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William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)  

 

 

 

The Hosting of the Sidhe

 

THE HOST is riding from Knocknarea

And over the grave of Clooth-na-bare;

And Niamh calling Away, come away:

Empty your heart of its mortal dream.

The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,

Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,

Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are a-gleam,

Our arms are waving, our lips are apart;

And if any gaze on our rushing band,

We come between him and the deed of his hand,

We come between him and the hope of his heart.

The host is rushing ’twixt night and day,

And where is there hope or deed as fair?

Caolte tossing his burning hair,

And Niamh calling Away, come away.

 

From The Wind Among the Reeds.  1899.

 

The Song of Wandering Aengus

 

 

I WENT out to the hazel wood,

 

Because a fire was in my head,

 

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

 

And hooked a berry to a thread;

 

And when white moths were on the wing,

 

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

 

I dropped the berry in a stream

 

And caught a little silver trout.

 

 

 

When I had laid it on the floor

 

I went to blow the fire a-flame,

 

But something rustled on the floor,

 

And someone called me by my name:

 

It had become a glimmering girl

 

With apple blossom in her hair

 

Who called me by my name and ran

 

And faded through the brightening air.

 

 

 

Though I am old with wandering

 

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

 

I will find out where she has gone,

 

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

 

And walk among long dappled grass,

 

And pluck till time and times are done,

 

The silver apples of the moon,

 

The golden apples of the sun.

 

From The Wind Among the Reeds.  1899.

 

 

The Everlasting Voices

 

O sweet everlasting Voices, be still;

Go to the guards of the heavenly fold

And bid them wander obeying your will,

Flame under flame, till Time be no more;

Have you not heard that our hearts are old,

That you call in birds, in wind on the hill,

In shaken boughs, in tide on the shore?

O sweet everlasting Voices, be still.

 

A Cradle Song

 

THE DANANN children laugh, in cradles of wrought gold,

And clap their hands together, and half close their eyes,

For they will ride the North when the ger-eagle flies,

With heavy whitening wings, and a heart fallen cold:

I kiss my wailing child and press it to my breast,

And hear the narrow graves calling my child and me.

Desolate winds that cry over the wandering sea;

Desolate winds that hover in the flaming West;

Desolate winds that beat the doors of Heaven, and beat

The doors of Hell and blow there many a whimpering ghost;

O heart the winds have shaken; the unappeasable host

Is comelier than candles before Maurya's feet.

 

Into the Twilight

 

 

OUT-WORN heart, in a time out-worn,

 

Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;

 

Laugh heart again in the gray twilight,

 

Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn.

 

 

 

Your mother Eire is always young,

 

Dew ever shining and twilight gray;

 

Though hope fall from you and love decay,

 

Burning in fires of a slanderous tongue.

 

 

 

Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:

 

For there the mystical brotherhood

 

Of sun and moon and hollow and wood

 

And river and stream work out their will;

 

 

 

And God stands winding His lonely horn,

 

And time and the world are ever in flight;

 

And love is less kind than the gray twilight,

 

And hope is less dear than the dew of the morn.

 

 

“Come, Faeries, take me out of this dull house!

Let me have all the freedom I have lost;

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,

For I would ride with you upon the wind,

Run on the top of the disheveled tide,

And dance upon the mountains like a flame…”

 

The Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland

 

He stood among a crowd at Drumahair;

His heart hung all upon a silken dress,

And he had known at last some tenderness,

Before earth made of him her sleepy care;

But when a man poured fish into a pile,

It seemed they raised their little silver heads,

And sang how day a Druid twilight sheds

Upon a dim, green, well-beloved isle,

Where people love beside star-laden seas;

How time may never mar their faery vows

Under the woven roofs of quicken bows:

The singing shook him out of his new ease.

 

He wandered by the sands of Lisadill;

His mind ran all on money cares and fears,

And he had known at last some prudent years

Before they heaped his grave under the hill;

But while he passed before a plashy place,

A lug-worm with its gray and muddy mouth

Sang how somewhere to the north or west or south

There dwelt a gay, exulting gentle race;

And how beneath those three times blesssed skies

A Danaan fruitage makes a shower of moons,

And as it falls awakens sleepy tunes:

And at that singing he was no more wise.

