William Butler Yeats

Cuchulain Comforted

A man that had six mortal wounds, a man Violent and famous, strode among the dead; Eyes stared out of the branches and were gone. Then certain Shrouds that muttered head to head Came and were gone. He leant upon a tree As though to meditate on wounds and blood. A Shroud that seemed to have authority Among those bird-like things came, and let fall A bundle of linen. Shrouds by two and thrce Came creeping up because the man was still. And thereupon that linen-carrier said: 'Your life can grow much sweeter if you will 'Obey our ancient rule and make a shroud; Mainly because of what we only know The rattle of those arms makes us afraid. 'We thread the needles' eyes, and all we do All must together do.' That done, the man Took up the nearest and began to sew. 'Now must we sing and sing the best we can, But first you must be told our character: Convicted cowards all, by kindred slain 'Or driven from home and left to dic in fear.' They sang, but had nor human tunes nor words, Though all was done in common as before; They had changed their thtoats and had the throats of birds.