Easter Poems - Poems For Easter
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Easter, 1916 - Poem by William Butler Yeats
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
A terrible beauty is born.
Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.
Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
Comments about Easter, 1916 by William Butler Yeats
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Rise, heart, thy lord is risen. Sing his praise Without delays, Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise With him may'st rise: That, as his death calcinèd thee to dust, His life may make thee gold, and, much more, just. Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part With all thy art, The cross taught all wood to resound his name Who bore the same. His stretchèd sinews taught all strings what key Is best to celebrate this most high day. Consort, both heart and lute, and twist a song Pleasant and long; Or, since all music is but three parts vied And multiplied Oh let thy blessèd Spirit bear a part, And make up our defects with his sweet art.
Lord, Who createdst man in wealth and store, Though foolishly he lost the same, Decaying more and more, Till he became Most poore: With Thee O let me rise, As larks, harmoniously, And sing this day Thy victories: Then shall the fall further the flight in me. My tender age in sorrow did beginne; And still with sicknesses and shame Thou didst so punish sinne, That I became Most thinne. With Thee Let me combine, And feel this day Thy victorie; For, if I imp my wing on Thine, Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
MOST glorious Lord of Lyfe! that, on this day, Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin; And, having harrowd hell, didst bring away Captivity thence captive, us to win: This joyous day, deare Lord, with joy begin; And grant that we, for whom thou diddest dye, Being with Thy deare blood clene washt from sin, May live for ever in felicity! And that Thy love we weighing worthily, May likewise love Thee for the same againe; And for Thy sake, that all lyke deare didst buy, With love may one another entertayne! So let us love, deare Love, lyke as we ought, --Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.
Pure fasted faces draw unto this feast: God comes all sweetness to your Lenten lips. You striped in secret with breath-taking whips, Those crooked rough-scored chequers may be pieced To crosses meant for Jesu's; you whom the East With draught of thin and pursuant cold so nips Breathe Easter now; you serged fellowships, You vigil-keepers with low flames decreased, God shall o'er-brim the measures you have spent With oil of gladness, for sackcloth and frieze And the ever-fretting shirt of punishment Give myrrhy-threaded golden folds of ease. Your scarce-sheathed bones are weary of being bent: Lo, God shall strengthen all the feeble knees.