Yeats in Song


All words (in track list sequence)




‘I am of Ireland’ 

I am of Ireland, 

And the Holy Land of Ireland, 

And time runs on,’ cried she. 

‘Come out of charity, 

Come dance with me in Ireland.’ 


One man, one man alone 

In that outlandish gear, 

One solitary man 

Of all that rambled there 

Had turned his stately head. 

‘That is a long way off, 

And time runs on,’ he said, 

‘And the night grows rough. 


‘I am of Ireland, 

And the Holy Land of Ireland, 

And time runs on,’ cried she. 

‘Come out of charity 

And dance with me in Ireland,’ 


‘The fiddlers are all thumbs, 

Or the fiddle-string accursed, 

The drums and the kettledrums 

And the trumpets all are burst, 

And the trombone,’ cried he, 

‘The trumpet and trombone,’ 

And cocked a malicious eye, 

‘But time runs on, runs on.’ 


‘I am of Ireland, 

And the Holy Land of Ireland, 

And time runs on,’ cried she. 

‘Come out of charity 

And dance with me in Ireland. 




Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, 

Enwrought with golden and silver light, 

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths 

Of night and light and the half-light, 

I would spread the cloths under your feet: 

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; 

I have spread my dreams under your feet; 

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 




I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, 

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; 

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, 

And live alone in the bee-loud glade. 

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, 

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; 

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, 

And evening full of the linnet’s wings. 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day 

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, 

I hear it in the deep heart’s core. 




O cloud-pale eyelids, dream-dimmed eyes, 

The poets labouring all their days 

To build a perfect beauty in rhyme 

Are overthrown by a woman’s gaze 

And by the unlabouring brood of the skies: 

And therefore my heart will bow, when dew 

Is dropping sleep, until God burn time, 

Before the unlabouring stars and you. 




Autumn is over the long leaves that love us, 

And over the mice in the barley sheaves; 

Yellow the leaves of the rowan above us, 

And yellow the wet wild-strawberry leaves. 

The hour of the waning of love has beset us, 

And weary and worn are our sad souls now; 

Let us part, ere the season of passion forget us, 

With a kiss and a tear on thy drooping brow. 




The trees are in their autumn beauty, 

The woodland paths are dry, 

Under the October twilight the water 

Mirrors a still sky; 

Upon the brimming water among the stones 

Are nine-and-fifty swans. 

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me 

Since I first made my count; 

I saw, before I had well finished, 

All suddenly mount 

And scatter wheeling in great broken rings 

Upon their clamorous wings. 

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures, 

And now my heart is sore. 

All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight, 

The first time on this shore, 

The bell-beat of their wings above my head, 

Trod with a lighter tread. 


Unwearied still, lover by lover, 

They paddle in the cold 

Companionable streams or climb the air; 

Their hearts have not grown old; 

Passion or conquest, wander where they will, 

Attend upon them still. 

But now they drift on the still water, 

Mysterious, beautiful; 

Among what rushes will they build, 

By what lake’s edge or pool 

Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day 

To find they have flown away? 




I whispered, ‘I am too young,’ 

And then, ‘I am old enough’; 

Wherefore I threw a penny 

To find out if I might love. 

‘Go and love, go and love, young man, 

If the lady be young and fair.’ 

Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, 

I am looped in the loops of her hair. 

Oh love is the crooked thing, 

There is nobody wise enough 

To find out all that is in it, 

For he would be thinking of love 

Till the stars had run away 

And the shadows eaten the moon. 

Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, 

One cannot begin it too soon. 




I went out to the hazel wood, 

Because a fire was in my head, 

And cut and peeled a hazel wand, 

And hooked a berry to a thread; 

And when white moths were on the wing, 

And moth-like stars were flickering out, 

I dropped the berry in a stream 

And caught a little silver trout. 

When I had laid it on the floor 

I went to blow the fire aflame, 

But something rustled on the floor, 

And someone called me by my name: 

It had become a glimmering girl 

With apple blossom in her hair 

Who called me by my name and ran 

And faded through the brightening air. 


Though I am old with wandering 

Through hollow lands and hilly lands, 

I will find out where she has gone, 

And kiss her lips and take her hands; 

And walk among long dappled grass, 

And pluck till time and times are done 

The silver apples of the moon, 

The golden apples of the sun. 




Beloved, gaze in thine own heart, 

The holy tree is growing there; 

From joy the holy branches start, 

And all the trembling flowers they bear. 

