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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
I. Irish
The Madness of King Goll by William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)
Celtic Literature
 
          Here is one of Mr. Yeats’s “old songs re-sung”:—

          I SAT on cushioned otter skin:
            My word was law from Ith to Emen,
          And shook at Invar Amargin
            The hearts of the world-troubling seamen,
          And drove tumult and war away        5
            From girl and boy and man and beast;
          The fields grew fatter day by day,
            The wild fowl of the air increased;
          And every ancient Ollave said,
          While he bent down his faded head,—        10
          “He drives away the Northern cold.”
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech-leaves old.
 
          I sat and mused and drank sweet wine;
            A herdsman came from inland valleys,
          Crying, the pirates drove his swine        15
            To fill their dark-beaked hollow galleys.
          I called my battle-breaking men
            And my loud brazen battle-cars
          From rolling vale and rivery glen,
            And under the blinking of the stars        20
          Fell on the pirates of the deep,
          And hurled them in the gulph of sleep:
          These hands won many a torque of gold.
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech-leaves old.
 
          But slowly, as I shouting slew        25
            And trampled in the bubbling mire,
          In my most secret spirit grew
            A whirling and a wandering fire:
          I stood: keen stars above me shone,
            Around me shone keen eyes of men:        30
          And with loud singing I rushed on
            Over the heath and spungy fen,
          And broke between my hands the staff
          Of my long spear with song and laugh,
          That down the echoing valleys rolled.        35
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech-leaves old.
 
          And now I wander in the woods
            When summer gluts the golden bees,
          Or in autumnal solitudes
            Arise the leopard-colored trees;        40
          Or when along the wintry strands
            The cormorants shiver on their rocks;
          I wander on, and wave my hands,
            And sing, and shake my heavy locks.
          The gray wolf knows me; by one ear        45
          I lead along the woodland deer;
          The hares run by me, growing bold.
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech-leaves old.
 
          I came upon a little town
            That slumbered in the harvest moon,        50
          And passed a-tiptoe up and down,
            Murmuring to a fitful tune,
          How I have followed, night and day,
            A tramping of tremendous feet,
          And saw where this old tympan lay,        55
            Deserted on a doorway seat,
          And bore it to the woods with me;
          Of some unhuman misery
          Our married voices wildly trolled.
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech-leaves old.        60
 
          I sang how, when day’s toil is done,
            Orchil shakes out her long dark hair
          That hides away the dying sun
            And sheds faint odors through the air:
          When my hand passed from wire to wire        65
            It quenched, with sound like falling dew,
          The whirling and the wandering fire,
            But left a mournful ulalu;
          For the kind wires are torn and still,
          And I must wander wood and hill,        70
          Through summer’s heat and winter’s cold.
They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech-leaves old.
 
 
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