William Butler Yeats

The Shadowy Waters: Introductory Lines

I walked among the seven woods of Coole: Shan-walla, where a willow-hordered pond Gathers the wild duck from the winter dawn; Shady Kyle-dortha; sunnier Kyle-na-no, Where many hundred squirrels are as happy As though they had been hidden hy green houghs Where old age cannot find them; Paire-na-lee, Where hazel and ash and privet hlind the paths: Dim Pairc-na-carraig, where the wild bees fling Their sudden fragrances on the green air; Dim Pairc-na-tarav, where enchanted eyes Have seen immortal, mild, proud shadows walk; Dim Inchy wood, that hides badger and fox And marten-cat, and borders that old wood Wise Buddy Early called the wicked wood: Seven odours, seven murmurs, seven woods. I had not eyes like those enchanted eyes, Yet dreamed that beings happier than men Moved round me in the shadows, and at night My dreams were clown hy voices and by fires; And the images I have woven in this story Of Forgael and Dectora and the empty waters Moved round me in the voices and the fires, And more I may not write of, for they that cleave The waters of sleep can make a chattering tongue Heavy like stone, their wisdom being half silence. How shall I name you, immortal, mild, proud shadows? I only know that all we know comes from you, And that you come from Eden on flying feet. Is Eden far away, or do you hide From human thought, as hares and mice and coneys That run before the reaping-hook and lie In the last ridge of the barley? Do our woods And winds and ponds cover more quiet woods, More shining winds, more star-glimmering ponds? Is Eden out of time and out of space? And do you gather about us when pale light Shining on water and fallen among leaves, And winds blowing from flowers, and whirr of feathers And the green quiet, have uplifted the heart? I have made this poem for you, that men may read it Before they read of Forgael and Dectora, As men in the old times, before the harps began, Poured out wine for the high invisible ones.

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