Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
The man Who Dreamed of Fairyland

William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)
HE 1 stood among a crowd at Drumahair;
  His heart hung all upon a silken dress,
  And he had known at last some tenderness,
Before earth made of him her sleepy care;
But when a man poured fish into a pile,        5
  It seemed they raised their little silver heads,
  And sang how day a Druid twilight sheds
Upon a dim, green, well-beloved isle,
Where people love beside star-laden seas;
  How Time may never mar their faery vows        10
  Under the woven roofs of quicken boughs:
The singing shook him out of his new ease.
As he went by the sands of Lisadill,
  His mind ran all on money cares and fears,
  And he had known at last some prudent years        15
Before they heaped his grave under the hill;
But while he passed before a plashy place,
  A lug-worm with its gray and muddy mouth
  Sang how somewhere to north or west or south
There dwelt a gay, exulting, gentle race;        20
And how beneath those three-times blessed skies
  A Danaan fruitage makes a shower of moons,
  And as it falls awakens leafy tunes:
And at that singing he was no more wise.
He mused beside the well of Scanavin,        25
  He mused upon his mockers: without fail
  His sudden vengeance were a country tale,
Now that deep earth has drunk his body in;
But one small knot-grass growing by the pool
  Told where, ah, little, all-unneeded voice!        30
  Old Silence bids a lonely folk rejoice,
And chaplet their calm brows with leafage cool;
And how, when fades the sea-strewn rose of day,
  A gentle feeling wraps them like a fleece,
  And all their trouble dies into its peace;        35
The tale drove his fine angry mood away.
He slept under the hill of Lugnagall;
  And might have known at last unhaunted sleep
  Under that cold and vapour-turbaned steep,
Now that old earth had taken man and all:        40
Were not the worms that spired about his bones
  A-telling with their low and reedy cry,
  Of how God leans His hands out of the sky,
To bless that isle with honey in His tones;
That none may feel the power of squall and wave,        45
  And no one any leaf-crowned dancer miss
  Until He burn up Nature with a kiss:
The man has found no comfort in the grave.
Note 1. W. B. Yeats. The man who dreamed of Fairyland. [See No. 26.] [back]

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