Verse > W.B. Yeats > The Wild Swans at Coole

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939).  The Wild Swans at Coole.  1919.

13. Tom O’Roughley

‘THOUGH logic choppers rule the town, 
And every man and maid and boy 
Has marked a distant object down, 
An aimless joy is a pure joy,’ 
Or so did Tom O’Roughley say         5
That saw the surges running by, 
‘And wisdom is a butterfly 
And not a gloomy bird of prey. 
‘If little planned is little sinned 
But little need the grave distress.  10
What’s dying but a second wind? 
How but in zigzag wantonness 
Could trumpeter Michael be so brave?’ 
Or something of that sort he said, 
‘And if my dearest friend were dead  15
I’d dance a measure on his grave.’ 



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