Tuesday Poem

This poem is religious: Yeats was an occultist and nationalist — the freemasonry of the late Victorians curdled nicely, and he could not identify with the Protestant Irish Ascendancy and be a nationalist, which was the flavour of his youth as the Catholic polity took over most of Ireland.

This is the inverse of Joyce, who was educated by the Jesuits. Both looked fro a more earthly mysticism. But the man in the stars would have been read as Christ by his audience,

I think the audience has the correct reading.

When You are Old

WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats.