William Butler Yeats

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

Brown Penny - Poem by William Butler Yeats

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.


Comments about Brown Penny by William Butler Yeats

  • Fabrizio Frosini (5/31/2016 10:05:00 AM)


    '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.

    - in Italian:

    ' Va' e ama.. va' e ama.. ragazzo,
    Se la ragazza è giovane e bella '.
    Ah, monetina.. monetina bronzea.. monetina bronzea,
    Sono rimasto imbrigliato nelle anse dei suoi capelli.
    (Report) Reply

    8 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Fabrizio Frosini (5/31/2016 9:56:00 AM)


    '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.

    lovely lines.. Memories from a far past, when as a kid, I played with a similar coin.. :)
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/13/2015 3:43:00 PM)


    Nice Piece from Sir Yeats! (Report) Reply

  • (3/30/2012 9:00:00 PM)


    I love this poem, heard it for the first time this week. (Report) Reply

  • (1/5/2010 12:07:00 AM)


    lovely, lovely poem. i heard it first from christopher plummer in Must Love Dogs. (Report) Reply

  • (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

  • (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

Read all 7 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: hair, moon, love, running, star



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Poem Edited: Tuesday, May 15, 2001


[Report Error]