Post more comments
Want a gift card for being active Forum member? Post comments and win $25 gift card every week.
Rules:
PoemHunter.com will be giving away Amazon.com gift cards (worth $75 in total) every week to first three members ($25 each) who participate most in our forum discussions. You just have to post comments on forum pages, poet pages or poem pages anywhere inside PoemHunter.com
Comments posted needs to be in different pages. Posting more than 1 comment on the same page will only be counted once.
Members can not post comments without being logged in.
PoemHunter.com has the right to cancel or edit this contest.
PoemHunter.com has a right to disqualify or ban member(s) without providing any type of reason, belief or proof in regards to any type of illegal activity or fraud.

William Butler Yeats

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

Nineteen Hundred And Nineteen


MANY ingenious lovely things are gone
That seemed sheer miracle to the multitude,
protected from the circle of the moon
That pitches common things about. There stood
Amid the ornamental bronze and stone
An ancient image made of olive wood --
And gone are phidias' famous ivories
And all the golden grasshoppers and bees.
We too had many pretty toys when young:
A law indifferent to blame or praise,
To bribe or threat; habits that made old wrong
Melt down, as it were wax in the sun's rays;
Public opinion ripening for so long
We thought it would outlive all future days.
O what fine thought we had because we thought
That the worst rogues and rascals had died out.
All teeth were drawn, all ancient tricks unlearned,
And a great army but a showy thing;
What matter that no cannon had been turned
Into a ploughshare? Parliament and king
Thought that unless a little powder burned
The trumpeters might burst with trumpeting
And yet it lack all glory; and perchance
The guardsmen's drowsy chargers would not prance.
Now days are dragon-ridden, the nightmare
Rides upon sleep: a drunken soldiery
Can leave the mother, murdered at her door,
To crawl in her own blood, and go scot-free;
The night can sweat with terror as before
We pieced our thoughts into philosophy,
And planned to bring the world under a rule,
Who are but weasels fighting in a hole.
He who can read the signs nor sink unmanned
Into the half-deceit of some intoxicant
From shallow wits; who knows no work can stand,
Whether health, wealth or peace of mind were spent
On master-work of intellect or hand,
No honour leave its mighty monument,
Has but one comfort left: all triumph would
But break upon his ghostly solitude.
But is there any comfort to be found?
Man is in love and loves what vanishes,
What more is there to say? That country round
None dared admit, if Such a thought were his,
Incendiary or bigot could be found
To burn that stump on the Acropolis,
Or break in bits the famous ivories
Or traffic in the grasshoppers or bees.
When Loie Fuller's Chinese dancers enwound
A shining web, a floating ribbon of cloth,
It seemed that a dragon of air
Had fallen among dancers, had whirled them round
Or hurried them off on its own furious path;
So the platonic Year
Whirls out new right and wrong,
Whirls in the old instead;
All men are dancers and their tread
Goes to the barbarous clangour of a gong.
III
Some moralist or mythological poet
Compares the solitary soul to a swan;
I am satisfied with that,
Satisfied if a troubled mirror show it,
Before that brief gleam of its life be gone,
An image of its state;
The wings half spread for flight,
The breast thrust out in pride
Whether to play, or to ride
Those winds that clamour of approaching night.
A man in his own secret meditation
Is lost amid the labyrinth that he has made
In art or politics;
Some platonist affirms that in the station
Where we should cast off body and trade
The ancient habit sticks,
And that if our works could
But vanish with our breath
That were a lucky death,
For triumph can but mar our solitude.
The swan has leaped into the desolate heaven:
That image can bring wildness, bring a rage
To end all things, to end
What my laborious life imagined, even
The half-imagined, the half-written page;
O but we dreamed to mend
Whatever mischief seemed
To afflict mankind, but now
That winds of winter blow
Learn that we were crack-pated when we dreamed.
We, who seven yeats ago
Talked of honour and of truth,
Shriek with pleasure if we show
The weasel's twist, the weasel's tooth.
Come let us mock at the great
That had such burdens on the mind
And toiled so hard and late
To leave some monument behind,
Nor thought of the levelling wind.
Come let us mock at the wise;
With all those calendars whereon
They fixed old aching eyes,
They never saw how seasons run,
And now but gape at the sun.
Come let us mock at the good
That fancied goodness might be gay,
And sick of solitude
Might proclaim a holiday:
Wind shrieked -- and where are they?
Mock mockers after that
That would not lift a hand maybe
To help good, wise or great
To bar that foul storm out, for we
Traffic in mockery.
Violence upon the roads: violence of horses;
Some few have handsome riders, are garlanded
On delicate sensitive ear or tossing mane,
But wearied running round and round in their courses
All break and vanish, and evil gathers head:
Herodias' daughters have returned again,
A sudden blast of dusty wind and after
Thunder of feet, tumult of images,
Their purpose in the labyrinth of the wind;
And should some crazy hand dare touch a daughter
All turn with amorous cries, or angry cries,
According to the wind, for all are blind.
But now wind drops, dust settles; thereupon
There lurches past, his great eyes without thought
Under the shadow of stupid straw-pale locks,
That insolent fiend Robert Artisson
To whom the love-lorn Lady Kyteler brought
Bronzed peacock feathers, red combs of her cocks.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: solitude, wind, work, crazy, daughter, mirror, running, sick, evil, future, pride, sun, winter, truth, peace, moon, mother, red, sleep, lost

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?

