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

3. An Irish Airman foresees his Death


I KNOW that I shall meet my fate 
Somewhere among the clouds above; 
Those that I fight I do not hate 
Those that I guard I do not love; 
My country is Kiltartan Cross,         5
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor, 
No likely end could bring them loss 
Or leave them happier than before. 
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, 
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,  10
A lonely impulse of delight 
Drove to this tumult in the clouds; 
I balanced all, brought all to mind, 
The years to come seemed waste of breath, 
A waste of breath the years behind  15
In balance with this life, this death. 


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