Nov 16, 2022 • 5M

When You are Old

William Butler Yeats, 1891

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Every culture has its love poetry, you might think, and maybe you’d be right, but you’d also be surprised to see that sometimes love seems to be the main thing men sing about, and sometimes not. What young men sing about now, with hearts full of joy or sorrow, I’m not sure. You’d have to ask them what they find most dear. I hope they are still encouraged to look for their most precious earthly treasure in a beautiful and gracious woman.

And what if you fall deeply in love, and for one reason or another the love is not requited, or it is requited with appreciation or friendship or gratitude, but not with any love that binds man and woman in marriage? You might walk away from that love, let it go, try to forget it, and, as they say, “move on.” But try, my dear reader, to imagine a young man full of ardent passion and the highest intellectual and patriotic ideals, falling in love with a beautiful woman possessed of the same passion and ideals, in a nation they have devoted their live…

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