William Butler Yeats

(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939 / County Dublin / Ireland)

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A Faery Song


i{Sung by the people of Faery over Diarmuid and Grania,}
i{in their bridal sleep under a Cromlech.}

WE who are old, old and gay,
O so old!
Thousands of years, thousands of years,
If all were told:
Give to these children, new from the world,
Silence and love;
And the long dew-dropping hours of the night,
And the stars above:
Give to these children, new from the world,
Rest far from men.
Is anything better, anything better?
Tell us it then:
Us who are old, old and gay,
O so old!
Thousands of years, thousands of years,
If all were told.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001
Edited: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

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  • * Sunprincess * (6/9/2014 7:41:00 AM)

    ............would love to see this poem actually sung by fairies in a movie....that would be so cool....enjoyed... (Report) Reply

  • Is It Poetry (5/28/2013 2:55:00 PM)

    I am young, O' and I am young.
    Sing,
    I write this song, I write it down.
    Gay once I was,
    thou lay me down and as I rest O' lay me down.

    is it poetry (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (5/28/2012 1:19:00 AM)

    Good wish fires the time with its white and serene flames. It contaminates the human thought during thousand and thousands years..... Playing the same tune now we all in the front.....Marvelous, Magnificent the piece of word-art. (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (5/28/2010 1:23:00 PM)

    Now we are talking poets. William Butler Yeats the cream of the crop. Excellent as are all his works. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (5/28/2010 3:11:00 AM)

    Peace, love and Nature what the poet asks to give to the new generation even if some live thousands of years! Indeed the offer is more than heaven on the Earth! (Report) Reply

  • Ned Coates (2/12/2010 3:42:00 PM)

    The part of fairly lore most relevant is that folk belief held that a child could be stolen by the fairies (AKA the Sidhe) and would, like them, become immortal. But as Yeats points out in The Stolen Child and other places, the immortalized person would no longer appreciate the little things of our transient life. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (5/28/2009 1:22:00 PM)

    A time of reflection, casting life into thousands of years. Though with GOD one day can be a thousand years. BUT, age is a part of the flower blooming, after the growth. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (5/28/2009 6:12:00 AM)

    The problem with this poem is that one feels one needs to know something of the faery lore it is based on for it to make sense; otherwise it's just pleasant sounding. It's the same with religious poems, you need to know the theological background. (Report) Reply

  • Shannon Brown (1/31/2006 1:59:00 PM)

    This poem was so visually directive, as I was able to see the Wee Folk imploying their request to the Goddess. Yeats seems to have a way of looking further than the eye can see and bring in the true essence of the passion of those among us. (Report) Reply

Read all 11 comments »

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