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by William Butyeats 2fairiesler Yeats

 Fae Poetry by William Butler Yeats

Scene: A circle of Druidic stones

 

First Fairy: Afar from our lawn and our levee,
O sister of sorrowful gaze!
Where the roses in scarlet are heavy
And dream of the end of their days,
You move in another dominion
And hang o'er the historied stone:
Unpruned in your beautiful pinion
Who wander and whisper alone.

All: Come away while the moon's in the woodland,
We'll dance and then feast in a dairy.

Though youngest of all in our good band,
You are wasting away, little fairy.

Second Fairy: Ah! cruel ones, leave me alone now
While I murmur a little and ponder
The history here in the stone now;
Then away and away I will wander,
And measure the minds of the flowers,
And gaze on the meadow-mice wary,
And number their days and their hours--

All: You're wasting away, little fairy.

Second Fairy: O shining ones, lightly with song pass,
Ah! leave me, I pray you and beg.
My mother drew forth from the long grass
A piece of a nightingle's egg,
And cradled me here where are sung,
Of birds even, longings for aery
Wild wisdoms of spirit and tongue.

All: You're wasting away, little fairy.

First Fairy [turning away]: Though the tenderest roses were round you,
The soul of this pitiless place
With pitiless magic has bound you--
Ah! woe for the loss of your face,
And the loss of your laugh with its lightness--
Ah! woe for your wings and your head--
Ah! woe for your eyes and their brightness--
Ah! woe for your slippers of red.

All: Come away while the moon's in the woodland,
 

WE who are old, old and gay,
O so old!
Thousands of years, thousands of years,
If all were told:
Give to these children, new from the world,
Silence and love;
And the long dew-dropping hours of the night,
And the stars above:
Give to these children, new from the world,
Rest far from men.
Is anything better, anything better?
Tell us it then:
Us who are old, old and gay,
O so old!
Thousands of years, thousands of years,
If all were told.

We'll dance and then feast in a dairy.
Though youngest of all in our good band,
She's wasting away, little fairy.

 

A Faery Song

 

 

 

 

yeats-2fairies.jpg

 

Bio:

 

W. B. Yeats

Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1865, William Butler Yeats was the son of a well-known Irish painter, John Butler Yeats. He spent his childhood in County Sligo, where his parents were raised, and in London. He returned to Dublin at the age of fifteen to continue his education and study painting, but quickly discovered he preferred poetry. Born into the Anglo-Irish landowning class, Yeats became involved with the Celtic Revival, a movement against the cultural influences of English rule in Ireland during the Victorian period, which sought to promote the spirit of Ireland's native heritage. Though Yeats never learned Gaelic himself, his writing at the turn of the century drew extensively from sources in Irish mythology and folklore. Also a potent influence on his poetry was the Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne, whom he met in 1889, a woman equally famous for her passionate nationalist politics and her beauty. Though she married another man in 1903 and grew apart from Yeats (and Yeats himself was eventually married to another woman, Georgie Hyde Lees), she remained a powerful figure in his poetry.

Yeats was deeply involved in politics in Ireland, and in the twenties, despite Irish independence from England, his verse reflected a pessimism about the political situation in his country and the rest of Europe, paralleling the increasing conservativism of his American counterparts in London, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. His work after 1910 was strongly influenced by Pound, becoming more modern in its concision and imagery, but Yeats never abandoned his strict adherence to traditional verse forms. He had a life-long interest in mysticism and the occult, which was off-putting to some readers, but he remained uninhibited in advancing his idiosyncratic philosophy, and his poetry continued to grow stronger as he grew older. Appointed a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922, he is remembered as an important cultural leader, as a major playwright (he was one of the founders of the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin), and as one of the very greatest poets—in any language—of the century. W. B. Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 and died in 1939 at the age of 73.


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