William Butler Yeats

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

Brown Penny

Poem by William Butler Yeats

I WHISPERED, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.


Comments about Brown Penny by William Butler Yeats

  • Terry Dawson (3/22/2020 5:02:00 PM)

    A beautiful poem and read with such feeling for the benefit of his daughter.(Report)Reply

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  • Gregory (11/19/2019 3:41:00 AM)

    I like to think of Penny as a girl rather than a coin. Mostly I like what it does to the line " wherefore I threw a Penny, to find out if I might love." :)(Report)Reply

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  • Joann Moran (6/8/2019 5:05:00 AM)

    This poem was quoted frequently on the soap opera One Life to Live in the 90s I believe.(Report)Reply

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  • clodagh higgins (3/28/2019 9:55:00 AM)

    how lond does it take for u to stop annoying me(Report)Reply

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  • Fabrizio FrosiniFabrizio Frosini (5/31/2016 10:05:00 AM)

    'Go and love, go and love, young man,
    If the lady be young and fair.'
    Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
    I am looped in the loops of her hair.

    - in Italian:

    ' Va' e ama.. va' e ama.. ragazzo,
    Se la ragazza è giovane e bella '.
    Ah, monetina.. monetina bronzea.. monetina bronzea,
    Sono rimasto imbrigliato nelle anse dei suoi capelli.(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Fabrizio FrosiniFabrizio Frosini (5/31/2016 9:56:00 AM)

    'Go and love, go and love, young man,
    If the lady be young and fair.'
    Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
    I am looped in the loops of her hair.

    lovely lines.. Memories from a far past, when as a kid, I played with a similar coin.. :)(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Elisha Wilson (1/13/2015 3:43:00 PM)

    Nice Piece from Sir Yeats!(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Robert Henry (3/30/2012 9:00:00 PM)

    I love this poem, heard it for the first time this week.(Report)Reply

    24 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Menchie Nolasco (1/5/2010 12:07:00 AM)

    lovely, lovely poem. i heard it first from christopher plummer in Must Love Dogs.(Report)Reply

    34 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • Allison McDowell (7/31/2009 9:29:00 AM)

    i loved Must Love Dogs. it was hillarious. this poem is veryenlightning to the heart and soul. i love this poem(Report)Reply

    21 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • David Musser (8/2/2005 2:02:00 PM)

    'Brown Penny' is performed/read aloud in the new movie Must Love Dogs. It is recited by the father at a family gathering, but he seemed to intend it specifically for his daughter (the main character) who was searching for love (with much frustration) .

    This poem is beautiful in many ways. Unfortunately, it is not listed in most anthologies that include Yeats.(Report)Reply

    24 person liked.
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Read poems about / on: hair, moon, love, running, star



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Poem Edited: Tuesday, May 15, 2001