William Butler Yeats

poems:

21

bronze head

Here at right of the entrance this bronze head, human, superhuman, a bird's round eye, everything else withered and mummy-dead. What great tomb-haunter sweeps the distant sky (Something may linger there though all else die) and finds there nothing to make its terror less hysterica passio of its own emptiness? No dark tomb-haunter once; her form all full as though with magnanimity of light, yet a most gentle woman; who can tell which of her forms has shown her substance right? Or maybe substance can be composite, profound McTaggart thought so, and in a breath a mouthful held the extreme of life and death. But even at the starting-post, all sleek and new, I saw the wildness in her and I thought a vision of terror that it must live through had shattered her soul. Propinquity had brought imagination to that pitch where it casts out all that is not itself: I had grown wild and wandered murmuring everywhere, "My child, my child!' Or else I thought her supernatural; As though a sterner eye looked through her eye on this foul world in its decline and fall; On gangling stocks grown great, great stocks run dry, ancestral pearls all pitched into a sty, heroic reverie mocked by clown and knave, and wondered what was left for massacre to save.

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