If he but speak his mind.

FIRST PUPIL

                            There is no one, Master,
  There is not one but found them sweet as milk.

WISE MAN

  The things that have been told us in our childhood
  Are not so fragile.

SECOND PUPIL

                       We are no longer children.

THIRD PUPIL

  We all believe in you and in what you have taught.

OTHER PUPILS

  All, all, all, all, in you, nothing but you.

WISE MAN

  I have deceived you--where shall I go for words--
  I have no thoughts--my mind has been swept bare.
  The messengers that stand in the fiery cloud,
  Fling themselves out, if we but dare to question,
  And after that, the Babylonian moon
  Blots all away.

FIRST PUPIL (_to other pupils_)

                   I take his words to mean
  That visionaries, and martyrs when they are raised
  Above translunary things, and there enlightened,
  As the contention is, may lose the light,
  And flounder in their speech when the eyes open.

SECOND PUPIL

  How well he imitates their trick of speech.

THIRD PUPIL

  Their air of mystery.

FOURTH PUPIL

                        Their empty gaze,
  As though they'd looked upon some winged thing,
  And would not condescend to mankind after.

FIRST PUPIL

  Master, we have all learnt that truth is learnt
  When the intellect's deliberate and cold,
  As it were a polished mirror that reflects
  An unchanged world; and not when the steel melts,
  Bubbling and hissing, till there's naught but fume.

WISE MAN

  When it is melted, when it all fumes up,
  They walk, as when beside those three in the furnace
  The form of the fourth.

FIRST PUPIL

                          Master, there's none among us
  That has not heard your mockery of these,
  Or thoughts like these, and we have not forgot.

WISE MAN

  Something incredible has happened--some one has come
  Suddenly like a grey hawk out of the air,
  And all that I declared untrue is true.

FIRST PUPIL (_to other pupils_)

  You'd think the way he says it, that he felt it.
  There's not a mummer to compare with him.
  He's something like a man.

SECOND PUPIL

                             Give us some proof.

WISE MAN

  What proof have I to give, but that an angel
  An instant ago was standing on that spot.

                                                    [_The pupils rise._

THIRD PUPIL

  You dreamed it.

WISE MAN

                  I was awake as I am now.

FIRST PUPIL (_to the others_)

  I may be dreaming now for all I know.
  He wants to show we have no certain proof
  Of anything in the world.

SECOND PUPIL

                            There is this proof
  That shows we are awake--we have all one world
  While every dreamer has a world of his own,
  And sees what no one else can.

THIRD PUPIL

                                 Teigue sees angels.
  So when the Master says he has seen an angel,
  He may have seen one.

FIRST PUPIL

                        Both may still be dreamers;
  Unless it's proved the angels were alike.

SECOND PUPIL

  What sort are the angels, Teigue?

THIRD PUPIL

                That will prove nothing,
  Unless we are sure prolonged obedience
  Has made one angel like another angel
  As they were eggs.

FIRST PUPIL

                     The Master's silent now:
  For he has found that to dispute with us--
  Seeing that he has taught us what we know--
  Is but to reason with himself. Let us away,
  And find if there is one believer left.

WISE MAN

  Yes, yes. Find me but one that still believes
  The things that we were told when we were children.

THIRD PUPIL

  He'll mock and maul him.

FOURTH PUPIL

                           From the first I knew
  He wanted somebody to argue with.

                                                            [_They go._

WISE MAN

  I have no reason left. All dark, all dark!

             [_Pupils return laughing. They push forward fourth pupil._

FIRST PUPIL

  Here, Master, is the very man you want.
  He said, when we were studying the book,
  That maybe after all the monks were right,
  And you mistaken, and if we but gave him time,
  He'd prove that it was so.

FOURTH PUPIL

                             I never said it.

WISE MAN

  Dear friend, dear friend, do you believe in God?

FOURTH PUPIL

  Master, they have invented this to mock me.

WISE MAN

  You are afraid of me.

FOURTH PUPIL

                        They know well, Master,
  That all I said was but to make them argue.
  They've pushed me in to make a mock of me,
  Because they knew I could take either side
  And beat them at it.

WISE MAN

                      If you believe in God,
  You are my soul's one friend.

                                                       [_Pupils laugh._

                                Mistress or wife
  Can give us but our good or evil luck
  Amid the howling world, but you shall give
  Eternity, and those sweet-throated things
  That drift above the moon.

