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

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

8. To a Shade

IF you have revisited the town, thin Shade, 
Whether to look upon your monument 
(I wonder if the builder has been paid) 
Or happier thoughted when the day is spent 
To drink of that salt breath out of the sea         5
When grey gulls flit about instead of men, 
And the gaunt houses put on majesty: 
Let these content you and be gone again; 
For they are at their old tricks yet.
                                      A man
Of your own passionate serving kind who had brought  10
In his full hands what, had they only known, 
Had given their children’s children loftier thought, 
Sweeter emotion, working in their veins 
Like gentle blood, has been driven from the place, 
And insult heaped upon him for his pains  15
And for his open-handedness, disgrace; 
An old foul mouth that slandered you had set 
The pack upon him.
                  Go, unquiet wanderer
And gather the Glasnevin coverlet 
About your head till the dust stops your ear,  20
The time for you to taste of that salt breath 
And listen at the corners has not come; 
You had enough of sorrow before death— 
Away, away! You are safer in the tomb.

September 29th, 1913.



Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.