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I heard the old, old men say, "Everything alters, And one by one we drop away." They had hands like claws, and their knees Were twisted like the old thorn-trees By the waters. I heard the old, old men say, "All that's beautiful drifts away, Like the waters."
About the headline (FAQ)First published in Pall Mall Magazine, January 1903
Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 82.
- by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939), "The old men admiring themselves in the water", appears in In the Seven Woods [author's text checked 2 times against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):
- by Gary Bachlund (b. 1947), "Old men", 2010 [ medium voice and piano ] [sung text checked 1 time]
- by Keith Warren Bissell (1912 - 1992), "The old men admiring themselves in the water", 1973 [ SATB chorus and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by Stanley Grill (b. 1953), "The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Waters", copyright © 1977 [ soprano and piano ], from Six Songs, no. 2, confirmed with an online score [sung text checked 1 time]
- by Robert Leon Rollin (b. 1947), "The old men" [ baritone, flute, violin, viola, and violoncello ], from Four Songs of Dreams and Love [sung text not yet checked]
- by Ned Rorem (1923 - 2022), "The old men admiring themselves in the water", 1997, published 1999, from Evidence of Things Not Seen, no. 32 [sung text checked 1 time]
- by John Kenneth Tavener (1944 - 2013), "The old men admiring themselves in the water" [ soprano, flute, harp, viola ], from To a child dancing in the wind, no. 2 [sung text not yet checked]
- by Raymond Warren (b. 1928), "The old men admiring themselves in the water", published 1971 [ baritone and piano ], from Songs of Old Age [sung text not yet checked]
Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2004-08-04
Line count: 9
Word count: 48
J'entendais les vieux, vieux hommes dire « Tout se dégrade, Et un à un nous diminuons. » Ils avaient des mains comme des griffes, et leurs genoux Étaient tors comme les vieilles aubépines Au bord de l'eau. J'entendais les vieux vieux hommes dire « Tout ce qui est beau part à la dérive, Comme les eaux. »
About the headline (FAQ)Translation of title "The old men admiring themselves in the water" = "Les vieux hommes s'admirant dans l'eau"
- Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2016 by Pierre Mathé, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.
- a text in English by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939), "The old men admiring themselves in the water", appears in In the Seven Woods
This text was added to the website: 2016-01-04
Line count: 9
Word count: 57