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Thread: In The Seven Woods

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    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    In The Seven Woods

    IN THE SEVEN WOODS
    Being Poems Chiefly of the
    Irish Heroic Age
    by W. B. YEATS
    [1903]

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------In the Seven Woods

    I have heard the pigeons of the Seven Woods
    Make their faint thunder, and the garden bees
    Hum in the lime tree flowers; and put away
    The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness
    That empty the heart. I have forgot awhile
    Tara uprooted, and new commonness
    Upon the throne and crying about the streets
    And hanging its paper flowers from post to post,
    Because it is alone of all things happy.
    I am contented for I know that Quiet
    Wanders laughing and eating her wild heart
    Among pigeons and bees, while that Great Archer,
    Who but awaits His hour to shoot, still hangs
    A cloudy quiver over Parc-na-Lee.
    Last edited by quasimodo1; 12-08-2007 at 10:15 PM.

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    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    The Old Age Of Queen Maeve.

    THE OLD AGE OF QUEEN MAEVE.
    Maeve the great queen was pacing to and fro,
    Between the walls covered with beaten bronze,
    In her high house at Cruachan; the long hearth,
    Flickering with ash and hazel, but half showed
    Where the tired horse-boys lay upon the rushes,
    Or on the benches underneath the walls,
    In comfortable sleep; all living slept
    But that great queen, who more than half the night
    Had paced from door to fire and fire to door.
    Though now in her old age, in her young age
    She had been beautiful in that old way
    That's all but gone; for the proud heart is gone
    And the fool heart of the counting-house fears all
    But soft beauty and indolent desire.
    She could have called over the rim of the world
    Whatever woman's lover had hit her fancy,
    And yet had been great bodied and great limbed,
    Fashioned to be the mother of strong children;
    And she'd had lucky eyes and a high heart,
    And wisdom that caught fire like the dried flax, p. 3
    At need, and made her beautiful and fierce,
    Sudden and laughing.
    O unquiet heart,
    Why do you praise another, praising her,
    As if there were no tale but your own tale
    Worth knitting to a measure of sweet sound?
    Have I not bid you tell of that great queen
    Who has been buried some two thousand years?

    When night was at its deepest, a wild goose
    Cried from the porter's lodge, and with long clamour
    Shook the ale horns and shields upon their hooks;
    But the horse-boys slept on, as though some power
    Had filled the house with Druid heaviness;
    And wondering who of the many changing Sidhe
    Had come as in the old times to counsel her.,
    Maeve walked, yet with slow footfall being old,
    To that small chamber by the outer gate.
    The porter slept although he sat upright
    With still and stony limbs and open eyes.
    Maeve waited, and when that ear-piercing noise p. 4
    Broke from his parted lips and broke again,
    She laid a hand on either of his shoulders,
    And shook him wide awake, and bid him say
    Who of the wandering many-changing ones
    Had troubled his sleep. But all he had to say
    Was that, the air being heavy and the dogs
    More still than they had been for a good month,
    He had fallen asleep, and, though he had dreamed nothing,
    He could remember when he had had fine dreams.
    It was before the time of the great war
    Over the White-Horned Bull, and the Brown Bull.

    She turned away; he turned again to sleep
    That no god troubled now, and, wondering
    What matters were afoot among the Sidhe,
    Maeve walked through that great hall, and with a sigh
    Lifted the curtain of her sleeping room,
    Remembering that she too had seemed divine
    To many thousand eyes, and to her own p. 5
    One that the generations had long-waited
    That work too difficult for mortal hands
    Might be accomplished. Bunching the curtain up
    She saw her husband Ailell sleeping there,
    And thought of days when he'd had a straight body,
    And of that famous Fergus, Nessa's husband,
    Who had been the lover of her middle life.

