William Butler Yeats

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

A Song

Poem by William Butler Yeats

I THOUGHT no more was needed
Youth to polong
Than dumb-bell and foil
To keep the body young.

O who could have foretold
That thc heart grows old?

Though I have many words,
What woman's satisfied,
I am no longer faint
Because at her side?

O who could have foretold
That the heart grows old?

I have not lost desire
But the heart that I had;
I thOught 'twould burn my body
Laid on the death-bed,

For who could have foretold
That the heart grows old?


Comments about A Song by William Butler Yeats

  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (4/16/2018 11:45:00 AM)

    At her side! ! Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Nudershada CabanesNudershada Cabanes (4/16/2018 10:19:00 AM)

    For who could have foretold
    That the heart grows old?

    No one can foretell the future. Aging is an experience to be lived and enjoyed.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Savita TyagiSavita Tyagi (4/16/2018 9:05:00 AM)

    Life unfolds as we walk through it. None of forsee much though it has been there before us and would be there after us. What we experience is the only thing that matters.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Anil Kumar PandaAnil Kumar Panda (4/16/2018 7:39:00 AM)

    Everyone is going to be old and die. Nice poem. Enjoyed.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (4/16/2018 2:28:00 AM)

    It would burn the body at death bed but can't burn the soul. A beautiful poem shared. It is nice to be choosen POD.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Robert Murray SmithRobert Murray Smith (4/16/2018 2:18:00 AM)

    This poem has been presented with typographical errors. I am not pleased that this is so. The poem itself is second rate not worthy of this category.(Report)Reply

    Perdita YoungPerdita Young(4/16/2018 5:14:00 AM)

    Typos are eyesores to me.Agree with you in that it 's not a best from Yeats. Glad to read him here, though.

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (4/16/2018 1:52:00 AM)

    Such a great song by William Butler Yeats👍👍👍(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ruta MohapatraRuta Mohapatra (4/16/2018 1:51:00 AM)

    The last two lines are so memorable!(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik (4/16/2017 10:52:00 PM)

    who could have foretold
    that the heart grows old?
    Nice question.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Lantz PierreLantz Pierre (4/16/2017 7:58:00 AM)

    Andrew Hoellering's critique below is enlightening. It's refreshing to come across a comment on a poem here that actually has something to say. A comment that demonstrates the person read the poem, thought through it and even made connections with other texts. Critical thinking is a beautiful thing.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (4/16/2017 2:20:00 AM)

    Foretold! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (4/16/2017 1:05:00 AM)

    Many words... thanks for posting....(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Tapan M. SarenTapan M. Saren (4/16/2017 12:32:00 AM)

    A very nice song indeed...........(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Andrew Hoellering (12/14/2009 10:57:00 PM)

    There is an interesting contrast here with Thomas Hardy's great poem, 'I Look into my Mirror.'

    I LOOK into my glass,
    And view my wasting skin,
    And say, 'Would God it came to pass
    My heart had shrunk as thin! '

    For then, I, undistrest
    By hearts grown cold to me,
    Could lonely wait my endless rest
    With equanimity.

    But Time, to make me grieve,
    Part steals, lets part abide;
    And shakes this fragile frame at eve
    With throbbings of noontide.

    Yeats laments that the heart grows old, even though one keeps the body in shape.
    He still feels sexual desire, but regrets that he is unable to satisfy it in others.He in fact mourns the death of the heart, without specifying exactly where it lies.
    Hardy's poem is a complete contrast.Looking into his mirror, he objectively notes the destruction wrought by age and wishes that his capacity to feel had diminished alongside with his features.
    The second verse tells us that what hurts most is the falling off of affection towards him; the felt loss of love from those who mean most to him.
    He notes that bodily and emotional decrepitude - the capacity to feel and care –do not go hand in hand; one dies piecemeal.
    The ‘throbbings of noontide’ refers not just to memories but to this lasting capacity to feel and care.
    So much in three verses, using ballad form and a simple abab rhyme scheme, is itself a definition of genius.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 15 comments »

A Song Score Card

User Rating:
2,8 / 5 (44 votes)14



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?

Read poems about / on: woman, lost, death, heart, song, women



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Poem Edited: Tuesday, May 15, 2001


[Report Error]