A Man Young And Old: XI. From Oedipus At Colonus

William Butler Yeats 1865 (Sandymount) – 1939 (Menton)

Endure what life God gives and ask no longer span;
Cease to remember the delights of youth, travel-wearied aged man;
Delight becomes death-longing if all longing else be vain.

Even from that delight memory treasures so,
Death, despair, division of families, all entanglements of mankind grow,
As that old wandering beggar and these God-hated children know.

In the long echoing street the laughing dancers throng,
The bride is carried to the bridegroom's chamber through torchlight and tumultuous song;
I celebrate the silent kiss that ends short life or long.

Never to have lived is best, ancient writers say;
Never to have drawn the breath of life, never to have looked into the eye of day;
The second best's a gay goodnight and quickly turn away.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. more…

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