by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)

The withering of the boughs
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
I cried when the moon was murmuring to the birds, 
"Let peewit call and curlew cry where they will, 
I long for your merry and tender and pitiful words, 
For the roads are unending, and there is no place to my mind."
The honey-pale moon lay low on the sleepy hill, 
And I fell asleep upon lonely Echtge of streams. 
No boughs have withered because of the wintry wind; 
The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams.

I know of the leafy paths the witches take, 
Who come with their crowns of pearl and their spindles of wool, 
And their secret smile, out of the depths of the lake; 
I know where a dim moon drifts, where the Danaan kind 
Wind and unwind their dances when the light grows cool 
On the island lawns, their feet where the pale foam gleams. 
No boughs have withered because of the wintry wind; 
The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams.

I know of the sleepy country, where swans fly round 
Coupled with golden chains, and sing as they fly. 
A king and a queen are wandering there, and the sound 
Has made them so happy and hopeless, so deaf and so blind 
With wisdom, they wander till all the years have gone by; 
I know. and the curlew and peewit on Echtge of streams. 
No boughs have withered because of the wintry wind; 
The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams.

First published in Speaker, August 1900

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 76.


Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Flétrissure des branches", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: David K. Smythe

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2016-01-04 18:53:02
Line count: 24
Word count: 248