 

He mused beside the well of Scanavin,

He mused upon his mockers: without fail

His sudden vengeance were a country tale,

Now that deep earth has drunk his body in;

But one small knot-grass growing by the pool

Told, where, ah, little, all-uneededvoice!

Old Silence bids a lonely folk rejoice,

And chaplet their calm brows with leafage cool;

And how, when fades the sea-strewn rose of day,

A gentle feeling wraps them like a fleece,

And all their trouble dies into its peace:

The tale drove his fine angry mood away.

 

He slept under the hill of Lugnagall;

And might have known at last unhaunted sleep

Under that cold and vapour-turbaned steep,

Now that old earth had taken man and all:

Were not the worms that spired about his bones

A-telling with their low and reedy cry,

Of how God leans His hands out of the sky,

To bless that isle with honey in His tones;

That none may feel the power of squall and wave,

And no one any leaf-crowned dancer miss

Until He burn up Nature with a kiss:

The man has found no comfort in the grave.

 

 

 

The Host of the Air

 

 

O'DRISCOLL drove with a song,

 

The wild duck and the drake,

 

From the tall and the tufted reeds

 

Of the drear Hart Lake.

 

 

 

And he saw how the reeds grew dark

 

At the coming of night tide,

 

And dreamed of the long dim hair

 

Of Bridget his bride.

 

 

 

He heard while he sang and dreamed

 

A piper piping away,

 

And never was piping so sad,

 

And never was piping so gay.

 

 

 

And he saw young men and young girls

 

Who danced on a level place

 

And Bridget his bride among them,

 

With a sad and a gay face.

 

 

 

The dancers crowded about him,

 

And many a sweet thing said,

 

And a young man brought him red wine

 

And a young girl white bread.

 

 

 

But Bridget drew him by the sleeve,

 

Away from the merry bands,

 

To old men playing at cards

 

With a twinkling of ancient hands.

 

 

 

The bread and the wine had a doom,

 

For these were the host of the air;

 

He sat and played in a dream

 

Of her long dim hair.

 

 

 

He played with the merry old men

 

And thought not of evil chance,

 

Until one bore Bridget his bride

 

Away from the merry dance.

 

 

 

He bore her away in his arms,

 

The handsomest young man there,

 

And his neck and his breast and his arms

 

Were drowned in her long dim hair.

 

 

 

O'Driscoll scattered the cards

 

And out of his dream awoke:

 

Old men and young men and young girls

 

Were gone like a drifting smoke;

 

 

 

But he heard high up in the air

 

A piper piping away,

 

And never was piping so sad,

 

And never was piping so gay

 

The Hosting of the Sidhe

 

THE HOST is riding from Knocknarea

And over the grave of Clooth-na-bare;

And Niamh calling Away, come away:

Empty your heart of its mortal dream.

The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,

Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,

Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are a-gleam,

Our arms are waving, our lips are apart;

And if any gaze on our rushing band,

We come between him and the deed of his hand,

We come between him and the hope of his heart.

The host is rushing ’twixt night and day,

And where is there hope or deed as fair?

Caolte tossing his burning hair,

And Niamh calling Away, come away.

 

 

The Stolen Child

 

Where dips the rocky highland

Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,

There lies a leafy island

Where flapping herons wake

The drowsy water-rats;

There we've hid our faery vats,

Full of berries

And of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

 

Where the wave of moonlight glosses

The dim grey sands with light,

Far off by furthest Rosses

We foot it all the night,

Weaving olden dances,

Mingling hands and mingling glances

Till the moon has taken flight;

To and fro we leap

And chase the frothy bubbles,

While the world is full of troubles

And is anxious in its sleep.

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

 

Where the wandering water gushes

From the hills above Glen-Car,

In pools among the rushes

That scarce could bathe a star,

We seek for slumbering trout

And whispering in their ears

Give them unquiet dreams;

Leaning softly out

From ferns that drop their tears

Over the young streams.

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

 

Away with us he's going,

The solemn-eyed:

He'll hear no more the lowing

Of the calves on the warm hillside

Or the kettle on the hob

Sing peace into his breast,

Or see the brown mice bob

Round and round the oatmeal-chest.

For he comes, the human child,

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

From a world more full of weeping than he can understand.

 

 

 

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