When You Are OldWHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true, But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face; And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,Enwrought with golden and silver light,The blue and the dim and the dark clothsOf night and light and the half light,I would spread the cloths under your feet:But I, being poor, have only my dreams;I have spread my dreams under your feet;Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Never give all the heart, for loveWill hardly seem worth thinking ofTo passionate women if it seemCertain, and they never dreamThat it fades out from kiss to kiss;For everything that's lovely isBut a brief, dreamy, kind delight.O Never give the heart outright,For they, for all smooth lips can say,Have given their hearts up to the play.And who could play it well enoughIf deaf and dumb and blind with love?He that made this knows all the cost,For he gave all his heart and lost.
How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true; But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
The portraits, of more historical than artistic interest, had gone; and tapestry, full of the blue and bronze of peacocks, fell over the doors, and shut out all history and activity untouched with beauty and peace; and now when I looked at my Crevelli and pondered on the rose in the hand of the Virgin, wherein the form was so delicate and precise that it seemed more like a thought than a flower, or at the grey dawn and rapturous faces of my Francesca, I knew all a Christian's ecstasy without his slavery to rule and custom; when I pondered over the antique bronze gods and goddesses, which I had mortgaged my house to buy, I had all a pagan's delight in various beauty and without his terror at sleepless destiny and his labour with many sacrifices; and I had only to go to my bookshelf, where every book was bound in leather, stamped with intricate ornament, and of a carefully chosen colour: Shakespeare in the orange of the glory of the world, Dante in the dull red of his anger, Milton in the blue grey of his formal calm; and I could experience what I would of human passions without their bitterness and without satiety. I had gathered about me all gods because I believed in none, and experienced every pleasure because I gave myself to none, but held myself apart, individual, indissoluble, a mirror of polished steel: I looked in the triumph of this imagination at the birds of Hera, glowing in the firelight as though they were wrought of jewels; and to my mind, for which symbolism was a necessity, they seemed the doorkeepers of my world, shutting out all that was not of as affluent a beauty as their own; and for a moment I thought as I had thought in so many other moments, that it was possible to rob life of every bitterness except the bitterness of death; and then a thought which had followed this thought, time after time, filled me with a passionate sorrow.
Hope and Memory have one daughter and her name is Art, and she has built her dwelling far from the desperate field where men hang out their garments upon forked boughs to be banners of battle. O beloved daughter of Hope and Memory, be with me for a while.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,A tattered coat upon a stick, unlessSoul clap its hands and sing, and louder singFor every tatter in its mortal dress
Before me floats an image, man or shade,Shade more than man, more image than a shade;For Hades' bobbin bound in mummy-clothMay unwind the winding path;A mouth that has no moisture and no breathBreathless mouths may summon;(Byzantium)
Come away, O human child!To the waters and the wildWith a faery, hand in hand,For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
Turning and turning in the widening gyreThe falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity.
When you are old and grey and full of sleep And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep
I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere among the clouds above; those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.
BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart, The holy tree is growing there; From joy the holy branches start, And all the trembling flowers they bear. The changing colours of its fruit Have dowered the stars with merry light; The surety of its hidden root Has planted quiet in the night; The shaking of its leafy head Has given the waves their melody, And made my lips and music wed, Murmuring a wizard song for thee. There the Loves a circle go, The flaming circle of our days, Gyring, spiring to and fro In those great ignorant leafy ways; Remembering all that shaken hair And how the wingèd sandals dart, Thine eyes grow full of tender care: Beloved, gaze in thine own heart. Gaze no more in the bitter glass The demons, with their subtle guile, Lift up before us when they pass, Or only gaze a little while; For there a fatal image grows That the stormy night receives, Roots half hidden under snows, Broken boughs and blackened leaves. For all things turn to barrenness In the dim glass the demons hold, The glass of outer weariness, Made when God slept in times of old. There, through the broken branches, go The ravens of unresting thought; Flying, crying, to and fro, Cruel claw and hungry throat, Or else they stand and sniff the wind, And shake their ragged wings; alas! Thy tender eyes grow all unkind: Gaze no more in the bitter glass.- The Two Trees
I sat, a solitary man,In a crowded London shop,An open book and empty cupOn the marble table-top.While on the shop and street I gazedMy body of a sudden blazed;And twenty minutes more or lessIt seemed, so great my happiness,That I was blessed and could bless.
ld heads forgetful of their sins,Old, learned, respectable bald headsEdit and annotate the linesThat young men, tossing on their beds,Rhymed out in love’s despairTo flatter beauty’s ignorant ear.They’ll cough in the ink to the world’s end;Wear out the carpet with their shoesEarning respect; have no strange friend;If they have sinned nobody knows.Lord, what would they sayShould their Catullus walk that way?