                      [_The pupils look at one another and are silent._

SECOND PUPIL

                             How strange he is.

WISE MAN

  The angel that stood there upon that spot,
  Said that my soul was lost unless I found out
  One that believed.

FOURTH PUPIL

                      Cease mocking at me, Master,
  For I am certain that there is no God
  Nor immortality, and they that said it
  Made a fantastic tale from a starved dream
  To plague our hearts. Will that content you, Master?

WISE MAN

  The giddy glass is emptier every moment,
  And you stand there, debating, laughing and wrangling.
  Out of my sight! Out of my sight, I say.

                                                 [_He drives them out._

  I'll call my wife, for what can women do,
  That carry us in the darkness of their bodies,
  But mock the reason that lets nothing grow
  Unless it grow in light. Bridget, Bridget.
  A woman never ceases to believe,
  Say what we will. Bridget, come quickly, Bridget.

            [_Bridget comes in wearing her apron. Her sleeves turned up
                          from her arms, which are covered with flour._

  Wife, what do you believe in? Tell me the truth,
  And not--as is the habit with you all--
  Something you think will please me. Do you pray?
  Sometimes when you're alone in the house, do you pray?

BRIDGET

Prayers--no, you taught me to leave them off long ago. At first I was
sorry, but I am glad now, for I am sleepy in the evenings.

WISE MAN

Do you believe in God?

BRIDGET

Oh, a good wife only believes in what her husband tells her.

WISE MAN

  But sometimes, when the children are asleep
  And I am in the school, do you not think
  About the Martyrs and the saints and the angels,
  And all the things that you believed in once?

BRIDGET

I think about nothing--sometimes I wonder if the linen is bleaching
white, or I go out to see if the crows are picking up the chickens' food.

WISE MAN

  My God,--my God! I will go out myself.
  My pupils said that they would find a man
  Whose faith I never shook--they may have found him.
  Therefore I will go out--but if I go,
  The glass will let the sands run out unseen.
  I cannot go--I cannot leave the glass.
  Go call my pupils--I can explain all now,
  Only when all our hold on life is troubled,
  Only in spiritual terror can the Truth
  Come through the broken mind--as the pease burst
  Out of a broken pease-cod.

                                [_He clutches Bridget as she is going._

                            Say to them,
  That Nature would lack all in her most need,
  Could not the soul find truth as in a flash,
  Upon the battle-field, or in the midst
  Of overwhelming waves, and say to them--
  But no, they would but answer as I bid.

BRIDGET

You want somebody to get up an argument with.

WISE MAN

  Look out and see if there is any one
  There in the street--I cannot leave the glass,
  For somebody might shake it, and the sand
  If it were shaken might run down on the instant.

BRIDGET

I don't understand a word you are saying. There's a crowd of people
talking to your pupils.

WISE MAN

  Go out and find if they have found a man
  Who did not understand me when I taught,
  Or did not listen.

BRIDGET

It is a hard thing to be married to a man of learning that must always
be having arguments.

                                                       [_She goes out._

WISE MAN

  Strange that I should be blind to the great secret,
  And that so simple a man might write it out
  Upon a blade of grass or bit of rush
  With naught but berry juice, and laugh to himself
  Writing it out, because it was so simple.

                                 [_Enter Bridget followed by the Fool._

FOOL

Give me something; give me a penny to buy bacon in the shops and nuts in
the market, and strong drink for the time when the sun is weak.

BRIDGET

I have no pennies. (_To Wise Man_) Your pupils cannot find anybody to
argue with you. There's nobody in the whole country with belief enough
for a lover's oath. Can't you be quiet now, and not always wanting to
have arguments? It must be terrible to have a mind like that.

WISE MAN

Then I am lost indeed.

BRIDGET

Leave me alone now, I have to make the bread for you and the children.

                                              [_She goes into kitchen._

WISE MAN

Children, children!


BRIDGET

Your father wants you, run to him.

                                                    [_Children run in._

WISE MAN

  Come to me, children. Do not be afraid.
  I want to know if you believe in Heaven,
  God or the soul--no, do not tell me yet;
  You need not be afraid I shall be angry,
  Say what you please--so that it is your thought--
  I wanted you to know before you spoke,
  That I shall not be angry.

