File:William Butler Yeat by George Charles Beresford.jpg
Yeats [by George Charles Beresford, 1911]


King and No King
by William Butler Yeats

from The Green Helmet and Other Poems  [Dundrum: Cuala Press, 1910]

Would it were anything but merely voice!’
The No King cried who after that was King,
Because he had not heard of anything
That balanced with a word is more than noise;
Yet Old Romance being kind, let him prevail
Somewhere or somehow that I have forgot,
Though he’d but cannon — Whereas we that had thought
To have lit upon as clean and sweet a tale
Have been defeated by that pledge you gave
In momentary anger long ago;
And I that have not your faith, how shall I know
That in the blinding light beyond the grave
We’ll find so good a thing as that we have lost?
The hourly kindness, the day’s common speech,
The habitual content of each with each
Men neither soul nor body has been crossed.
 

 


* * * * *

To read more Yeats in the Online Library, please click here.

Advertisements