William Butler Yeats

A Statesman's Holiday

I lived among great houses, Riches drove out rank, Base drove out the better blood, And mind and body shrank. No Oscar ruled the table, But I'd a troop of friends That knowing better talk had gone Talked of odds and ends. Some knew what ailed the world But never said a thing, So I have picked a better trade And night and morning sing: Tall dames go walking in grass-green Avalon. Am I a great Lord Chancellor That slept upon the Sack? Commanding officer that tore The khaki from his back? Or am I de Valera, Or the King of Greece, Or the man that made the motors? Ach, call me what you please! Here's a Montenegrin lute, And its old sole string Makes me sweet music And I delight to sing: Tall dames go walking in grass-green Avalon. With boys and girls about him. With any sort of clothes, With a hat out of fashion, With Old patched shoes, With a ragged bandit cloak, With an eye like a hawk, With a stiff straight back, With a strutting turkey walk. With a bag full of pennies, With a monkey on a chain, With a great cock's feather, With an old foul tune. Tall dames go walking in grass-green Avalon.