Yeats, William Butler (W.B.)

Ireland, (1865-1939)

The Valley of the Black Pig

  1. The dews drop slowly and dreams gather: unknown spears
  2. Suddenly hurtle before my dream-awakened eyes,
  3. And then the clash of fallen horsemen and the cries
  4. Of unknown perishing armies beat about my ears.
  5. We who still labour by the cromlech on the shore,
  6. The grey cairn on the hill, when day sinks drowned in dew,
  7. Being weary of the world’s empires, bow down to you.
  8. Master of the still stars and of the flaming door.

The Wind Among The Reeds, 1899.

Editor’s Note:

In the notes of Later Poems (1922), Yeats wrote: “All over Ireland there are prophecies of the coming rout of the enemies of Ireland, in a certain Valley of the Black Pig, and these prophecies are, no doubt, now, as they were in the Fenian days, a political force. …as a rule, periods of trouble bring prophecies of its near coming.”

He Mourns for the Change That Has Come upon Him and His Beloved and Longs for the End of the World

  1. Do you not hear me calling, white deer with no horns?
  2. I have been changed to a hound with one red ear;
  3. I have been in the Path of Stones and the Wood of Thorns,
  4. For somebody hid hatred and hope and desire and fear
  5. Under my feet that they follow you night and day.
  6. A man with a hazel wand came without sound;
  7. He changed me suddenly; I was looking another way;
  8. And now my calling is but the calling of a hound;
  9. And Time and Birth and Change are hurrying by.
  10. I would that the Boar without bristles had come from the West
  11. And had rooted the sun and moon and stars out of the sky
  12. And lay in the darkness, grunting, and turning to his rest.

The Wind Among The Reeds, 1899.

About the Poet

William Butler (W.B.) Yeats (1865-1939), Irish nationalist, poet and playwright was fascinated by Irish legend and the occult.

Yeats co-founded the Irish National Theatre Company at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, he became a leader of the Irish Literary Renaissance and was also active in Irish nationalist movement for independence. His poetry won him the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923. He is considered among the greatest poets of the 20th century. [DES-6/03]

Additional Reading:

The Porkopolis.org blog post Russell, Gregory, Yeats and the Black Pig

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