The changing colors of its fruit 

Have dowered the stars with merry light; 

The surety of its hidden root 

Has planted quiet in the night; 

The shaking of its leafy head 

Has given the waves their melody, 

And made my lips and music wed, 

Murmuring a wizard song for thee. 

There the Loves a circle go, 

The flaming circle of our days, 

Gyring, spiring to and fro 

In those great ignorant leafy ways; 

Remembering all that shaken hair 

And how the winged sandals dart, 

Thine eyes grow full of tender care: 

Beloved, gaze in thine own heart. 

Gaze no more in the bitter glass 

The demons, with their subtle guile. 

Lift up before us when they pass, 

Or only gaze a little while; 

For there a fatal image grows 

That the stormy night receives, 

Roots half hidden under snows, 

Broken boughs and blackened leaves. 

For all things turn to barrenness 

In the dim glass the demons hold, 

The glass of outer weariness, 

Made when God slept in times of old. 

There, through the broken branches, go 

The ravens of unresting thought; 

Flying, crying, to and fro, 

Cruel claw and hungry throat, 

Or else they stand and sniff the wind, 

And shake their ragged wings; alas! 

Thy tender eyes grow all unkind: 

Gaze no more in the bitter glass. 




One that is ever kind said yesterday: 

‘Your well-beloved’s hair has threads of grey, 

And little shadows come about her eyes; 

Time can but make it easier to be wise 

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: 

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, 

You’d know the folly of being comforted. 




A pity beyond all telling 

Is hid in the heart of love: 

The folk who are buying and selling, 

The clouds on their journey above, 

The cold wet winds ever blowing, 

And the shadowy hazel grove 

Where mouse-grey waters are flowing, 

Threaten the head that I love. 



FAERY SONG [from ‘The Land of Heart’s Desire] 

The wind blows out of the gates of the day, 

The wind blows over the lonely of heart, 

And the lonely of heart is withered away 

While the faeries dance in a place apart, 

Shaking their milk-white feet in a ring, 

Tossing their milk-white arms in the air; 

For they hear the wind laugh, and murmur and sing 

Of a land where even the old are fair, 

And even the wise are merry of tongue; 

But I heard a reed of Coolaney say, 

‘When the wind has laughed and murmured and sung, 

The lonely of heart is withered away!’ 




When you are old and grey and full of sleep, 

And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 

And loved your beauty with love false or true, 

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 

And loved the sorrows of your changing face; 


And bending down beside the glowing bars, 

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled 

And paced upon the mountains overhead 

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 




I know that I shall meet my fate 

Somewhere among the clouds above; 

Those that I fight I do not hate 

Those that I guard I do not love; 

My country is Kiltartan Cross, 

My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor, 

No likely end could bring them loss 

Or leave them happier than before. 

Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, 

Nor public men, nor cheering crowds, 

A lonely impulse of delight 

Drove to this tumult in the clouds; 

I balanced all, brought all to mind, 

The years to come seemed waste of breath, 

A waste of breath the years behind 

In balance with this life, this death. 




I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea! 

We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can fade and flee; 

And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky, 

Has awaked in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that may not die. 

A weariness comes from those dreamers, dew-dabbled, the lily and rose; 

Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes, 

Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in the fall of the dew: 

For I would we were changed to white birds on the wandering foam: I and you! 

I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore, 

Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come  near us no more; 

Soon far from the rose and the lily and fret of the flames would we be, 

Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam, of the sea! 




All things uncomely and broken, all things worn out and cold, 

The cry of a child by the roadway, the creak of a lumbering cart, 

The heavy steps of the ploughman, splashing the wintry mould, 

Are wronging your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart. 

The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great to be told; 

I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll apart, 

With the earth and the sky and the water, re-made, like a casket of gold 

For my dreams of your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart. 




‘Put off that mask of burning gold 

With emerald eyes.’ 

‘O no, my dear, you make so bold 

To find if hearts be wild and wise, 

And yet not cold.’ 

‘I would but find what’s there to find, 

Love or deceit.’ 

‘It was the mask engaged your mind, 

And after set your heart to beat, 

Not what’s behind. 

‘But lest you are my enemy, 

I must enquire.’ 

‘O no, my dear, let all that be; 

What matter, so there is but fire 

In you, in me?’ 




‘Lay me in a cushioned chair; 

Carry me, ye four, 

With cushions here and cushions there, 

To see the world once more. 

‘To stable and to kennel go; 

Bring what is there to bring; 

Lead my Lollard to and fro, 

Or gently in a ring. 

‘Put the chair upon the grass: 

Bring Rody and his hounds, 

That I may contented pass 

From these earthly bounds.’ 

