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; 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.
One of my favorite Yeats poems is "The Tower," which begins like this:
WHAT shall I do with this absurdity - O heart, O troubled heart - this caricature, Decrepit age that has been tied to me As to a dog's tail? Never had I more Excited, passionate, fantastical Imagination, nor an ear and eye That more expected the impossible - No, not in boyhood when with rod and fly, Or the humbler worm, I climbed Ben Bulben's back And had the livelong summer day to spend. It seems that I must bid the Muse go pack, Choose Plato and Plotinus for a friend Until imagination, ear and eye, Can be content with argument and deal In abstract things; or be derided by A sort of battered kettle at the heel.
The whole poem is well worth reading. But then I'm really a Yeats fan.
The reference to Ben Bulben reminds me of "Under Ben Bulben," which ends like this:
Under bare Ben Bulben's head In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid. An ancestor was rector there Long years ago, a church stands near, By the road an ancient cross. No marble, no conventional phrase; On limestone quarried near the spot By his command these words are cut: Cast a cold eye On life, on death. Horseman, pass by!
_________________________ MACTECHubi dolor ibi digitus
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