That is no country for old men. The young
In one another`s arms, birds in the trees,
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap it`s hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in it`s mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of it`s own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God`s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing – masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
The words of W.B. Yeats flow over the page like droplets of mercury high on acid. Such poetry seems to be a dying breed of a particular beauty; not as a jumble of pretty language, but how it is joined as one descriptive whole, so true to itself that your imagination is transported to the golden shores of fabled Byzantium.
You feel the breeze wafting off of the Golden Horn, across the city of dreams. Byzantium`s later given name was Constantinople, the city of Constantine, Emperor of Rome: known to the Vikings as Miklagard ( The Great City), to others as simply, The City. Explanations were not needed, or asked for, everyone in the world knew of this jewel at the navel of the world.
And so Yeats weaves it`s history and legend into a creation of such sublime artistry to be laid before our feet as a carpet of sensuous beauty.