    Suddenly Ailell spoke out of his sleep,
    And not with his own voice or a man's voice,
    But with the burning, live, unshaken voice
    Of those that it may be can never age.
    He said, 'High Queen of Cruachan and Mag Ai
    A king of the Great Plain would speak with you.'
    And with glad voice Maeve answered him, 'What King
    Of the far wandering shadows has come to me?
    As in the old days when they would come and go
    About my threshold to counsel and to help.'
    The parted lips replied, 'I seek your help,
    For I am Aengus and I am crossed in love.' p. 6
    'How may a mortal whose life gutters out
    Help them that wander with hand clasping hand
    By rivers where nor rain nor hail has dimmed
    Their haughty images, that cannot fade
    Although their beauty's like a hollow dream.'

    'I come from the undimmed rivers to bid you call
    The children of the Maines out of sleep,
    And set them digging into Anbual's hill.
    We shadows, while they uproot his earthy house,
    Will overthrow his shadows and carry off
    Caer, his blue eyed daughter that I love.
    I helped your fathers when they built these walls
    And I would have your help in my great need,
    Queen of high Cruachan.'
    'I obey your will
    With speedy feet and a most thankful heart:
    For you have been, O Aengus of the birds,
    Our giver of good counsel and good luck.'
    And with a groan, as if the mortal breath
    Could but awaken sadly upon lips p. 7
    That happier breath had moved, her husband turned
    Face downward, tossing in a troubled sleep;
    But Maeve, and not with a slow feeble foot,
    Came to the threshold of the painted house,
    Where her grandchildren slept, and cried aloud,
    Until the pillared dark began to stir
    With shouting and the clang of unhooked arms.

    She told them of the many-changing ones;
    And all that night, and all through the next day
    To middle night, they dug into the hill.
    At middle night great cats with silver claws,
    Bodies of shadow and blind eyes like pearls,
    Came up out of the hole, and red-eared hounds
    With long white bodies came out of the air
    Suddenly, and ran at them and harried them.

    The Maines' children dropped their spades, and stood
    With quaking joints and terror strucken faces,
    Till Maeve called out, 'These are but common men. p. 8
    The Maines' children have not dropped their spades
    Because Earth crazy for its broken power
    Casts up a show and the winds answer it
    With holy shadows.' Her high heart was glad,
    And when the uproar ran along the grass
    She followed with light footfall in the midst,
    Till it died out where an old thorn tree stood.

    Friend of these many years, you too had stood
    With equal courage in that whirling rout;
    For you, although you've not her wandering heart,
    Have all that greatness, and not hers alone.
    For there is no high story about queens
    In any ancient book but tells of you,
    And when I've heard how they grew old and died
    Or fell into unhappiness I've said;
    'She will grow old and die and she has wept!'
    And when I'd write it out anew, the words,
    Half crazy with the thought, She too has wept!
    Outrun the measure. p. 9
    I'd tell of that great queen
    Who stood amid a silence by the thorn
    Until two lovers came out of the air
    With bodies made out of soft fire. The one
    About whose face birds wagged their fiery wings
    Said, 'Aengus and his sweetheart give their thanks
    To Maeve and to Maeve's household, owing all
    In owing them the bride-bed that gives peace.'
    Then Maeve, 'O Aengus, Master of all lovers,
    A thousand years ago you held high talk
    With the first kings of many pillared Cruachan.
    O when will you grow weary.'
    They had vanished,
    But out of the dark air over her head there came
    A murmur of soft words and meeting lips. by W. B. YEATS

  3. #3
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    W.B.Yeats

    The Folly of being Comforted




    One that is ever kind said yesterday:
    „Your well-belovèd's hair has threads of grey,
    And little shadows come about her eyes;
    Time can but make it easier to be wise
    5 Though now it seems impossible, and so
    All that you need is patience.“
    Heart cries, „No,
    I have not a crumb of comfort, not a grain.
    Time can but make her beauty over again:
    10 Because of that great nobleness of hers
    The fire that stirs about her, when she stirs,
    Burns but more clearly. O she had not these ways
    When all the wild summer was in her gaze.“

    O heart! O heart! if she'd but turn her head,
    15 You'd know the folly of being comforted.
    {from "In the Seven Woods"}

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    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    In The Seven Woods

    NEVER GIVE ALL THE HEART

    NEVER give all the heart, for love
    Will hardly seem worth thinking of
    To passionate women if it seem
    Certain, and they never dream
    That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
    For everything that's lovely is
    But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
    O never give the heart outright,
    For they, for all smooth lips can say,
    Have given their hearts up to the play.
    And who could play it well enough
    If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
    He that made this knows all the cost,
    For he gave all his heart and lost.

