William Butler Yeats

Responsibilities - Introduction

Pardon, old fathers, if you still remain Somewhere in ear-shot for the story's end, Old Dublin merchant "free of the ten and four" Or trading out of Galway into Spain; Old country scholar, Robert Emmet's friend, A hundred-year-old memory to the poor; Merchant and scholar who have left me blood That has not passed through any huckster's loin, Soldiers that gave, whatever die was cast: A Butler or an Armstrong that withstood Beside the brackish waters of the Boyne James and his Irish when the Dutchman crossed; Old merchant skipper that leaped overboard After a ragged hat in Biscay Bay; You most of all, silent and fierce old man, Because the daily spectacle that stirred My fancy, and set my boyish lips to say, "Only the wasteful virtues earn the sun"; Pardon that for a barren passion's sake, Although I have come close on forty-nine, I have no child, I have nothing but a book, Nothing but that to prove your blood and mine.