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W. B. Yeats   

BAILE AND AILLINN.



(01) 01 : Argument. Baile and Aillinn were lovers, but
     02 : Aengus, the Master of Love, wishing them to be
     03 : happy in his own land among the dead, told to
     04 : each a story of the other's death, so that their
     05 : hearts were broken and they died.
     06 : I hardly hear the curlew cry,
     07 : Nor the grey rush when wind is high,
     08 : Before my thoughts begin to run
     09 : On the heir of Ulad, Buan's son,
     10 : Baile who had the honey mouth,
     11 : And that mild woman of the south,
     12 : Aillinn, who was King Lugaid's heir.
     13 : Their love was never drowned in care
     14 : Of this or that thing, nor grew cold
     15 : Because their bodies had grown old;
     16 : Being forbid to marry on earth
     17 : They blossomed to immortal mirth.

(02) 18 : About the time when Christ was born,
     19 : When the long wars for the White Horn
     20 : And the Brown Bull had not yet come,
     21 : Young Baile Honey-Mouth, whom some
     22 : Called rather Baile Little-Land,
     23 : Rode out of Emain with a band
     24 : Of harpers and young men, and they
     25 : Imagined, as they struck the way
     26 : To many pastured Muirthemne,
     27 : That all things fell out happily
     28 : And there, for all that fools had said,
     29 : Baile and Aillinn would be wed.

(03) 30 : They found an old man running there,
     31 : He had ragged long grass-yellow hair;
     32 : He had knees that stuck out of his hose;
     33 : He had puddle water in his shoes;
     34 : He had half a cloak to keep him dry;
     35 : Although he had a squirrel's eye.

(04) 36 : O wandering birds and rushy beds
     37 : You put such folly in our heads
     38 : With all this crying in the wind
     39 : No common love is to our mind,
     40 : And our poor Kate or Nan is less
     41 : Than any whose unhappiness
     42 : Awoke the harp strings long ago.
     43 : Yet they that know all things but know
     44 : That all life had to give us is
     45 : A child's laughter, a woman's kiss.

(05) 46 : Who was it put so great a scorn
     47 : In the grey reeds that night and morn
     48 : Are trodden and broken by the herds,
     49 : And in the light bodies of birds
     50 : That north wind tumbles to and fro
     51 : And pinches among hail and snow?

(06) 52 : That runner said, 'I am from the south;
     53 : I run to Baile Honey-Mouth
     54 : To tell him how the girl Aillinn
     55 : Rode from the country of her kin
     56 : And old and young men rode with her:
     57 : For all that country had been astir
     58 : If anybody half as fair
     59 : Had chosen a husband anywhere
     60 : But where it could see her every day.
     61 : When they had ridden a little way
     62 : An old man caught the horse's head
     63 : With "You must home again and wed
     64 : With somebody in your own land."
     65 : A young man cried and kissed her hand
     66 : "O lady, wed with one of us;"
     67 : And when no face grew piteous
     68 : For any gentle thing she spake
     69 : She fell and died of the heart-break.'

(07) 70 : Because a lover's heart's worn out
     71 : Being tumbled and blown about
     72 : By its own blind imagining,
     73 : And will believe that anything
     74 : That is bad enough to be true, is true,
     75 : Baile's heart was broken in two;
     76 : And he being laid upon green boughs
     77 : Was carried to the goodly house
     78 : Where the Hound of Ulad sat before
     79 : The brazen pillars of his door;
     80 : His face bowed low to weep the end
     81 : Of the harper's daughter and her friend;
     82 : For although years had passed away
     83 : He always wept them on that day,
     84 : For on that day they had been betrayed;
     85 : And now that Honey-Mouth is laid
     86 : Under a cairn of sleepy stone
     87 : Before his eyes, he has tears for none,
     88 : Although he is carrying stone, but two
     89 : For whom the cairn's but heaped anew.

(08) 90 : We hold because our memory is
     91 : So full of that thing and of this
     92 : That out of sight is out of mind.
     93 : But the grey rush under the wind
     94 : And the grey bird with crooked bill
     95 : Have such long memories that they still
     96 : Remember Deirdre and her man,
     97 : And when we walk with Kate or Nan
     98 : About the windy water side
     99 : Our heart can hear the voices chide.
     100 : How could we be so soon content
     101 : Who know the way that Naoise went?
     102 : And they have news of Deirdre's eyes
     103 : Who being lovely was so wise,
     104 : Ah wise, my heart knows well how wise.

