William Butler Yeats

Two Songs From A Play

I I saw a staring virgin stand Where holy Dionysus died, And tear the heart out of his side. And lay the heart upon her hand And bear that beating heart away; Of Magnus Annus at the spring, As though God's death were but a play. Another Troy must rise and set, Another lineage feed the crow, Another Argo's painted prow Drive to a flashier bauble yet. The Roman Empire stood appalled: It dropped the reins of peace and war When that fierce virgin and her Star Out of the fabulous darkness called. II In pity for man's darkening thought He walked that room and issued thence In Galilean turbulence; The Babylonian starlight brought A fabulous, formless darkness in; Odour of blood when Christ was slain Made all platonic tolerance vain And vain all Doric discipline. Everything that man esteems Endures a moment or a day. Love's pleasure drives his love away, The painter's brush consumes his dreams; The herald's cry, the soldier's tread Exhaust his glory and his might: Whatever flames upon the night Man's own resinous heart has fed.

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