I know next to nothing about Yeats except he was an well-to-do Irish family and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. But I liked this poem that I found while browsing the Academy of American Poets website, and it alludes to Yeats’ unrequited love Maude Gonne, an Irish revolutionary and known beauty. I like it because it has a bittersweet context and meaning.
When You Are Old
W. B. Yeats, 1865 – 1939
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.