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A Man Young And Old Analysis



Author: Poetry of William Butler Yeats Type: Poetry Views: 453

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I

i{First Love}



THOUGH nurtured like the sailing moon

In beauty's murderous brood,

She walked awhile and blushed awhile

And on my pathway stood

Until I thought her body bore

A heart of flesh and blood.

But since I laid a hand thereon

And found a heart of stone

I have attempted many things

And not a thing is done,

For every hand is lunatic

That travels on the moon.

She smiled and that transfigured me

And left me but a lout,

Maundering here, and maundering there,

Emptier of thought

Than the heavenly circuit of its stars

When the moon sails out.



II

i{Human Dignity}

Like the moon her kindness is,

If kindness I may call

What has no comprehension in't,

But is the same for all

As though my sorrow were a scene

Upon a painted wall.

So like a bit of stone I lie

Under a broken tree.

I could recover if I shrieked

My heart's agony

To passing bird, but I am dumb

From human dignity.



III

i{The Mermaid }

A mermaid found a swimming lad,

Picked him for her own,

Pressed her body to his body,

Laughed; and plunging down

Forgot in cruel happiness

That even lovers drown.



IV

i{The Death of the Hare}

I have pointed out the yelling pack,

The hare leap to the wood,

And when I pass a compliment

Rejoice as lover should

At the drooping of an eye,

At the mantling of the blood.

Then' suddenly my heart is wrung

By her distracted air

And I remember wildness lost

And after, swept from there,

Am set down standing in the wood

At the death of the hare.



V

i{The Empty Cup}

A crazy man that found a cup,

When all but dead of thirst,

Hardly dared to wet his mouth

Imagining, moon-accursed,

That another mouthful

And his beating heart would burst.

October last I found it too

But found it dry as bone,

And for that reason am I crazed

And my sleep is gone.



VI

i{His Memories}

We should be hidden from their eyes,

Being but holy shows

And bodies broken like a thorn

Whereon the bleak north blows,

To think of buried Hector

And that none living knows.

The women take so little stock

In what I do or say

They'd sooner leave their cosseting

To hear a jackass bray;

My arms are like the twisted thorn

And yet there beauty lay;

The first of all the tribe lay there

And did such pleasure take --

She who had brought great Hector down

And put all Troy to wreck --

That she cried into this ear,

"Strike me if I shriek.'



VII

i{The Friends of his Youth}

Laughter not time destroyed my voice

And put that crack in it,

And when the moon's pot-bellied

I get a laughing fit,

For that old Madge comes down the lane,

A stone upon her breast,

And a cloak wrapped about the stone,

And she can get no rest

With singing hush and hush-a-bye;

She that has been wild

And barren as a breaking wave

Thinks that the stone's a child.

And Peter that had great affairs

And was a pushing man

Shrieks, "I am King of the Peacocks,'

And perches on a stone;

And then I laugh till tears run down

And the heart thumps at my side,

Remembering that her shriek was love

And that he shrieks from pride.



VIII

i{Summer and Spring}

We sat under an old thorn-tree

And talked away the night,

Told all that had been said or done

Since first we saw the light,

And when we talked of growing up

Knew that we'd halved a soul

And fell the one in t'other's arms

That we might make it whole;

Then peter had a murdering look,

For it seemed that he and she

Had spoken of their childish days

Under that very tree.

O what a bursting out there was,

And what a blossoming,

When we had all the summer-time

And she had all the spring!



IX

i{The Secrets of the Old}

I have old women's sectets now

That had those of the young;

Madge tells me what I dared not think

When my blood was strong,

And what had drowned a lover once

Sounds like an old song.

Though Margery is stricken dumb

If thrown in Madge's way,

We three make up a solitude;

For none alive to-day

Can know the stories that we know

Or say the things we say:

How such a man pleased women most

Of all that are gone,

How such a pair loved many years

And such a pair but one,

Stories of the bed of straw

Or the bed of down.



X

i{His Wildness}

O bid me mount and sail up there

Amid the cloudy wrack,

For peg and Meg and Paris' love

That had so straight a back,

Are gone away, and some that stay

Have changed their silk for sack.

Were I but there and none to hear

I'd have a peacock cry,

For that is natural to a man

That lives in memory,

Being all alone I'd nurse a stone

And sing it lullaby.



XI

i{From 'Oedipus at Colonus'}

Endure what life God gives and ask no longer span;

Cease to remember the delights of youth, travel-wearied aged man;

Delight becomes death-longing if all longing else be vain.

Even from that delight memory treasures so,

Death, despair, division of families, all entanglements of mankind grow,

As that old wandering beggar and these God-hated children know.

In the long echoing street the laughing dancers throng,

The bride is catried to the bridegroom's chamber

through torchlight and tumultuous song;

I celebrate the silent kiss that ends short life or long.

Never to have lived is best, ancient writers say;

Never to have drawn the breath of life, never to have

looked into the eye of day;

The second best's a gay goodnight and quickly turn away.










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