FIRST CHILD

We have not forgotten, Father.

SECOND CHILD

Oh no, Father.

BOTH CHILDREN

(_As if repeating a lesson_) There is nothing we cannot see, nothing we
cannot touch.

FIRST CHILD

Foolish people used to say that there was, but you have taught us better.

WISE MAN

  Go to your mother, go--yet do not go.
  What can she say? If I am dumb you are lost;
  And yet, because the sands are running out,
  I have but a moment to show it all in. Children,
  The sap would die out of the blades of grass
  Had they a doubt. They understand it all,
  Being the fingers of God's certainty,
  Yet can but make their sign into the air;
  But could they find their tongues they'd show it all;
  But what am I to say that am but one,
  When they are millions and they will not speak--

                                              [_Children have run out._

  But they are gone; what made them run away?

                                 [_The Fool comes in with a dandelion._

  Look at me, tell me if my face is changed,
  Is there a notch of the fiend's nail upon it
  Already? Is it terrible to sight?
  Because the moment's near.

                                                     [_Going to glass._

                            I dare not look,
  I dare not know the moment when they come.
  No, no, I dare not. (_Covers glass._)
  Will there be a footfall,
  Or will there be a sort of rending sound,
  Or else a cracking, as though an iron claw
  Had gripped the threshold stone?

                               [_Fool has begun to blow the dandelion._

                    What are you doing?

FOOL

Wait a minute--four--five--six--

WISE MAN

What are you doing that for?

FOOL

I am blowing the dandelion to find out what hour it is.

WISE MAN

  You have heard everything, and that is why
  You'd find what hour it is--you'd find that out,
  That you may look upon a fleet of devils
  Dragging my soul away. You shall not stop,
  I will have no one here when they come in,
  I will have no one sitting there--no one--
  And yet--and yet--there is something strange about you.
  I half remember something. What is it?
  Do you believe in God and in the soul?

FOOL

So you ask me now. I thought when you were asking your pupils, 'Will he
ask Teigue the Fool? Yes, he will, he will; no, he will not--yes, he
will.' But Teigue will say nothing. Teigue will say nothing.

WISE MAN

Tell me quickly.

FOOL

I said, 'Teigue knows everything, not even the green-eyed cats and the
hares that milk the cows have Teigue's wisdom'; but Teigue will not speak,
he says nothing.

WISE MAN

  Speak, speak, for underneath the cover there
  The sand is running from the upper glass,
  And when the last grain's through, I shall be lost.

FOOL

I will not speak. I will not tell you what is in my mind. I will not
tell you what is in my bag. You might steal away my thoughts. I met a
bodach on the road yesterday, and he said, 'Teigue, tell me how many
pennies are in your bag; I will wager three pennies that there are
not twenty pennies in your bag; let me put in my hand and count them.'
But I gripped the bag the tighter, and when I go to sleep at night I
hide the bag where nobody knows.

WISE MAN

  There's but one pinch of sand, and I am lost
  If you are not he I seek.

FOOL

O, what a lot the Fool knows, but he says nothing.

WISE MAN

  Yes, I remember now. You spoke of angels.
  You said but now that you had seen an angel.
  You are the one I seek, and I am saved.

FOOL

Oh no. How could poor Teigue see angels? Oh, Teigue tells one tale here,
another there, and everybody gives him pennies. If Teigue had not his
tales he would starve.

                                        [_He breaks away and goes out._

WISE MAN

  The last hope is gone,
  And now that it's too late I see it all,
  We perish into God and sink away
  Into reality--the rest's a dream.

                                                [_The Fool comes back._

FOOL

There was one there--there by the threshold stone, waiting there; and he
said, 'Go in, Teigue, and tell him everything that he asks you. He will
give you a penny if you tell him.'

WISE MAN

  I know enough, that know God's will prevails.

FOOL

Waiting till the moment had come--That is what the one out there was
saying, but I might tell you what you asked. That is what he was saying.

WISE MAN

  Be silent. May God's will prevail on the instant,
  Although His will be my eternal pain.
  I have no question:
  It is enough, I know what fixed the station
  Of star and cloud.
  And knowing all, I cry
  That what so God has willed
  On the instant be fulfilled,
  Though that be my damnation.
  The stream of the world has changed its course,
  And with the stream my thoughts have run
  Into some cloudy thunderous spring
  That is its mountain source--
  Aye, to some frenzy of the mind,
  For all that we have done's undone,
  Our speculation but as the wind.

