Russell, George William (Æ or A.E.)

Ireland, (1867-1935)


  1. The gods have taken alien shapes upon them
  2. Wild peasants driving swine
  3. In a strange country. Through the swarthy faces
  4. The starry faces shine.
  6. Under grey tattered skies they strain and reel there:
  7. Yet cannot all disguise
  8. The majesty of fallen gods, the beauty,
  9. The fire beneath their eyes.
  11. They huddle at night within low clay-built cabins;
  12. And, to themselves unknown,
  13. They carry with them diadem and sceptre
  14. And move from throne to throne.

© estate of George William Russell

I foresee…

  1. Who is he that rides upon the storm?
  2. Who carrieth a black porker
  3. And sheds shadowy terror and laughter.
  4. It is William MacYeats:
  5. Bard of the Gael!

Editor’s Note:

This bit of doggerel was excerpted from a letter written by Russell to Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory, in June of 1898. For more details see the post Russell, Gregory, Yeats and the Black Pig.

About the Poet

George William Russell (1867-1935), Irish poet, essayist, journalist, dramatist, novelist and painter. Russell wrote under the pseudonyms Y.O., O.L.S., and Gad; but he was most well known as A.E. or Æ.

He is often remembered as a poet and as one of those true mystics who have sought by practical endeavours to bring some touch of the spiritual perfection they beheld into the life of this world.

Colin Smythe Ltd. Publishing

A key figure in the Irish Literary Revival and a well respected member of the Irish Renascence, Russell was also a Nationalist leader, mystic, economist, a leader in the movement for cooperation among Irish farmers and editor of The Irish Statesman from 1923 to 1930. [DES-3/10]

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