For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Monday, 14 November 2011

Celtic Twilight

It's clear that in this poem by Yeats, one of my favourite poets, he's been influenced by old, romantic Celtic poems such as the one I highlighted here in my last post. (Yeats played a leading role in the Irish Literary Revival, also known as the 'Celtic Twilight', in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.) The 'golden apples' of the last line also recalls my recent post about the quinces/golden apples of the Garden of the Hesperides, the mythical Greek paradise. 

The Song Of The Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.


WB YEATS

10 comments:

Grace said...

I just watched the trailer for "The Way". Have you heard of this movie? It made me think of you:) My favorite line in the trailer is the last one.

http://www.bytowne.ca/movie/the-way

I apologize for leaving a comment that has nothing to do with your post:)

George said...

Absolutely sensational! I want to come back to the final eight lines over and over again. Can there be any better plan than this for the rest of life — "to walk among long dappled grass, and pluck till time and times are done the silver apples of the moon, the golden apples of the sun."

Ruth said...

Robert, from the first two lines I fell into a weepy trance. What kind of magic is this? And why have I not read more Yeats (loving everything I found of him in Ireland as I did, like his round wire glasses in the National Museum in Dublin).

I see his influence on you and your own writing, and yes this sweetly ties in the last two posts.

The longing he sets up through a tinkling cadence and spritely rhyme sends me into bliss again (or maybe I just haven’t left it).

Dominic Rivron said...

Have we talked about Christy Moore's version of this?

http://youtu.be/k-VL41H2Sm0

Suman said...

Enchanting!! This is one of my most favourite Yeats poems. And every time I come across it, it reminds me of Keats's "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", particularly the elusive maiden and the elfin surroundings.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece of magic.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Do you know the Christy Moore song Robert? This is one of my favourite poems and also one of my favourite songs.

Anita said...

I've only recently found your blog and so far have enjoyed every post. I like your poetry selections especially but am delighted with your descriptions of your walks.

May I submit a small (non-content) request? Please consider using a color for the poetry, etc. that provides more contrast than the "gold-orange" hue you are presently using. It is unobjectionable for large type but very difficult for me to read as body text.

am said...

Thanks so much for this today. When I first heard Judy Collins sing this a long time ago, I had no idea that it was a poem by Yeats. All I could hear, and it stayed with me was the image of:

The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

It is always moving to read Yeats' poem on a page and moving to hear it sung:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B09OtVVMoZE

Friko said...

The last stanza alone makes life worth living.

The Solitary Walker said...

Grace - didn't see it when it came out over here (earlier than in the US), but will do so on DVD...

George - no better plan!

Ruth - 'weepy trance'? You are the very 'Belle Dame sans Merci'! (See Suman's comment...)

Dominic and Pat - snap! Have just listened to it.

Thanks for your comment, Suman, and for making that connection.

And Anita - I'm so pleased you are enjoying my blog. I'll take a look at that colour, as someone else mentioned this too.

I love Yeats - and that version put to music is lovely. Thanks so much for the link.

Friko - indeed! Thanks for your visit.