William Butler Yeats

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

A Last Confession


What lively lad most pleasured me
Of all that with me lay?
I answer that I gave my soul
And loved in misery,
But had great pleasure with a lad
That I loved bodily.

Flinging from his arms I laughed
To think his passion such
He fancied that I gave a soul
Did but our bodies touch,
And laughed upon his breast to think
Beast gave beast as much.

I gave what other women gave
That stepped out of their clothes.
But when this soul, its body off,
Naked to naked goes,
He it has found shall find therein
What none other knows,

And give his own and take his own
And rule in his own right;
And though it loved in misery
Close and cling so tight,
There's not a bird of day that dare
Extinguish that delight.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • * Sunprincess * (2/1/2014 1:31:00 AM)

    .......not exactly sure what this poet is trying to say...maybe his message is love one another.. (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Hoellering (12/15/2009 2:37:00 AM)

    In answer to his rhetorical question, Yeats here dismisses agape, spiritual love, in favour of eros.

    The lover thinks that body and soul are one, but the woman knows better.The key lines come in the third verse when the poet states that the soul can only be reached through the body. Once revealed, the insight into the uniqueness of the individual is both priviledged -and magical. (Report) Reply

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