Daily Archives: October 2, 2011

Yeats in love

Yeats - further proving that (most) poets are total dream boats

After graduating college, I worked in a Borders bookstore (RIP), which was both awesome and not-so-awesome.  Awesome because I was surrounded by books all day and not-so-awesome because my student loan repayments were quickly approaching and I was making very little money.  One of the perks that I miss about working in a bookstore are all of the recommendations that people make.  One recommendation I received was for A Poet to His Beloved by W.B. Yeats.  At the time, I thought that this man was flirting with me in a rather dreamy way, but, looking back, I think that he was just really making an incredible recommendation for me.


‘Your eyes that once were never weary of mine
Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,
Because our love is waning.’
And then she:
‘Although our love is waning, let us stand
By the lone border of the lake once more,
Together in that hour of gentleness
When the poor tired child, Passion, falls asleep.
How far away the stars seem, and how far
Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!’

Pensively they paced along the faded leaves,
While slowly he whose hand held hers replied:
‘Passion has often worn our wandering hearts.’
The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves
Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once
A rabbit old and lame limped down the path;
Autumn was over him: and now they stood
On the long border of the lake once more:
Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves
Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes,
In bosom and hair.
‘Ah, do not mourn,’ he said,
‘That we are tired, for other lovers await us;
Hate on and love through unrepining hours.
Before us lies eternity; our souls
Are love, and a continual farewell.’

He Tells of the Perfect Beauty

O cloud-pale eyelids, dream-dimmed eyes.
The poets labouring all their days
To build a perfect beauty in rhyme
Are overthrown by a woman’s gaze
And by the unlabouring brood of the skies:
And therefore my heart will bow, when dew
Is dropping sleep, until God burn time,
Before the unlabouring stars and you.

When You Are Old

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 on 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.

Buy A Poet to His Beloved on Amazon. 

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Filed under Classics, Poetry, Yeats