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The Three Beggars Analysis

Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 20

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'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 Guaire 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 Guaire 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 Guaire 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 sccond twilight brought

The frenzy of the beggars' moon

None closed his blood-shot eyes but sought

To keep his fellows from their sleep;

All shouted till their anger grew

And they were whirling in a heap.

They mauled and bit the whole night through;

They mauled and bit till the day shone;

They mauled and bit through all that day

And till another night had gone,

Or if they made a moment's stay

They sat upon their heels to rail,,

And when old Guaire 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 eried, 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

but I do not seem to care.'


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