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In The Seven Woods Being Poems Chiefly of the Irish Heroic Age   By: (1865-1939)

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IN THE SEVEN WOODS

BY THE SAME WRITER

THE SECRET ROSE THE CELTIC TWILIGHT POEMS THE WIND AMONG THE REEDS THE SHADOWY WATERS IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL

IN THE SEVEN WOODS

Being Poems Chiefly of the Irish Heroic Age

BY

W. B. YEATS

New York

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.

1903

All rights reserved

COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up, electrotyped, and published August, 1903.

Norwood Press J. S. Cushing & Co. Berwick & Smith Co. Norwood, Mass. U.S.A.

IN THE SEVEN WOODS

IN THE SEVEN WOODS: BEING POEMS CHIEFLY OF THE IRISH HEROIC AGE.

IN THE SEVEN WOODS.

I have heard the pigeons of the Seven Woods Make their faint thunder, and the garden bees Hum in the lime tree flowers; and put away The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness That empty the heart. I have forgot awhile Tara uprooted, and new commonness Upon the throne and crying about the streets And hanging its paper flowers from post to post, Because it is alone of all things happy. I am contented for I know that Quiet Wanders laughing and eating her wild heart Among pigeons and bees, while that Great Archer, Who but awaits His hour to shoot, still hangs A cloudy quiver over Parc na Lee.

August, 1902.

THE OLD AGE OF QUEEN MAEVE.

Maeve the great queen was pacing to and fro, Between the walls covered with beaten bronze, In her high house at Cruachan; the long hearth, Flickering with ash and hazel, but half showed Where the tired horse boys lay upon the rushes, Or on the benches underneath the walls, In comfortable sleep; all living slept But that great queen, who more than half the night Had paced from door to fire and fire to door. Though now in her old age, in her young age She had been beautiful in that old way That's all but gone; for the proud heart is gone And the fool heart of the counting house fears all But soft beauty and indolent desire. She could have called over the rim of the world Whatever woman's lover had hit her fancy, And yet had been great bodied and great limbed, Fashioned to be the mother of strong children; And she'd had lucky eyes and a high heart, And wisdom that caught fire like the dried flax, At need, and made her beautiful and fierce, Sudden and laughing. O unquiet heart, Why do you praise another, praising her, As if there were no tale but your own tale Worth knitting to a measure of sweet sound? Have I not bid you tell of that great queen Who has been buried some two thousand years?

When night was at its deepest, a wild goose Cried from the porter's lodge, and with long clamour Shook the ale horns and shields upon their hooks; But the horse boys slept on, as though some power Had filled the house with Druid heaviness; And wondering who of the many changing Sidhe Had come as in the old times to counsel her, Maeve walked, yet with slow footfall being old, To that small chamber by the outer gate. The porter slept although he sat upright With still and stony limbs and open eyes. Maeve waited, and when that ear piercing noise Broke from his parted lips and broke again, She laid a hand on either of his shoulders, And shook him wide awake, and bid him say Who of the wandering many changing ones Had troubled his sleep. But all he had to say Was that, the air being heavy and the dogs More still than they had been for a good month, He had fallen asleep, and, though he had dreamed nothing, He could remember when he had had fine dreams. It was before the time of the great war Over the White Horned Bull, and the Brown Bull.

She turned away; he turned again to sleep That no god troubled now, and, wondering What matters were afoot among the Sidhe, Maeve walked through that great hall, and with a sigh Lifted the curtain of her sleeping room, Remembering that she too had seemed divine To many thousand eyes, and to her own One that the generations had long waited That work too difficult for mortal hands Might be accomplished... Continue reading book >>




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