(09) 105 : Now had that old gaunt crafty one,
     106 : Gathering his cloak about him, run
     107 : Where Aillinn rode with waiting maids
     108 : Who amid leafy lights and shades
     109 : Dreamed of the hands that would unlace
     110 : Their bodices in some dim place
     111 : When they had come to the marriage bed;
     112 : And harpers pondering with bowed head
     113 : A music that had thought enough
     114 : Of the ebb of all things to make love
     115 : Grow gentle without sorrowings;
     116 : And leather-coated men with slings
     117 : Who peered about on every side;
     118 : And amid leafy light he cried,
     119 : 'He is well out of wind and wave,
     120 : They have heaped the stones above his grave
     121 : In Muirthemne and over it
     122 : In changeless Ogham letters writ
     123 : Baile that was of Rury's seed.
     124 : But the gods long ago decreed
     125 : No waiting maid should ever spread
     126 : Baile and Aillinn's marriage bed,
     127 : For they should clip and clip again
     128 : Where wild bees hive on the Great Plain.
     129 : Therefore it is but little news
     130 : That put this hurry in my shoes.'
     131 : And hurrying to the south he came
     132 : To that high hill the herdsmen name
     133 : The Hill Seat of Leighin, because
     134 : Some god or king had made the laws
     135 : That held the land together there,
     136 : In old times among the clouds of the air.

(10) 137 : That old man climbed; the day grew dim;
     138 : Two swans came flying up to him
     139 : Linked by a gold chain each to each
     140 : And with low murmuring laughing speech
     141 : Alighted on the windy grass.
     142 : They knew him: his changed body was
     143 : Tall, proud and ruddy, and light wings
     144 : Were hovering over the harp strings
     145 : That Etain, Midhir's wife, had wove
     146 : In the hid place, being crazed by love.

(11) 147 : What shall I call them? fish that swim
     148 : Scale rubbing scale where light is dim
     149 : By a broad water-lily leaf;
     150 : Or mice in the one wheaten sheaf
     151 : Forgotten at the threshing place;
     152 : Or birds lost in the one clear space
     153 : Of morning light in a dim sky;
     154 : Or it may be, the eyelids of one eye
     155 : Or the door pillars of one house,
     156 : Or two sweet blossoming apple boughs
     157 : That have one shadow on the ground;
     158 : Or the two strings that made one sound
     159 : Where that wise harper's finger ran;
     160 : For this young girl and this young man
     161 : Have happiness without an end
     162 : Because they have made so good a friend.

(12) 163 : They know all wonders, for they pass
     164 : The towery gates of Gorias
     165 : And Findrias and Falias
     166 : And long-forgotten Murias,
     167 : Among the giant kings whose hoard
     168 : Cauldron and spear and stone and sword
     169 : Was robbed before Earth gave the wheat;
     170 : Wandering from broken street to street
     171 : They come where some huge watcher is
     172 : And tremble with their love and kiss.
     173 : They know undying things, for they
     174 : Wander where earth withers away,
     175 : Though nothing troubles the great streams
     176 : But light from the pale stars, and gleams
     177 : From the holy orchards, where there is none
     178 : But fruit that is of precious stone,
     179 : Or apples of the sun and moon.

(13) 180 : What were our praise to them: they eat
     181 : Quiet's wild heart, like daily meat,
     182 : Who when night thickens are afloat
     183 : On dappled skins in a glass boat
     184 : Far out under a windless sky,
     185 : While over them birds of Aengus fly,
     186 : And over the tiller and the prow
     187 : And waving white wings to and fro
     188 : Awaken wanderings of light air
     189 : To stir their coverlet and their hair.

(14) 190 : And poets found, old writers say,
     191 : A yew tree where his body lay,
     192 : But a wild apple hid the grass
     193 : With its sweet blossom where hers was;
     194 : And being in good heart, because
     195 : A better time had come again
     196 : After the deaths of many men,
     197 : And that long fighting at the ford,
     198 : They wrote on tablets of thin board,
     199 : Made of the apple and the yew,
     200 : All the love stories that they knew.

(15) 201 : Let rush and bird cry out their fill
     202 : Of the harper's daughter if they will,
     203 : Beloved, I am not afraid of her
     204 : She is not wiser nor lovelier,
     205 : And you are more high of heart than she
     206 : For all her wanderings over-sea;
     207 : But I'd have bird and rush forget
     208 : Those other two, for never yet
     209 : Has lover lived but longed to wive
     210 : Like them that are no more alive.