William Butler Yeats

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

Brown Penny


I WHISPERED, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001
Edited: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

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  • Allison McDowell (7/31/2009 9:29:00 AM)

    i loved Must Love Dogs. it was hillarious. this poem is veryenlightning to the heart and soul. i love this poem (Report) Reply

  • David Musser (8/2/2005 2:02:00 PM)

    'Brown Penny' is performed/read aloud in the new movie Must Love Dogs. It is recited by the father at a family gathering, but he seemed to intend it specifically for his daughter (the main character) who was searching for love (with much frustration) .

    This poem is beautiful in many ways. Unfortunately, it is not listed in most anthologies that include Yeats. (Report) Reply

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