Treasure Island

William Butler Yeats

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

The Three Beggars


i{"Though to my feathers in the wet,}
i{I have stood here from break of day.}
i{I have not found a thing to eat,}
i{For only rubbish comes my way.}
i{Am I to live on lebeen-lone?'}
i{Muttered the old crane of Gort.}
i{"For all my pains on lebeen-lone?'}
King Guaire walked amid his court
The palace-yard and river-side
And there to three old beggars said,
"You that have wandered far and wide
Can ravel out what's in my head.
Do men who least desire get most,
Or get the most who most desire?'
A beggar said, "They get the most
Whom man or devil cannot tire,
And what could make their muscles taut
Unless desire had made them so?'
But Guaire laughed with secret thought,
"If that be true as it seems true,
One of you three is a rich man,
For he shall have a thousand pounds
Who is first asleep, if but he can
Sleep before the third noon sounds."
And thereon, merry as a bird
With his old thoughts, King Guaire went
From river-side and palace-yard
And left them to their argument.
"And if I win,' one beggar said,
'Though I am old I shall persuade
A pretty girl to share my bed';
The second: "I shall learn a trade';
The third: "I'll hurry' to the course
Among the other gentlemen,
And lay it all upon a horse';
The second: "I have thought again:
A farmer has more dignity.'
One to another sighed and cried:
The exorbitant dreams of beggary.
That idleness had borne to pride,
Sang through their teeth from noon to noon;
And when the sccond twilight brought
The frenzy of the beggars' moon
None closed his blood-shot eyes but sought
To keep his fellows from their sleep;
All shouted till their anger grew
And they were whirling in a heap.
They mauled and bit the whole night through;
They mauled and bit till the day shone;
They mauled and bit through all that day
And till another night had gone,
Or if they made a moment's stay
They sat upon their heels to rail,,
And when old Guaire came and stood
Before the three to end this tale,
They were commingling lice and blood
"Time's up,' he cried, and all the three
With blood-shot eyes upon him stared.
"Time's up,' he eried, and all the three
Fell down upon the dust and snored.
<1"Maybe I shall be lucky yet,
Now they are silent,' said the crane.
"Though to my feathers in the wet
I've stood as I were made of stone
And seen the rubbish run about,
It's certain there are trout somewhere
And maybe I shall take a trout
but I do not seem to care.'>1

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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

Read poems about / on: river, anger, horse, sleep, pride, girl, moon, night, dream, running

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 (The Three Beggars by William Butler Yeats )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

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. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe

New Poems

  1. I Will Traverse This Winter Distance, mary douglas
  2. dress in purple, gordon nosworthy
  3. I've got my hair up in her hairstyle, Mark Heathcote
  4. Pornography of War, Steve Gregory
  5. Life, Tony Adah
  6. I Have Wandered In White Kingdoms, mary douglas
  7. Difference, Asit Kumar Sanyal
  8. Breaking, mary douglas
  9. Lost Of Ambition, Tony Adah
  10. Spelling The Things That Drift Away, mary douglas

Poem of the Day

poet Alfred Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]