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This Book


THE HOSTING OF THE SIDHE


The host is riding from Knocknarea,
And over the grave of Clooth-na-bare;
Caolte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling, "Away, come away;
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are a-gleam,
Our arms are waving, our lips are apart,
And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the deed of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart."
The host is rushing 'twixt night and day;
And where is there hope or deed as fair?
Caolte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling, "Away, come away."

THIS BOOK


I

I have desired, like every artist, to create a little world out of the
beautiful, pleasant, and significant things of this marred and clumsy
world, and to show in a vision something of the face of Ireland to any
of my own people who would look where I bid them. I have therefore
written down accurately and candidly much that I have heard and seen,
and, except by way of commentary, nothing that I have merely imagined.
I have, however, been at no pains to separate my own beliefs from those
of the peasantry, but have rather let my men and women, dhouls and
faeries, go their way unoffended or defended by any argument of mine.
The things a man has heard and seen are threads of life, and if he pull
them carefully from the confused distaff of memory, any who will can
weave them into whatever garments of belief please them best. I too
have woven my garment like another, but I shall try to keep warm in it,
and shall be well content if it do not unbecome me.

Hope and Memory have one daughter and her name is Art, and she has
built her dwelling far from the desperate field where men hang out
their garments upon forked boughs to be banners of battle. O beloved
daughter of Hope and Memory, be with me for a little.


1893.

II

I have added a few more chapters in the manner of the old ones, and
would have added others, but one loses, as one grows older, something
of the lightness of one's dreams; one begins to take life up in both
hands, and to care more for the fruit than the flower, and that is no
great loss per haps. In these new chapters, as in the old ones, I have
invented nothing but my comments and one or two deceitful sentences
that may keep some poor story-teller's commerce with the devil and his
angels, or the like, from being known among his neighbours. I shall
publish in a little while a big book about the commonwealth of faery,
and shall try to make it systematical and learned enough to buy pardon
for this handful of dreams.


1902.

W. B. YEATS.

William Butler Yeats