Verse > W.B. Yeats > Responsibilities and Other Poems

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939).  Responsibilities and Other Poems.  1916.

6. To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing

NOW all the truth is out, 
Be secret and take defeat 
From any brazen throat, 
For how can you compete, 
Being honour bred, with one         5
Who, were it proved he lies, 
Were neither shamed in his own 
Nor in his neighbours’ eyes? 
Bred to a harder thing 
Than Triumph, turn away  10
And like a laughing string 
Whereon mad fingers play 
Amid a place of stone, 
Be secret and exult, 
Because of all things known  15
That is most difficult. 



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