“To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing” by William Butler Yeats

To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing


Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.


By William Butler Yeats

Source: Poetry (May 1914).


http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/2085


~

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3 thoughts on ““To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing” by William Butler Yeats

  1. AFAIK, the poem is out of copyright, if it is the case that copyright persists for 70 years after death in the case of written works.

    Whatever.

    Thanks be to Google, the Internet, my stepdaughter and her Eng Lit A level set book and the Poetry foundation for finding me the WBYeats poem to share with you. Here’s some more words from me arranged in a poem-like fashion:

    Have a nice day
    – my day is clear and blue,
    and sharp and bright in Grantham,
    and I’m smiling,
    listening to John Lee Hooker and typing,
    as the thinning sun tips us winterward,
    as we spin,
    a smear of life on a once-hot rock,
    whizzing through space,
    in a sleepy corner,
    of an quiet little milk-spill of stars far far away…

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