                                                            [_He dies._

FOOL

Wise man--Wise man, wake up and I will tell you everything for a penny.
It is I, poor Teigue the Fool. Why don't you wake up, and say, 'There
is a penny for you, Teigue'? No, no, you will say nothing. You and I,
we are the two fools, we know everything, but we will not speak.

                                      [_Angel enters holding a casket._

O, look what has come from his mouth! O, look what has come from his
mouth--the white butterfly! He is dead, and I have taken his soul in my
hands; but I know why you open the lid of that golden box. I must give
it to you. There then, (_he puts butterfly in casket_) he has gone
through his pains, and you will open the lid in the Garden of Paradise.
(_He closes curtain and remains outside it._) He is gone, he is gone,
he is gone, but come in, everybody in the world, and look at me.

  'I hear the wind a blow
  I hear the grass a grow,
  And all that I know, I know.'
  But I will not speak, I will run away.

                                                        [_He goes out._



       *       *       *       *       *



NOTES


PREFATORY POEM

'Free of the ten and four' is an error I cannot now correct, without
more rewriting than I have a mind for. Some merchant in Villon, I forget
the reference, was 'free of the ten and four.' Irish merchants exempted
from certain duties by the Irish Parliament were, unless memory deceives
me again for I am writing away from books, 'free of the eight and six.'


POEMS BEGINNING WITH THAT 'TO A WEALTHY MAN' AND ENDING WITH THAT
'TO A SHADE'

During the thirty years or so during which I have been reading Irish
newspapers, three public controversies have stirred my imagination. The
first was the Parnell controversy. There were reasons to justify a man's
joining either party, but there were none to justify, on one side or
on the other, lying accusations forgetful of past service, a frenzy of
detraction. And another was the dispute over 'The Playboy.' There were
reasons for opposing as for supporting that violent, laughing thing,
but none for the lies, for the unscrupulous rhetoric spread against
it in Ireland, and from Ireland to America. The third prepared for the
Corporation's refusal of a building for Sir Hugh Lane's famous collection
of pictures.

One could respect the argument that Dublin, with much poverty and many
slums, could not afford the £22,000 the building was to cost the city,
but not the minds that used it. One frenzied man compared the pictures
to Troy horse which 'destroyed a city,' and innumerable correspondents
described Sir Hugh Lane and those who had subscribed many thousands to
give Dublin paintings by Corot, Manet, Monet, Degas, and Renoir, as
'self-seekers,' 'self-advertisers,' 'picture-dealers,' 'log-rolling
cranks and faddists,' and one clerical paper told 'picture-dealer Lane'
to take himself and his pictures out of that. A member of the Corporation
said there were Irish artists who could paint as good if they had a
mind to, and another described a half-hour in the temporary gallery in
Harcourt Street as the most dismal of his life. Some one else asked
instead of these eccentric pictures to be given pictures 'like those
beautiful productions displayed in the windows of our city picture
shops.' Another thought that we would all be more patriotic if we
devoted our energy to fighting the Insurance Act. Another would not
hang them in his kitchen, while yet another described the vogue of
French impressionist painting as having gone to such a length among
'log-rolling enthusiasts' that they even admired 'works that were
rejected from the Salon forty years ago by the finest critics in the
world.'

The first serious opposition began in the _Irish Catholic_, the chief
Dublin clerical paper, and Mr. William Murphy, the organiser of the
recent lock-out and Mr. Healy's financial supporter in his attack upon
Parnell, a man of great influence, brought to its support a few days
later his newspapers _The Evening Herald_ and _The Irish Independent_,
the most popular of Irish daily papers. He replied to my poem 'To a
Wealthy Man' (I was thinking of a very different wealthy man) from what
he described as 'Paudeen's point of view,' and 'Paudeen's point of view'
it was. The enthusiasm for 'Sir Hugh Lane's Corots'--one paper spelled
the name repeatedly 'Crot'--being but 'an exotic fashion,' waited 'some
satirist like Gilbert' who 'killed the æsthetic craze,' and as for the
rest 'there were no greater humbugs in the world than art critics and
so-called experts.' As the first avowed reason for opposition, the
necessities of the poor got but a few lines, not so many certainly as the
objection of various persons to supply Sir Hugh Lane with 'a monument
at the city's expense,' and as the gallery was supported by Mr. James
Larkin, the chief Labour leader, and important slum workers, I assume
that the purpose of the opposition was not exclusively charitable.

