– fordi tiden kræver et MODSPIL

28. Oct 2007

Easter, 1916

     I have met them at close of day
     Coming with vivid faces
     From counter or desk among grey
     Eighteenth-century houses.
     I have passed with a nod of the head
     Or polite meaningless words,
     Or have lingered awhile and said
     Polite meaningless words,
     And thought before I had done
     Of a mocking tale or a gibe
     To please a companion
     Around the fire at the club,
     Being certain that they and I
     But lived where motley is worn:
     All changed, changed utterly:
     A terrible beauty is born.

     That woman's days were spent
     In ignorant good-will,
     Her nights in argument
     Until her voice grew shrill.
     What voice more sweet than hers
     When, young and beautiful,
     She rode to harriers?
     This man had kept a school
     And rode our winged horse;
     This other his helper and friend
     Was coming into his force;
     He might have won fame in the end,
     So sensitive his nature seemed,
     So daring and sweet his thought.
     This other man I had dreamed
     A drunken, vainglorious lout.
     He had done most bitter wrong
     To some who are near my heart,
     Yet I number him in the song;
     He, too, has resigned his part
     In the casual comedy;
     He, too, has been changed in his turn,
     Transformed utterly:
     A terrible beauty is born.

     Hearts with one purpose alone
     Through summer and winter seem
     Enchanted to a stone
     To trouble the living stream.
     The horse that comes from the road.
     The rider, the birds that range
     From cloud to tumbling cloud,
     Minute by minute they change;
     A shadow of cloud on the stream
     Changes minute by minute;
     A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
     And a horse plashes within it;
     The long-legged moor-hens dive,
     And hens to moor-cocks call;
     Minute by minute they live:
     The stone's in the midst of all.

     Too long a sacrifice
     Can make a stone of the heart.
     O when may it suffice?
     That is Heaven's part, our part
     To murmur name upon name,
     As a mother names her child
     When sleep at last has come
     On limbs that had run wild.
     What is it but nightfall?
     No, no, not night but death;
     Was it needless death after all?
     For England may keep faith
     For all that is done and said.
     We know their dream; enough
     To know they dreamed and are dead;
     And what if excess of love
     Bewildered them till they died?
     I write it out in a verse -
     MacDonagh and MacBride
     And Connolly and Pearse
     Now and in time to be,
     Wherever green is worn,
     Are changed, changed utterly:
     A terrible beauty is born. 
     William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Dette digt handler om den irske påskeopstand i 1916 - læs f.eks. her om baggrunden.

Digtet skal bl.a. ses som digterens forsinkede anerkendelse af oprøret og de fire mænd, det mindes, som alle gav deres liv under opstanden. A terrible beauty is born.