Adam's Curse

W. B. Yeats

 
We sat together at one summer's end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, "A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world."
                                              And thereupon
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There's many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, "To be born woman is to know—
Although they do not talk of it at school—
That we must labour to be beautiful."
I said, "It's certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough."
We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.
I had a thought for no one's but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.
 

Poems by This Author

A Drinking Song by W. B. Yeats
Wine comes in at the mouth
A Prayer for my Daughter by W. B. Yeats
Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W. B. Yeats
Had I the heavensí embroidered cloths
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death by W. B. Yeats
I know that I shall meet my fate
Easter 1916 by W. B. Yeats
I have met them at close of day
Leda and the Swan by W. B. Yeats
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Never give all the heart by W. B. Yeats
Never give all the heart, for love
Sailing to Byzantium by W. B. Yeats
That is no country for old men. The young
The Balloon of the Mind by W. B. Yeats
Hands, do what you're bid
The Fisherman by W. B. Yeats
Although I can see him still
The Heart of the Woman by W. B. Yeats
O what to me the little room
The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W. B. Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree
The Living Beauty by W. B. Yeats
I bade, because the wick and oil are spent
The Magi by W. B. Yeats
Now as at all times I can see in the mind's eye
The Moods by W. B. Yeats
Time drops in decay
The Player Queen by W. B. Yeats
My mother dandled me and sang
The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The Song of Wandering Aengus by W. B. Yeats
I went out to the hazel wood
The Sorrow of Love by W. B. Yeats
The quarrel of the sparrows in the eaves
The Stolen Child by W. B. Yeats
Where dips the rocky highland
The Tower by W. B. Yeats
What shall I do with this absurdity
The Wild Swans at Coole by W. B. Yeats
The trees are in their autumn beauty
The Young Man's Song by W. B. Yeats
I whispered,
When You are Old by W. B. Yeats
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
Who goes with Fergus? by W. B. Yeats
Who will go drive with Fergus now


Further Reading

Related Poems
During Wind and Rain
by Thomas Hardy