William Butler Yeats

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

The Happy Townland


THERE'S many a strong farmer
Whose heart would break in two,
If he could see the townland
That we are riding to;
Boughs have their fruit and blossom
At all times of the year;
Rivers are running over
With red beer and brown beer.
An old man plays the bagpipes
In a golden and silver wood;
Queens, their eyes blue like the ice,
Are dancing in a crowd.
The little fox he murmured,
'O what of the world's bane?'
The sun was laughing sweetly,
The moon plucked at my rein;
But the little red fox murmured,
'O do not pluck at his rein,
He is riding to the townland
That is the world's bane.'
When their hearts are so high
That they would come to blows,
They unhook rheir heavy swords
From golden and silver boughs;
But all that are killed in battle
Awaken to life again.
It is lucky that their story
Is not known among men,
For O, the strong farmers
That would let the spade lie,
Their hearts would be like a cup
That somebody had drunk dry.
The little fox he murmured,
'O what of the world's bane?'
The sun was laughing sweetly,
The moon plucked at my rcin;
But the little red fox murmured,
'O do not pluck at his rein,
He is riding to the townland
That is the world's bane.'
Michael will unhook his trumpet
From a bough overhead,
And blow a little noise
When the supper has been spread.
Gabriel will come from the water
With a fish-tail, and talk
Of wonders that have happened
On wet roads where men walk.
And lift up an old horn
Of hammered silver, and drink
Till he has fallen asleep
Upon the starry brink.
The little fox he murmured,
'O what of the world's bane?'
The sun was laughing sweetly,
The moon plucked at my rein;
But the little red fox murmured.
'O do not pluck at his rein,
He is riding to the townland
That is the world's bane.'

Submitted: Thursday, May 17, 2001
Edited: Thursday, May 17, 2001

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