    William Butler Yeats

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    In The Seven Woods

    O DO NOT LOVE TOO LONG

    SWEETHEART, do not love too long:
    I loved long and long,
    And grew to be out of fashion
    Like an old song.

    All through the years of our youth
    Neither could have known
    Their own thought from the other's,
    We were so much at one.

    But O, in a minute she changed --
    O do not love too long,
    Or you will grow out of fashion
    Like an old song.

    W.B.Yeats

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    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    Quick question, I've always wondered what is the appropriate pronunication of
    "Maeve"?

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    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    To AuntShecky: There are apparently more than one pronunciation for the names "Maeve" and "Meghdh" and "Mebdh", the latter as in Megdh McGukian, a prolific and highly rated women poet from Ireland who writes in both English and Gaelic. This site might help with the various pronunciations...http://www.hranajanto.com/goddessgallery/maeve.html Hope this is helpfull. quasimodo1

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    In The Seven Woods

    RED HANRAHAN'S SONG ABOUT IRELAND

    THE old brown thorn-trees break in two high over Cummen Strand,
    Under a bitter black wind that blows from the left hand;
    Our courage breaks like an old tree in a black wind and dies,
    But we have hidden in our hearts the flame out of the eyes
    Of Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan.

    The wind has bundled up the clouds high over Knock- narea,
    And thrown the thunder on the stones for all that Maeve can say.
    Angers that are like noisy clouds have set our hearts abeat;
    But we have all bent low and low and kissed the quiet feet
    Of Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan.

    The yellow pool has overflowed high up on Clooth-na-Bare,
    For the wet winds are blowing out of the clinging air;
    Like heavy flooded waters our bodies and our blood;
    But purer than a tall candle before the Holy Rood
    Is Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan. {by William Butler Yeats}

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    Ditsy Pixie Niamh's Avatar
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    there is only one pronunciation of Meave but several spellings of the name. Pronounced May-v
    "Come away O human child!To the waters of the wild, With a faery hand in hand, For the worlds more full of weeping than you can understand."
    W.B.Yeats

    "If it looks like a Dwarf and smells like a Dwarf, then it's probably a Dwarf (or a latrine wearing dungarees)"
    Artemins Fowl and the Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer


    my poems-please comment Forum Rules

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    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Thank you Niamh for the clarification. quasi

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    In The Seven Woods

    UNDER THE MOON

    I HAVE no happiness in dreaming of Brycelinde,
    Nor Avalon the grass-green hollow, nor Joyous Isle,
    Where one found Lancelot crazed and hid him for a while;
    Nor Uladh, when Naoise had thrown a sail upon the wind;
    Nor lands that seem too dim to be burdens on the heart:
    Land-under-Wave, where out of the moon's light and the sun's
    Seven old sisters wind the threads of the long-lived ones,
    Land-of-the-Tower, where Aengus has thrown the gates apart,
    And Wood-of-Wonders, where one kills an ox at dawn,
    To find it when night falls laid on a golden bier.
    Therein are many queens like Branwen and Guinevere;
    And Niamh and Laban and Fand, who could change to an otter or fawn,
    And the wood-woman, whose lover was changed to a blue-eyed hawk;
    And whether I go in my dreams by woodland, or dun, or shore,
    Or on the unpeopled waves with kings to pull at the oar,
    I hear the harp-string praise them, or hear their mournful talk.
    Because of something told under the famished horn
    Of the hunter's moon, that hung between the night and the day,
    To dream of women whose beauty was folded in dismay,
    Even in an old story, is a burden not to be borne.

