William Butler Yeats

(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939 / County Dublin / Ireland)

A Man Young And Old: I. First Love


Though nurtured like the sailing moon
In beauty's murderous brood,
She walked awhile and blushed awhile
And on my pathway stood
Until I thought her body bore
A heart of flesh and blood.

But since I laid a hand thereon
And found a heart of stone
I have attempted many things
And not a thing is done,
For every hand is lunatic
That travels on the moon.

She smiled and that transfigured me
And left me but a lout,
Maundering here, and maundering there,
Emptier of thought
Than the heavenly circuit of its stars
When the moon sails out.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about this poem (A Man Young And Old: I. First Love by William Butler Yeats )

  • Rookie Byron Barsamian (7/30/2013 1:43:00 AM)

    fickle and unthoughtful return of love. Proves that love is often unrequited. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Andrew Hoellering (12/15/2009 3:27:00 AM)

    After a magical opening, Yeats describes La Belle Dame sans Merci who soaks up affection, offering nothing in return.
    The moon image is carried throughout the poem, and it works because it reflects the light of the sun.
    'I have attempted many things/And not a thing is done' is a perfect expression of the stunning effect that love can have (I speak from experience!) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mel Vincent Basconcillo (4/30/2009 2:06:00 AM)

    this is truly a classic! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Faten Mohamad (8/28/2007 1:36:00 PM)

    In fact it is a very wonderful poem that is full of many different feeling.by describing the woman who love. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ruby Root (7/10/2006 9:32:00 PM)

    This was interesting he was not very lucky with his love. He is a writer with refinement and is cultivating. Excellent write. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

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