W. B. Yeats

William Butler Yeats  was een Ierse dichter, toneelschrijver en mysticus. Hij was ook een Iers senator in de 20er jaren. In 1923 won hij de Nobelprijs voor Literatuur. Aan het eind van de winter in 1938 verliet hij Ierland in slechte gezondheid. Hij overleed te Roquebrune, met uitzicht op Monaco, op 28 januari 1939, en werd daar begraven. In september 1948 werd zijn stoffelijk overschot naar Ierland gebracht en hij werd opnieuw begraven, nu op de begraafplaats van zijn grootvaders parochie in Drumcliff, county Sligo. Een steen met inscriptie zoals Yeats had aangegeven markeert de plaats: Cast a cold Eye; on Life, on Death. Horseman pass by!

The Second Coming  

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


O Do Not Love Too Long

SWEETHEART, do not love too long:
I loved long and long,
And grew to be out of fashion
Like an old song.
All through the years of our youth
Neither could have known
Their own thought from the other’s,
We were so much at one.
But O, in a minute she changed –
O do not love too long,
Or you will grow out of fashion
Like an old song.


No Second Troy

WHY should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great.
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?


William Butler Yeats (13 juni 1865 – 28 januari 1939)

Portret van Gavin Bloor.