William Butler Yeats
(For Harry Clifton)
I HAVE heard that hysterical women say
They are sick of the palette and fiddle-bow.
Of poets that are always gay,
For everybody knows or else should know
That if nothing drastic is done
Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out.
Pitch like King Billy bomb-balls in
Until the town lie beaten flat.
All perform their tragic play,
There struts Hamlet, there is Lear,
That's Ophelia, that Cordelia;
Yet they, should the last scene be there,
The great stage curtain about to drop,
If worthy their prominent part in the play,
Do not break up their lines to weep.
They know that Hamlet and Lear are gay;
Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
All men have aimed at, found and lost;
Black out; Heaven blazing into the head:
Tragedy wrought to its uttermost.
Though Hamlet rambles and Lear rages,
And all the drop-scenes drop at once
Upon a hundred thousand stages,
It cannot grow by an inch or an ounce.
On their own feet they came, or On shipboard,'
Camel-back; horse-back, ass-back, mule-back,
Old civilisations put to the sword.
Then they and their wisdom went to rack:
No handiwork of Callimachus,
Who handled marble as if it were bronze,
Made draperies that seemed to rise
When sea-wind swept the corner, stands;
His long lamp-chimney shaped like the stem
Of a slender palm, stood but a day;
All things fall and are built again,
And those that build them again are gay.
Two Chinamen, behind them a third,
Are carved in lapis lazuli,
Over them flies a long-legged bird,
A symbol of longevity;
The third, doubtless a serving-man,
Carries a musical instmment.
Every discoloration of the stone,
Every accidental crack or dent,
Seems a water-course or an avalanche,
Or lofty slope where it still snows
Though doubtless plum or cherry-branch
Sweetens the little half-way house
Those Chinamen climb towards, and I
Delight to imagine them seated there;
There, on the mountain and the sky,
On all the tragic scene they stare.
One asks for mournful melodies;
Accomplished fingers begin to play.
Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.
William Butler Yeats's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Lapis Lazuli by William Butler Yeats )
- MATHS; Mental Attack To Healthy Students?, Anishka Singh
- ಕುಮಾರ ರಗಳೆ, Deepak Malapur
- The Lion Tamer - Extract from Phantasmag.., Matthew Lawler
- The Joy Of Christmas, Joseph Ogbonna
- Fearsome route, gajanan mishra
- मीडिया, Priyanka Gupta
- The Daughter of the Earth - 19, gajanan mishra
- सीने में आग भरो, Aftab Alam
- Annoyance Generator, Christopher Withers
- The Lass Of Alberry, Julian Mann
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- A Psalm of Life, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- My Teacher, My Hero, Geneen Alyssa Meyers
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1886 - 1967)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
- Heather Burns
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631)