These controversies, political, literary, and artistic, have showed that
neither religion nor politics can of itself create minds with enough
receptivity to become wise, or just and generous enough to make a
nation. Other cities have been as stupid--Samuel Butler laughs at
shocked Montreal for hiding the Discobolus in a cellar--but Dublin is
the capital of a nation, and an ancient race has nowhere else to look
for an education. Goethe in _Wilhelm Meister_ describes a saintly and
naturally gracious woman, who getting into a quarrel over some trumpery
detail of religious observance, grows--she and all her little religious
community--angry and vindictive. In Ireland I am constantly reminded of
that fable of the futility of all discipline that is not of the whole
being. Religious Ireland--and the pious Protestants of my childhood were
signal examples--thinks of divine things as a round of duties separated
from life and not as an element that may be discovered in all circumstance
and emotion, while political Ireland sees the good citizen but as a man
who holds to certain opinions and not as a man of good will. Against all
this we have but a few educated men and the remnants of an old traditional
culture among the poor. Both were stronger forty years ago, before the
rise of our new middle class which showed as its first public event,
during the nine years of the Parnellite split, how base at moments of
excitement are minds without culture. 1914.

'Romantic Ireland's dead and gone' sounds old-fashioned now. It seemed
true in 1913, but I did not foresee 1916. The late Dublin Rebellion,
whatever one can say of its wisdom, will long be remembered for its
heroism. 'They weighed so lightly what they gave,' and gave too in some
cases without hope of success. July 1916.


THE DOLLS

The fable for this poem came into my head while I was giving some
lectures in Dublin. I had noticed once again how all thought among us is
frozen into 'something other than human life.' After I had made the poem,
I looked up one day into the blue of the sky, and suddenly imagined, as
if lost in the blue of the sky, stiff figures in procession. I remembered
that they were the habitual image suggested by blue sky, and looking for
a second fable called them 'The Magi', complimentary forms to those
enraged dolls.


THE HOUR-GLASS

A friend suggested to me the subject of this play, an Irish folk-tale
from Lady Wilde's _Ancient Legends_. I have for years struggled with
something which is charming in the naive legend but a platitude on the
stage. I did not discover till a year ago that if the wise man humbled
himself to the fool and received salvation as his reward, so much more
powerful are pictures than words, no explanatory dialogue could set the
matter right. I was faintly pleased when I converted a music-hall singer
and kept him going to Mass for six weeks, so little responsibility does
one feel for those to whom one has never been introduced; but I was
always ashamed when I saw any friend of my own in the theatre. Now I
have made my philosopher accept God's will, whatever it is, and find his
courage again, and helped by the elaboration of verse, have so changed
the fable that it is not false to my own thoughts of the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed in the United States of America.

       *       *       *       *       *


  The following pages contain advertisements of
  books by the same author or on kindred subjects.


       *       *       *       *       *



BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS


Reveries Over Childhood and Youth                               _$2.00_

In this book the celebrated Irish author gives us his reminiscences of
his childhood and youth. The memories are written, as is to be expected,
in charming prose. They have the appeal invariably attached to the
account of a sensitive childhood.


The Hour Glass and Other Plays                                  _$1.25_

"The Hour Glass" is one of Mr. Yeats' noble and effective plays, and
with the other plays in the volume, make a small, but none the less
representative collection.


Stories of Red Hanrahan                                         _$1.25_

These tales belong to the realm of pure lyrical expression. They are
mysterious and shadowy, full of infinite subtleties and old wisdom of
folklore, and sad with the gray wistful Celtic sadness.

"Lovers of Mr. Yeats's suggestive and delicate writing will find him at
his best in this volume."--_Springfield Republican._


Ideas of Good and Evil                                          _$1.50_

Essays on art and life, wherein are set forth much of Yeats' philosophy,
his love of beauty, his hope for Ireland and for Irish artistic
achievement.


