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Adam's Curse Analysis



Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 30

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We sat together at one summer's end,


That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,


And you and I, and talked of poetry.


I said, 'A line will take us hours maybe;


Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,


Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.


Better go down upon your marrow-bones


And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones


Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;


For to articulate sweet sounds together


Is to work harder than all these, and yet


Be thought an idler by the noisy set


Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen


The martyrs call the world.'


                                             

And thereupon


That beautiful mild woman for whose sake


There's many a one shall find out all heartache


On finding that her voice is sweet and low


Replied: 'To be born woman is to know--


Although they do not talk of it at school--


That we must labour to be beautiful.'





I said, 'It's certain there is no fine thing


Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.


There have been lovers who thought love should be


So much compounded of high courtesy


That they would sigh and quote with learned looks


Precedents out of beautiful old books;


Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.'





We sat grown quiet at the name of love;


We saw the last embers of daylight die,


And in the trembling blue-green of the sky


A moon, worn as if it had been a shell


Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell


About the stars and broke in days and years.





I had a thought for no one's but your ears:


That you were beautiful, and that I strove


To love you in the old high way of love;


That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown


As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.






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