Collected Poems, by William Butler Yeats

The Rose of Battle

ROSE of all Roses, Rose of all the World!

The tall thought-woven sails, that flap unfurled

Above the tide of hours, trouble the air,

And God’s bell buoyed to be the water’s care;

While hushed from fear, or loud with hope, a band

With blown, spray-dabbled hair gather at hand,

Turn if you may from battles never done,

I call, as they go by me one by one,

Danger no refuge holds, and war no peace,

For him who hears love sing and never cease,

Beside her clean-swept hearth, her quiet shade:

But gather all for whom no love hath made

A woven silence, or but came to cast

A song into the air, and singing passed

To smile on the pale dawn; and gather you

Who have sought more than is in rain or dew,

Or in the sun and moon, or on the earth,

Or sighs amid the wandering, starry mirth,

Or comes in laughter from the sea’s sad lips,

And wage God’s battles in the long grey ships.

The sad, the lonely, the insatiable,

To these Old Night shall all her mystery tell;

God’s bell has claimed them by the little cry

Of their sad hearts, that may not live nor die.

Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!

You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled

Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring

The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.

Beauty grown sad with its eternity

Made you of us, and of the dim grey sea.

Our long ships loose thought-woven sails and wait,

For God has bid them share an equal fate;

And when at last, defeated in His wars,

They have gone down under the same white stars,

We shall no longer hear the little cry

Of our sad hearts, that may not live nor die.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 14:50