(I) only write it now because I have grown to believe that there is no dangerous idea, which does not become less dangerous when written out in sincere and careful English. (The Adoration of The Magi)
O cowardly amd tyrannous race of monks, persecutors of the bard, and the gleemen, haters of life and joy! O race that does not draw the sword and tell the truth! O race that melts the bones of the people with cowardice and with deceit! (The Crucifixion Of The Outcast)
There are some doubters even in the western villages. One woman told me last Christmas that she did not believe either in hell or in ghosts. Hell she thought was merely an invention got up by the priest to keep people good; and ghosts would not be permitted, she held, to go 'trapsin about the earth' at their own free will; 'but there are faeries,' she added, 'and little leprechauns, and water-horses, and fallen angels.' I have met also a man with a mohawk Indian tattooed upon his arm, who held exactly similar beliefs and unbeliefs. No matter what one doubts one never doubts the faeries, for, as the man with the mohawk Indian on his arm said to me, 'they stand to reason.' Even the official mind does not escape this faith. (Reason and Unreason)
What is literature but the expression of moods by the vehicle of symbol and incident? And are there not moods which need heaven, hell, purgatory, and faeryland for their expression, no less than this dilapidated earth? Nay, are there not moods which shall find no expression unless there be men who dare to mix heaven, hell, purgatory, and faeryland together, or even to set the heads of beasts to the bodies of men, or to thrust the souls of men into the heart of rocks? Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet. (A Teller of Tales)
As I thought of these things, I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labour my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, as so many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams.
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;I have spread my dreams under your feet;Tread softly because you tread on my dr
One loses, as one grows older, something of the lightness of one's dreams; one begins to take life up in both hands, and to care more for the fruit than the flower, and that is no great loss perhaps.
I have just read a long novel by Henry James. Much of it made me think of the priest condemned for a long space to confess nuns.
THAT crazed girl improvising her music.Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,Her soul in division from itselfClimbing, falling She knew not where,Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declareA beautiful lofty thing, or a thingHeroically lost, heroically found.No matter what disaster occurredShe stood in desperate music wound,Wound, wound, and she made in her triumphWhere the bales and the baskets layNo common intelligible soundBut sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea
Be you still, be you still, trembling heart;Remember the wisdom out of the old days:*Him who trembles before the flame and the flood,And the winds that blow through the starry ways,Let the starry winds and the flame and the floodCover over and hide, for he has no partWith the lonely, majestical multitude*.
Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,For I would ride with you upon the wind,Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,And dance upon the mountains like a flame.
Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.
The Coming of Wisdom with TimeThough leaves are many, the root is one,Through all the lying days of my youthI swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;Now I may wither into the truth.
I had fallen into a profound dream-like reverie in which I heard him speaking as at a distance. 'And yet there is no one who communes with only one god,' he was saying, 'and the more a man lives in imagination and in a refined understanding, the more gods does he meet with and talk with, and the more does he come under the power of Roland, who sounded in the Valley of Roncesvalles the last trumpet of the body's will and pleasure; and of Hamlet, who saw them perishing away, and sighed; and of Faust, who looked for them up and down the world and could not find them; and under the power of all those countless divinities who have taken upon themselves spiritual bodies in the minds of the modern poets and romance writers, and under the power of the old divinities, who since the Renaissance have won everything of their ancient worship except the sacrifice of birds and fishes, the fragrance of garlands and the smoke of incense. The many think humanity made these divinities, and that it can unmake them again; but we who have seen them pass in rattling harness, and in soft robes, and heard them speak with articulate voices while we lay in deathlike trance, know that they are always making and unmaking humanity, which is indeed but the trembling of their lips.
Heart-mysteries there, and yet when all is saidIt was the dream itself enchanted me(The Circus Animal's Desertion)