The Celtic Twilight                                             _$1.50_

A collection of tales from Irish life and of Irish fancy, retold from
peasants' stories with no additions except an occasional comment.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York

       *       *       *       *       *


The Cutting of an Agate

                                                          _12mo, $1.50_

"Mr. Yeats is probably the most important as well as the most widely
known of the men concerned directly in the so-called Celtic renaissance.
More than this, he stands among the few men to be reckoned with in
modern poetry."--_New York Herald._


The Green Helmet and Other Poems

                                         _Decorated cloth, 12mo, $1.25_

The initial piece in this volume is a deliciously conceived heroic
farce, quaint in humor and sprightly in action. It tells of the
difficulty in which two simple Irish folk find themselves when they
enter into an agreement with an apparition of the sea, who demands that
they knock off his head and who maintains that after they have done that
he will knock off theirs. There is a real meaning in the play which it
will not take the thoughtful reader long to discover. Besides this there
are a number of shorter poems, notably one in which Mr. Yeats answers
the critics of "The Playboy of the Western World."


Lyrical and Dramatic Poems

In Two Volumes

                          _Vol. I. Lyrical Poems, $1.75 Leather, $2.25_

                       _Vol. II. Plays (Revised), $2.00 Leather, $2.25_

The two-volume edition of the Irish poet's works included everything he
has done in verse up to the present time. The first volume contains his
lyrics; the second includes all of his five dramas in verse: "The
Countess Cathleen," "The Land of Heart's Desire," "The King's Threshold,"
"On Baile's Strand," and "The Shadowy Waters."

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York


       *       *       *       *       *


The Quest

By JOHN G. NEIHARDT

Author of "The Song of Hugh Glass"

Here are brought together the more important of Mr. Neihardt's poems.
For some years there have been those--and prominent critics, too--who
have quite emphatically maintained that there is no greater American
poet than Mr. Neihardt, that in him are found those essentials which
make for true art--a feeling for words, a lyric power of the first
quality, an understanding of rhythm. Here, for example, is the comment
of the _Boston Transcript_ on the book just preceding this, _The Song of
Hugh Glass:_ "In this poem Mr. Neihardt touches life, power, beauty,
spirit; the tremendous and impressive forces of nature.... The genius of
American poetry is finding itself in such a poem as this.... The poem
is powerfully poetic.... It is a big, sweeping thing blazing a pathway
across the frontiers of our national life."


Californians

By ROBINSON JEFFERS

California is now to have its part in the poetry revival. Robinson
Jeffers is a new poet, a man whose name is as yet unknown but whose work
is of such outstanding character that once it is read he is sure of
acceptance by those who have admired the writings of such men as John G.
Neihardt, Edgar Lee Masters, Edwin Arlington Robinson and Thomas Walsh.
Virtually all of the poems in this first collection have their setting
in California, most of them in the Monterey peninsula, and they realize
the scenery of the great State with vividness and richness of detail.
The author's main source of inspiration has been the varying aspects of
nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York

       *       *       *       *       *


Poems of the Great War

By J. W. CUNLIFFE

Here are brought together under the editorship of Dr. Cunliffe some of
the more notable poems which have dealt with the great war. Among the
writers represented are Rupert Brooke, John Masefield, Lincoln Colcord,
William Benet, Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, Hermann Hagedorn, Alfred Noyes,
Rabindranath Tagore, Walter De La Mare, Vachel Lindsay and Owen Seaman.


The New Poetry: An Anthology

Edited by HARRIET MONROE and ALICE CORBIN HENDERSON, Editors of _Poetry_

Probably few people are following as closely the poetry of to-day as
are the editors of the _Poetry Magazine_ of Chicago. They are eminently
fitted, therefore, to prepare such a volume as this, which is intended
to represent the work that is being done by the leading poets of the
land. Here, between the covers of one book, are brought together poems
by a great many different writers, all of whom may be said to be
responsible in a measure for the revival of interest in poetry in this
country.


The Story of Eleusis

By LOUIS V. LEDOUX

This is a lyrical drama, in the Greek manner, dealing with the story of
Persephone. Mr. Ledoux has constructed such a play as might well have
held the attention of the assembled mystæ at Eleusis. It is Greek.
Better than this, it is also human. Its beauty and its truthfulness to
life will appeal alike to the lover of classical and the lover of modern
dramatic poetry.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Responsibilities - and other poems" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home