Collected Poems, by William Butler Yeats

The Statesman’s Holiday

I LIVED among great houses,

Riches drove out rank,

Base drove out the better blood,

And mind and body shrank.

No Oscar ruled the table,

But I’d a troop of friends

That knowing better talk had gone

Talked of odds and ends.

Some knew what ailed the world

But never said a thing,

So I have picked a better trade

And night and morning sing:

Tall dames go walking in grass-green Avalon.

Am I a great Lord Chancellor

That slept upon the Sack?

Commanding officer that tore

The khaki from his back?

Or am I de Valera,

Or the King of Greece,

Or the man that made the motors?

Ach, call me what you please!

Here’s a Montenegrin lute,

And its old sole string

Makes me sweet music

And I delight to sing:

Tall dames go walking in grass-green Avalon.

With boys and girls about him.

With any sort of clothes,

With a hat out of fashion,

With Old patched shoes,

With a ragged bandit cloak,

With an eye like a hawk,

With a stiff straight back,

With a strutting turkey walk.

With a bag full of pennies,

With a monkey on a chain,

With a great cock’s feather,

With an old foul tune.

Tall dames go walking in grass-green Avalon.

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