To the Rose upon the Road of Time

Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days!

Come near me, while I sing the ancient ways:

Cuchulain battling with the bitter tide;

The Druid, grey, wood-nurtured, quiet-eyed,

——

Who cast round Fergus dreams, and ruin untold;

And your own sadness, were of stars, grown old

In dancing silver-sandalled on the sea,

Sing in their high and lonely melody.

——

Come near, that no more blinded by man’s fate,

I find under the boughs of love and hate,

In all poor foolish things that live a day,

Eternal beauty wandering on her way.

——

Come near, come near, come near—Ah, leave me still

A little space for the rose-breath to fill!

Lest I no more hear common things that crave;

The weak worm hiding down in its small cave,

——

The field-mouse running by me in the grass,

And heavy mortal hopes that toil and pass;

But seek alone to hear the strange things said

By God to the bright hearts of those long dead,

——

And learn to chant a tongue men do not know.

Come near; I would, before my time to go,

Sing of old Eire and the ancient ways:

Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days

——

William Butler Yeats

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