    {by William Butler Yeats}

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    In The Seven Woods

    The Old Men admiring Themselves in the Water




    I heard the old, old men say,
    „Everything alters,
    And one by one we drop away.“
    They had hands like claws, and their knees
    5 Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
    By the waters.
    I heard the old, old men say,
    „All that's beautiful drifts away
    Like the waters.“
    {by William Butler Yeats}

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    In The Seven Woods

    THE RAGGED WOOD

    O HURRY where by water among the trees
    The delicate-stepping stag and his lady sigh,
    When they have but looked upon their images --
    Would none had ever loved but you and I!

    Or have you heard that sliding silver-shoed
    Pale silver-proud queen-woman of the sky,
    When the sun looked out of his golden hood? --
    O that none ever loved but you and I!

    O hurry to the ragged wood, for there
    I will drive all those lovers out and cry --
    O my share of the world, O yellow hair!
    No one has ever loved but you and I.

    {by William Butler Yeats}

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    In The Seven Woods

    ADAM'S CURSE

    WE sat together at one summer's end,
    That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
    And you and I, and talked of poetry.
    I said, 'A line will take us hours maybe;
    Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
    Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
    Better go down upon your marrow-bones
    And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
    Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
    For to articulate sweet sounds together
    Is to work harder than all these, and yet
    Be thought an idler by the noisy set
    Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
    The martyrs call the world.'

    And thereupon
    That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
    There's many a one shall find out all heartache
    On finding that her voice is sweet and low
    Replied, 'To be born woman is to know --
    Although they do not talk of it at school --
    That we must labour to be beautiful.'

    I said, 'It's certain there is no fine thing
    Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.
    There have been lovers who thought love should be
    So much compounded of high courtesy
    That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
    precedents out of beautiful old books;
    Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.'

    We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
    We saw the last embers of daylight die,
    And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
    A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
    Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell
    About the stars and broke in days and years.

    I had a thought for no one's but your ears:
    That you were beautiful, and that I strove
    To love you in the old high way of love;
    That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown
    As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.

    {by William Butler Yeats}

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    In The Seven Woods

    THE HAPPY TOWNLAND

    THERE'S many a strong farmer
    Whose heart would break in two,
    If he could see the townland
    That we are riding to;
    Boughs have their fruit and blossom
    At all times of the year;
    Rivers are running over
    With red beer and brown beer.
    An old man plays the bagpipes
    In a golden and silver wood;
    Queens, their eyes blue like the ice,
    Are dancing in a crowd.

    i{The little fox he murmured,}
    i{'O what of the world's bane?'}
    i{The sun was laughing sweetly,}
    i{The moon plucked at my rein;}
    i{But the little red fox murmured,}
    i{'O do not pluck at his rein,}
    i{He is riding to the townland}
    i{That is the world's bane.'}

    When their hearts are so high
    That they would come to blows,
    They unhook their heavy swords
    From golden and silver boughs;
    But all that are killed in battle
    Awaken to life again.
    It is lucky that their story
    Is not known among men,
    For O, the strong farmers
    That would let the spade lie,
    Their hearts would be like a cup
    That somebody had drunk dry.

    i{The little fox he murmured,}
    i{'O what of the world's bane?'}
    i{The sun was laughing sweetly,}
    i{The moon plucked at my rein;}
    i{But the little red fox murmured,}
    i{'O do not pluck at his rein,}
    i{He is riding to the townland}
    i{That is the world's bane.'}

    Michael will unhook his trumpet
    From a bough overhead,
    And blow a little noise
    When the supper has been spread.
    Gabriel will come from the water
    With a fish-tail, and talk
    Of wonders that have happened
    On wet roads where men walk.
    And lift up an old horn
    Of hammered silver, and drink
    Till he has fallen asleep
    Upon the starry brink.

    i{The little fox he murmured,}
    i{'O what of the world's bane?'}
    i{The sun was laughing sweetly,}
    i{The moon plucked at my rein;}
    i{But the little red fox murmured.}
    i{'O do not pluck at his rein,}
    i{He is riding to the townland}
    i{That is the world's bane.'}

    [by William Butler Yeats]

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