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

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

17. On Woman

MAY God be praised for woman 
That gives up all her mind, 
A man may find in no man 
A friendship of her kind 
That covers all he has brought         5
As with her flesh and bone, 
Nor quarrels with a thought 
Because it is not her own. 
Though pedantry denies, 
It’s plain the Bible means  10
That Solomon grew wise 
While talking with his queens. 
Yet never could, although 
They say he counted grass, 
Count all the praises due  15
When Sheba was his lass, 
When she the iron wrought, or 
When from the smithy fire 
It shuddered in the water: 
Harshness of their desire  20
That made them stretch and yawn, 
Pleasure that comes with sleep, 
Shudder that made them one. 
What else He give or keep 
God grant me—no, not here,  25
For I am not so bold 
To hope a thing so dear 
Now I am growing old, 
But when if the tale’s true 
The Pestle of the moon  30
That pounds up all anew 
Brings me to birth again— 
To find what once I had 
And know what once I have known, 
Until I am driven mad,  35
Sleep driven from my bed, 
By tenderness and care, 
Pity, an aching head, 
Gnashing of teeth, despair; 
And all because of some one  40
Perverse creature of chance, 
And live like Solomon 
That Sheba led a dance. 



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