Collected Poems, by William Butler Yeats

The Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland

HE stood among a crowd at Dromahair;

His heart hung all upon a silken dress,

And he had known at last some tenderness,

Before earth took him to her stony care;

But when a man poured fish into a pile,

It Seemed they raised their little silver heads,

And sang what gold morning or evening sheds

Upon a woven world-forgotten isle

Where people love beside the ravelled seas;

That Time can never mar a lover’s vows

Under that woven changeless roof of boughs:

The singing shook him out of his new ease.

He wandered by the sands of Lissadell;

His mind ran all on money cares and fears,

And he had known at last some prudent years

Before they heaped his grave under the hill;

But while he passed before a plashy place,

A lug-worm with its grey and muddy mouth

Sang that somewhere to north or west or south

There dwelt a gay, exulting, gentle race

Under the golden or the silver skies;

That if a dancer stayed his hungry foot

It seemed the sun and moon were in the fruit:

And at that singing he was no more wise.

He mused beside the well of Scanavin,

He mused upon his mockers: without fail

His sudden vengeance were a country tale,

When earthy night had drunk his body in;

But one small knot-grass growing by the pool

Sang where — unnecessary cruel voice —

Old silence bids its chosen race rejoice,

Whatever ravelled waters rise and fall

Or stormy silver fret the gold of day,

And midnight there enfold them like a fleece

And lover there by lover be at peace.

The tale drove his fine angry mood away.

He slept under the hill of Lugnagall;

And might have known at last unhaunted sleep

Under that cold and vapour-turbaned steep,

Now that the earth had taken man and all:

Did not the worms that spired about his bones

proclaim with that unwearied, reedy cry

That God has laid His fingers on the sky,

That from those fingers glittering summer runs

Upon the dancer by the dreamless wave.

Why should those lovers that no lovers miss

Dream, until God burn Nature with a kiss?

The man has found no comfort in the grave.

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