The Sorrow of Love

By William Butler Yeats 1865–1939
The brawling of a sparrow in the eaves,   
The brilliant moon and all the milky sky,   
And all that famous harmony of leaves,   
Had blotted out man's image and his cry.

A girl arose that had red mournful lips
And seemed the greatness of the world in tears,   
Doomed like Odysseus and the labouring ships   
And proud as Priam murdered with his peers;

Arose, and on the instant clamorous eaves,   
A climbing moon upon an empty sky,   
And all that lamentation of the leaves,   
Could but compose man's image and his cry.

Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

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Poet William Butler Yeats 1865–1939

POET’S REGION Ireland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Nature

 William Butler Yeats

Biography

William Butler Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. He belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish minority that had controlled the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Ireland since at least the end of the seventeenth century. Most members of this minority considered themselves English people who merely happened to have been born in Ireland, but Yeats was staunch in . . .

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SUBJECT Nature

POET’S REGION Ireland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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