His eyelids droop, his head falls low, 

His old eyes cloud with dreams; 

The sun upon all things that grow 

Falls in sleepy streams. 


Brown Lollard treads upon the lawn, 

And to the armchair goes, 

And now the old man’s dreams are gone, 

He smooths the long brown nose. 

And now moves many a pleasant tongue 

Upon his wasted hands, 

For leading aged hounds and young 

The huntsman near him stands. 


‘Huntsman Rody, blow the horn, 

Make the hills reply.’ 

The huntsman loosens on the morn 

A gay wandering cry. 

Fire is in the old man’s eyes, 

His fingers move and sway, 

And when the wandering music dies 

They hear him feebly say, 

‘Huntsman Rody, blow the horn, 

Make the hills reply.’ 

‘I cannot blow upon my horn, 

I can but weep and sigh.’ 


Servants round his cushioned place 

Are with new sorrow wrung; 

Hounds are gazing on his face, 

Aged hounds and young. 

One blind hound only lies apart 

On the sun-smitten grass; 

He holds deep commune with his heart: 

The moments pass and pass: 

The blind hound with a mournful din 

Lifts slow his wintry head; 

The servants bear the body in; 

The hounds wail for the dead. 




What need you, being come to sense, 

But fumble in a greasy till 

And add the halfpence to the pence 

And prayer to shivering prayer, until 

You have dried the marrow from the bone; 

For men were born to pray and save: 

Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone, 

It’s with O’Leary in the grave. 

Yet they were of a different kind, 

The names that stilled your childish play, 

They have gone about the world like wind, 

But little time had they to pray 

For whom the hangman’s rope was spun, 

And what, God help us, could they save? 

Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone, 

It’s with O’Leary in the grave. 

Was it for this the wild geese spread 

The grey wing upon every tide; 

For this that all that blood was shed, 

For this Edward Fitzgerald died, 

And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone, 

All that delirium of the brave? 

Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone, 

It’s with O’Leary in the grave. 

Yet could we turn the years again, 

And call those exiles as they were 

In all their loneliness and pain, 

You’d cry, ‘Some woman’s yellow hair 

Has maddened every mother’s son’: 

They weighed so lightly what they gave. 

But let them be, they’re dead and gone, 

They’re with O’Leary in the grave. 




The angels are stooping 

Above your bed; 

They weary of trooping 

With the whimpering dead. 

God’s laughing in Heaven 

To see you so good; 

The Sailing Seven 

Are gay with His mood. 

I sigh that kiss you, 

For I must own 

That I shall miss you 

When you have grown. 




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. 




‘Your eyes that once were never weary of mine 

Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids, 

Because our love is waning.’ 

And then she [said]: 

‘Although our love is waning, let us stand 

By the lone border of the lake once more, 

Together in that hour of gentleness 

When the poor tired child, Passion, falls asleep: 

How far away the stars seem, and how far 

Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!’ 

Pensive they paced along the faded leaves, 

While slowly he whose hand held hers replied: 

‘Passion has often worn our wandering hearts.’ 

The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves 

Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once 

A rabbit old and lame limped down the path; 

Autumn was over him: and now they stood 

On the lone border of the lake once more: 

Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves 

Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes, 

In bosom and hair. 

‘Ah, do not mourn,’ he said, 

‘That we are tired, for other loves await us; 

Hate on and love through unrepining hours. 

Before us lies eternity; our souls 

Are love, and a continual farewell.’ 




I dreamed that I stood in a valley, and amid sighs, 

For happy lovers passed two by two where I stood; 

And I dreamed my lost love came stealthily out of the wood 

With her cloud-pale eyelids falling on dream-dimmed eyes: 

I cried in my dream, O women, bid the young men lay 

Their heads on your knees, and drown their eyes with your 

hair, Or remembering hers they will find no other face fair 

Till all the valleys of the world have been withered away. 




When I play on my fiddle in Dooney, 

Folk dance like a wave of the sea; 

My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet, 

My brother in Moharabuiee. 

I passed my brother and cousin: 

They read in their books of prayer; 

I read in my book of songs 

I bought at the Sligo fair. 

When we come at the end of time, 

To Peter sitting in state, 

He will smile on the three old spirits, 

But call me first through the gate; 

For the good are always the merry, 

Save by an evil chance, 

And the merry love the fiddle 

And the merry love to dance: 

And when the folk there spy me, 

They will all come up to me, 

With ‘Here is the fiddler of Dooney!’ 

And dance like a wave of the sea.