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      William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

                    When You Are Old

    WHEN you are old and gray 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 among a crowd of stars.


The above poem was published in The Rose in 1893. It can be found in:
  • Yeats, William Butler. The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats. Definitive Edition, with the Author's Final Revisions. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1956.
  • Ferguson, Margaret, Mary Jo Salter, and Jon Stallworthy, eds. The Norton Anthology of Poetry (Fourth Edition). New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.