William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet. This post features When you are old Poem by William Butler Yeats.
In 1923, Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The prize led to a significant increase in the sales of his books, as his publishers Macmillan sought to capitalize on the publicity. For the first time he had money, and he was able to repay not only his own debts, but those of his father.
Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers who completed their greatest works after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929).
William Butler Yeats largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. From 1900, Yeats’s poetry grew more physical and realistic. Yeats had a life-long interest in mysticism, spiritualism, occultism and astrology. He read extensively on the subjects throughout his life, became a member of the paranormal research organization “The Ghost Club” (in 1911) and was especially influenced by the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
When you are old Poem
When you are old and grey 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