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Vacillation Analysis



Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 25

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        I



Between extremities

Man runs his course;

A brand, or flaming breath.

Comes to destroy

All those antinomies

Of day and night;

The body calls it death,

The heart remorse.

But if these be right

What is joy?



        II

        

A tree there is that from its topmost bough

Is half all glittering flame and half all green

Abounding foliage moistened with the dew;

And half is half and yet is all the scene;

And half and half consume what they renew,

And he that Attis' image hangs between

That staring fury and the blind lush leaf

May know not what he knows, but knows not grief



        III

        

Get all the gold and silver that you can,

Satisfy ambition, animate

The trivial days and ram them with the sun,

And yet upon these maxims meditate:

All women dote upon an idle man

Although their children need a rich estate;

No man has ever lived that had enough

Of children's gratitude or woman's love.



No longer in Lethean foliage caught

Begin the preparation for your death

And from the fortieth winter by that thought

Test every work of intellect or faith,

And everything that your own hands have wrought

And call those works extravagance of breath

That are not suited for such men as come

proud, open-eyed and laughing to the tomb.



        IV

        

My fiftieth year had come and gone,

I sat, a solitary man,

In a crowded London shop,

An open book and empty cup

On the marble table-top.

While on the shop and street I gazed

My body of a sudden blazed;

And twenty minutes more or less

It seemed, so great my happiness,

That I was blessed and could bless.



        V

        

Although the summer Sunlight gild

Cloudy leafage of the sky,

Or wintry moonlight sink the field

In storm-scattered intricacy,

I cannot look thereon,

Responsibility so weighs me down.



Things said or done long years ago,

Or things I did not do or say

But thought that I might say or do,

Weigh me down, and not a day

But something is recalled,

My conscience or my vanity appalled.



        VI

        

A rivery field spread out below,

An odour of the new-mown hay

In his nostrils, the great lord of Chou

Cried, casting off the mountain snow,

`Let all things pass away.'



Wheels by milk-white asses drawn

Where Babylon or Nineveh

Rose; some conquer drew rein

And cried to battle-weary men,

`Let all things pass away.'



From man's blood-sodden heart are sprung

Those branches of the night and day

Where the gaudy moon is hung.

What's the meaning of all song?

`Let all things pass away.'



        VII

        

The Soul. Seek out reality, leave things that seem.

The Heart. What, be a singer born and lack a theme?

The Soul. Isaiah's coal, what more can man desire?

The Heart. Struck dumb in the simplicity of fire!

The Soul. Look on that fire, salvation walks within.

The Heart. What theme had Homer but original sin?



        VIII

        

Must we part, Von Hugel, though much alike, for we

Accept the miracles of the saints and honour sanctity?

The body of Saint Teresa lies undecayed in tomb,

Bathed in miraculous oil, sweet odours from it come,

Healing from its lettered slab.  Those self-same hands perchance

Eternalised the body of a modern saint that once

Had scooped out pharaoh's mummy.  I - though heart might find relief

Did I become a Christian man and choose for my belief

What seems most welcome in the tomb - play a pre-destined part.

Homer is my example and his unchristened heart.

The lion and the honeycomb, what has Scripture said?

So get you gone, Von Hugel, though with blessings on your head.






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