Comments about this poem (Nineteen Hundred And Nineteen by William Butler Yeats )

Enter the verification code :

  • Mehrdad Kermani (3/18/2013 8:40:00 AM)

    Correct way the poem should be formatted:

    NINETEEN HUNDRED AND NINETEEN

    I.
    MANY ingenious lovely things are gone
    That seemed sheer miracle to the multitude,
    protected from the circle of the moon
    That pitches common things about. There stood
    Amid the ornamental bronze and stone
    An ancient image made of olive wood -
    And gone are Phidias' famous ivories
    And all the golden grasshoppers and bees.

    We too had many pretty toys when young:
    A law indifferent to blame or praise,
    To bribe or threat; habits that made old wrong
    Melt down, as it were wax in the sun's rays;
    Public opinion ripening for so long
    We thought it would outlive all future days.
    O what fine thought we had because we thought
    That the worst rogues and rascals had died out.

    All teeth were drawn, all ancient tricks unlearned,
    And a great army but a showy thing;
    What matter that no cannon had been turned
    Into a ploughshare? Parliament and king
    Thought that unless a little powder burned
    The trumpeters might burst with trumpeting
    And yet it lack all glory; and perchance
    The guardsmen's drowsy chargers would not prance.

    Now days are dragon-ridden, the nightmare
    Rides upon sleep: a drunken soldiery
    Can leave the mother, murdered at her door,
    To crawl in her own blood, and go scot-free;
    The night can sweat with terror as before
    We pieced our thoughts into philosophy,
    And planned to bring the world under a rule,
    Who are but weasels fighting in a hole.

    He who can read the signs nor sink unmanned
    Into the half-deceit of some intoxicant
    From shallow wits; who knows no work can stand,
    Whether health, wealth or peace of mind were spent
    On master-work of intellect or hand,
    No honour leave its mighty monument,
    Has but one comfort left: all triumph would
    But break upon his ghostly solitude.

    But is there any comfort to be found?
    Man is in love and loves what vanishes,
    What more is there to say? That country round
    None dared admit, if Such a thought were his,
    Incendiary or bigot could be found
    To burn that stump on the Acropolis,
    Or break in bits the famous ivories
    Or traffic in the grasshoppers or bees.


    II.
    When Loie Fuller's Chinese dancers enwound
    A shining web, a floating ribbon of cloth,
    It seemed that a dragon of air
    Had fallen among dancers, had whirled them round
    Or hurried them off on its own furious path;
    So the platonic Year
    Whirls out new right and wrong,
    Whirls in the old instead;
    All men are dancers and their tread
    Goes to the barbarous clangour of a gong.


    III
    Some moralist or mythological poet
    Compares the solitary soul to a swan;
    I am satisfied with that,
    Satisfied if a troubled mirror show it,
    Before that brief gleam of its life be gone,
    An image of its state;
    The wings half spread for flight,
    The breast thrust out in pride
    Whether to play, or to ride
    Those winds that clamour of approaching night.

    A man in his own secret meditation
    Is lost amid the labyrinth that he has made
    In art or politics;
    Some Platonist affirms that in the station
    Where we should cast off body and trade
    The ancient habit sticks,
    And that if our works could
    But vanish with our breath
    That were a lucky death,
    For triumph can but mar our solitude.

    The swan has leaped into the desolate heaven:
    That image can bring wildness, bring a rage
    To end all things, to end
    What my laborious life imagined, even
    The half-imagined, the half-written page;
    O but we dreamed to mend
    Whatever mischief seemed
    To afflict mankind, but now
    That winds of winter blow
    Learn that we were crack-pated when we dreamed.


    IV.
    We, who seven years ago
    Talked of honour and of truth,
    Shriek with pleasure if we show
    The weasel's twist, the weasel's tooth.


    V.
    Come let us mock at the great
    That had such burdens on the mind
    And toiled so hard and late
    To leave some monument behind,
    Nor thought of the levelling wind.

    Come let us mock at the wise;
    With all those calendars whereon
    They fixed old aching eyes,
    They never saw how seasons run,
    And now but gape at the sun.

    Come let us mock at the good
    That fancied goodness might be gay,
    And sick of solitude
    Might proclaim a holiday:
    Wind shrieked - and where are they?

    Mock mockers after that
    That would not lift a hand maybe
    To help good, wise or great
    To bar that foul storm out, for we
    Traffic in mockery.


    VI.
    Violence upon the roads: violence of horses;
    Some few have handsome riders, are garlanded
    On delicate sensitive ear or tossing mane,
    But wearied running round and round in their courses
    All break and vanish, and evil gathers head:
    Herodias' daughters have returned again,
    A sudden blast of dusty wind and after
    Thunder of feet, tumult of images,
    Their purpose in the labyrinth of the wind;
    And should some crazy hand dare touch a daughter
    All turn with amorous cries, or angry cries,
    According to the wind, for all are blind.
    But now wind drops, dust settles; thereupon
    There lurches past, his great eyes without thought
    Under the shadow of stupid straw-pale locks,
    That insolent fiend Robert Artisson
    To whom the love-lorn Lady Kyteler brought
    Bronzed peacock feathers, red combs of her cocks. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

New Poems

  1. Abs to Heart, Lonnie Hicks
  2. Better New Days, Rinji Kwarkas
  3. When KKK is Gay, Jack Abootydallah
  4. Oak Tree where The Black Birds Sleep, Lilly Emery
  5. Superman, Olusegun Akanbi
  6. الذبابة الزرقاء, Abdullah alHemaidy
  7. What, Olusegun Akanbi
  8. Pervola, Elia Michael
  9. RAMADAN رمضان, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  10. 'SNATCHING OF THE GOAT', guy lipmore

Poem of the Day

poet Robert William Service

Three times I had the lust to kill,
To clutch a throat so young and fair,
And squeeze with all my might until
No breath of being lingered there.
Three times I drove the demon out,
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]