The Stolen Child

    Image by Fergal of Claddagh (Gone to Poland till August!)
    THE STOLEN CHILD

    William Butler Yeats

    [Note: in Irish folk culture when a child died it was said that he was taken by the Sidhe to protect him from the wickedness of this world. As boys were more likely to die than girls were the boys were dressed as girls until the turn of the last century in some parts of rural Ireland. An old photo here www.flickr.com/photos/feargal/2782309802/ shows this practice]

    Where dips the rocky highland
    Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
    There lies a leafy island
    Where flapping herons wake
    The drowsy water-rats;
    There we’ve hid our faery vats,
    Full of berries
    And of the reddest stolen cherries.
    Come away, O human child!
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand,
    For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Where the wave of moonlight glosses
    The dim grey sands with light,
    Far off by furthest Rosses
    We foot it all the night,
    Weaving olden dances,
    Mingling hands and mingling glances
    Till the moon has taken flight;
    To and fro we leap
    And chase the frothy bubbles,
    While the world is full of troubles
    And is anxious in its sleep.
    Come away, O human child!
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand,
    For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Where the wandering water gushes
    From the hills above Glen-Car,
    In pools among the rushes
    That scarce could bathe a star,
    We seek for slumbering trout
    And whispering in their ears
    Give them unquiet dreams;
    Leaning softly out
    From ferns that drop their tears
    Over the young streams
    Come away, O human child!
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand,
    For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Away with us he’s going,
    The solemn eyed:
    He’ll hear no more the lowing
    Of the calves on the warm hillside
    Or the kettle on the hob
    Sing peace into his breast,
    Or see the brown mice bob
    Round and round the oatmeal-chest.
    For he comes, the human child!
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand,
    From a world more full of weeping than he can understand.

    RELATED ARTICLES

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *