Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
Ego Dominus Tuus
By William Butler Yeats
  On the grey sand beside the shallow stream,
  Under your old wind-beaten tower, where still
  A lamp burns on beside the open book
  That Michael Robartes left, you walk in the moon;
  And though you have passed the best of life still trace,        5
  Enthralled by the unconquerable delusion,
  Magical shapes.

                By the help of an image
  I call to my own opposite, summon all
  That I have handled least, least looked upon.
  And I would find myself and not an image.
  That is our modern hope, and by its light
  We have lit upon the gentle, sensitive mind
  And lost the old nonchalance of the hand.
  Whether we have chosen chisel, pen or brush
  We are but critics, or but half create,        15
  Timid, entangled, empty and abashed,
  Lacking the countenance of our friends.

                        And yet
  The chief imagination of christendom
  Dante Alighieri so utterly found himself
  That he has made that hollow face of his        20
  More plain to the mind’s eye than any face
  But that of Christ.

                And did he find himself,
  Or was the hunger that had made it hollow
  A hunger for the apple on the bough
  Most out of reach? and is that spectral image        25
  The man that Lapo and that Guido knew?
  I think he fashioned from his opposite
  An image that might have been a stony face,
  Staring upon a bedouin’s horse-hair roof
  From doored and windowed cliff, or half upturned        30
  Among the coarse grass and the camel dung.
  He set his chisel to the hardest stone.
  Being mocked by Guido for his lecherous life,
  Derided and deriding, driven out
  To climb that stair and eat that bitter bread,        35
  He found the unpersuadable justice, he found
  The most exalted lady loved by a man.
  Yet surely there are men who have made their art
  Out of no tragic war—lovers of life,
  Impulsive men that look for happiness        40
  And sing when they have found it.

                    No, not sing;
  For those that love the world serve it in action,
  Grow rich, popular and full of influence,
  And should they paint or write still it is action:
  The struggle of the fly in marmalade.        45
  The rhetorician would deceive his neighbors,
  The sentimentalist himself; while art
  Is but a vision of reality.
  What portion in the world can the artist have
  Who has awakened from the common dream,        50
  But dissipation and despair?

                    And yet
  No one denies to Keats love of the world.
  Remember his deliberate happiness.
  His art is happy, but who knows his mind?
  I see a school-boy when I think of him        55
  With face and nose pressed to a sweet-shop window.
  For certainly he sank into his grave
  His senses and his heart unsatisfied,
  And made—being poor, ailing and ignorant,
  Shut out from all the luxury of the world,        60
  The ill-bred son of a livery-stable keeper—
  Luxuriant song.

            Why should you leave the lamp
  Burning alone beside an open book,
  And trace these characters upon the sands?
  A style is found by sedentary toil        65
  And by the imitation of great masters.
  Because I seek an image not a book,
  Those men that in their writings are most wise
  Own nothing but their blind, stupified hearts.
  I call to the mysterious one who yet        70
  Shall walk the wet sands by the edge of the stream
  And look most like me, being indeed my double,
  And prove if all imaginable things
  The most unlike, being my anti-self,
  And standing by these characters disclose        75
  All that I seek; and whisper it as though
  He were afraid the birds, who cry aloud
  Their momentary cries before it is dawn,
  Would carry it away to blasphemous men.

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