File:William Butler Yeat by George Charles Beresford.jpg
Yeats [by George Charles Beresford, 1911]
The Players Ask for a Blessing on the Psalteries and on Themselves
by William Butler Yeats

from In the Seven Woods (1904)

Three Voices [together]:

Hurry to bless the hands that play,
The mouths that speak, the notes and strings,
O masters of the glittering town!
O! lay the shrilly trumpet down,
Though drunken with the flags that sway
Over the ramparts and the towers,
And with the waving of your wings.

First Voice:

Maybe they linger by the way.
One gathers up his purple gown;
One leans and mutters by the wall–
He dreads the weight of mortal hours.

Second Voice:

O no, O no! they hurry down
Like plovers that have heard the call.

Third voice:

O kinsmen of the Three in One,
O kinsmen bless the hands that play.
The notes they waken shall live on
When all this heavy history’s done;
Our hands, our hands must ebb away.

Three Voices [together]:

The proud and careless notes live on
But bless our hands that ebb away.

* * * * *

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