William Butler Yeats

Coole Park And Ballylee

1931

Under my window-ledge the waters race, Otters below and moor-hens on the top, Run for a mile undimmed in Heaven's face Then darkening through 'dark' Raftery's 'cellar' drop, Run underground, rise in a rocky place In Coole demesne, and there to finish up Spread to a lake and drop into a hole. What's water but the generated soul? Upon the border of that lake's a wood Now all dry sticks under a wintry sun, And in a copse of beeches there I stood, For Nature's pulled her tragic buskin on And all the rant's a mirror of my mood: At sudden thunder of the mounting swan I turned about and looked where branches break The glittering reaches of the flooded lake. Another emblem there! That stormy white But seems a concentration of the sky; And, like the soul, it sails into the sight And in the morning's gone, no man knows why; And is so lovely that it sets to right What knowledge or its lack had set awry, So atrogantly pure, a child might think It can be murdered with a spot of ink. Sound of a stick upon the floor, a sound From somebody that toils from chair to chair; Beloved books that famous hands have bound, Old marble heads, old pictures everywhere; Great rooms where travelled men and children found Content or joy; a last inheritor Where none has reigned that lacked a name and fame Or out of folly into folly came. A spot whereon the founders lived and died Seemed once more dear than life; ancestral trees, Or gardens rich in memory glorified Marriages, alliances and families, And every bride's ambition satisfied. Where fashion or mere fantasy decrees We shift about - all that great glory spent - Like some poor Arab tribesman and his tent. We were the last romantics - chose for theme Traditional sanctity and loveliness; Whatever's written in what poets name The book of the people; whatever most can bless The mind of man or elevate a rhyme; But all is changed, that high horse riderless, Though mounted in that saddle Homer rode Where the swan drifts upon a darkening flood.