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

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

38. Two Songs of a Fool


A SPECKLED cat and a tame hare
Eat at my hearthstone 
And sleep there; 
And both look up to me alone 
For learning and defence         5
As I look up to Providence. 
I start out of my sleep to think 
Some day I may forget 
Their food and drink; 
Or, the house door left unshut,  10
The hare may run till it’s found 
The horn’s sweet note and the tooth of the hound. 
I bear a burden that might well try 
Men that do all by rule, 
And what can I  15
That am a wandering witted fool 
But pray to God that He ease 
My great responsibilities? 

I slept on my three-legged stool by the fire,
The speckled cat slept on my knee;  20
We never thought to enquire 
Where the brown hare might be, 
And whether the door were shut. 
Who knows how she drank the wind 
Stretched up on two legs from the mat,  25
Before she had settled her mind 
To drum with her heel and to leap: 
Had I but awakened from sleep 
And called her name she had heard, 
It may be, and had not stirred,  30
That now, it may be, has found 
The horn’s sweet note and the tooth of the hound. 



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