William Butler Yeats

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

To A Friend Whose Work Has Come To Nothing


NOW all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honour bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbours' eyes?
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

Submitted: Thursday, May 17, 2001

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