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The Secret Rose   By: (1865-1939)

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THE SECRET ROSE:

BY

W.B. YEATS

THE SECRET ROSE:

DEDICATION TO A.E. TO THE SECRET ROSE THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE OUTCAST OUT OF THE ROSE THE WISDOM OF THE KING THE HEART OF THE SPRING THE CURSE OF THE FIRES AND OF THE SHADOWS THE OLD MEN OF THE TWILIGHT WHERE THERE IS NOTHING, THERE IS GOD OF COSTELLO THE PROUD, OF OONA THE DAUGHTER OF DERMOTT, AND OF THE BITTER TONGUE

As for living, our servants will do that for us. Villiers de L'Isle Adam.

Helen, when she looked in her mirror, seeing the withered wrinkles made in her face by old age, wept, and wondered why she had twice been carried away. Leonardo da Vinci .

My dear A.E. I dedicate this book to you because, whether you think it well or ill written, you will sympathize with the sorrows and the ecstasies of its personages, perhaps even more than I do myself. Although I wrote these stories at different times and in different manners, and without any definite plan, they have but one subject, the war of spiritual with natural order; and how can I dedicate such a book to anyone but to you, the one poet of modern Ireland who has moulded a spiritual ecstasy into verse? My friends in Ireland sometimes ask me when I am going to write a really national poem or romance, and by a national poem or romance I understand them to mean a poem or romance founded upon some famous moment of Irish history, and built up out of the thoughts and feelings which move the greater number of patriotic Irishmen. I on the other hand believe that poetry and romance cannot be made by the most conscientious study of famous moments and of the thoughts and feelings of others, but only by looking into that little, infinite, faltering, eternal flame that we call ourselves. If a writer wishes to interest a certain people among whom he has grown up, or fancies he has a duty towards them, he may choose for the symbols of his art their legends, their history, their beliefs, their opinions, because he has a right to choose among things less than himself, but he cannot choose among the substances of art. So far, however, as this book is visionary it is Irish for Ireland, which is still predominantly Celtic, has preserved with some less excellent things a gift of vision, which has died out among more hurried and more successful nations: no shining candelabra have prevented us from looking into the darkness, and when one looks into the darkness there is always something there.

W.B. YEATS.

TO THE SECRET ROSE

Far off, most secret, and inviolate Rose, Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those Who sought thee at the Holy Sepulchre, Or in the wine vat, dwell beyond the stir And tumult of defeated dreams; and deep Among pale eyelids heavy with the sleep Men have named beauty. Your great leaves enfold The ancient beards, the helms of ruby and gold Of the crowned Magi; and the king whose eyes Saw the Pierced Hands and Rood of Elder rise In druid vapour and make the torches dim; Till vain frenzy awoke and he died; and him Who met Fand walking among flaming dew, By a grey shore where the wind never blew, And lost the world and Emir for a kiss; And him who drove the gods out of their liss And till a hundred morns had flowered red Feasted, and wept the barrows of his dead; And the proud dreaming king who flung the crown And sorrow away, and calling bard and clown Dwelt among wine stained wanderers in deep woods; And him who sold tillage and house and goods, And sought through lands and islands numberless years Until he found with laughter and with tears A woman of so shining loveliness That men threshed corn at midnight by a tress, A little stolen tress. I too await The hour of thy great wind of love and hate. When shall the stars be blown about the sky, Like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die? Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows, Far off, most secret, and inviolate Rose?

THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE OUTCAST... Continue reading book >>




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