Week 49: The Folly Of Being Comforted, by W.B.Yeats

As a young man I was a bit disconcerted on meeting Robert Graves to discover that he had no regard at all for W.B.Yeats, either as man or poet. Given my admirations at the time, it was a bit like getting to heaven and finding that Michael couldn’t stand Gabriel. I can see now that Yeats might be a poet from whom one withholds some degree of trust, but I find it impossible to withhold admiration, especially for what seem to be truly heartfelt lyrics like the following…

The Folly Of Being Comforted

One that is ever kind said yesterday:
‘Your well-belovèd’s hair has threads of grey,
And little shadows come about her eyes;
Time can but make it easier to be wise
Though now it seems impossible, and so
All that you need is patience.’
Heart cries, ‘No,
I have not a crumb of comfort, not a grain.
Time can but make her beauty over again:
Because of that great nobleness of hers
The fire that stirs about her, when she stirs,
Burns but more clearly. O she had not these ways
When all the wild Summer was in her gaze.’

O heart! O heart! if she’d but turn her head,
You’d know the folly of being comforted.


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