Verse > W.B. Yeats > Responsibilities and Other Poems

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939).  Responsibilities and Other Poems.  1916.

38. King and No King

‘WOULD it were anything but merely voice!’ 
The No King cried who after that was King, 
Because he had not heard of anything 
That balanced with a word is more than noise; 
Yet Old Romance being kind, let him prevail         5
Somewhere or somehow that I have forgot, 
Though he’d but cannon—Whereas we that had thought 
To have lit upon as clean and sweet a tale 
Have been defeated by that pledge you gave 
In momentary anger long ago;  10
And I that have not your faith, how shall I know 
That in the blinding light beyond the grave 
We’ll find so good a thing as that we have lost? 
The hourly kindness, the day’s common speech, 
The habitual content of each with each  15
When neither soul nor body has been crossed. 



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