Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 274. The Rose of Battle
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
274. The Rose of Battle
By William Butler Yeats  (b. 1865)
  
ROSE of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
The tall thought-woven sails, that flap unfurled
Above the tide of hours, trouble the air,
And God’s bell buoyed to be the water’s care;
While hushed from fear, or loud with hope, a band        5
With blown, spray-dabbled hair gather at hand.
Turn if you may from battles never done,
I call, as they go by me one by one,
Danger no refuge holds, and war no peace,
For him who hears love sing and never cease,       10
Beside her clean-swept hearth, her quiet shade:
But gather all for whom no love hath made
A woven silence, or but came to cast
A song into the air, and singing past
To smile on the pale dawn; and gather you       15
Who have sought more than is in rain or dew
Or in the sun and moon, or on the earth,
Or sighs amid the wandering starry mirth,
Or comes in laughter from the sea’s sad lips;
And wage God’s battles in the long grey ships.       20
The sad, the lonely, the insatiable,
To these Old Night shall all her mystery tell;
God’s bell has claimed them by the little cry
Of their sad hearts, that may not live nor die.
 
Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!       25
You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.
Beauty grown sad with its eternity
Made you of us, and of the dim grey sea.       30
Our long ships loose thought-woven sails and wait,
For God has bid them share an equal fate;
And when at last defeated in His wars,
They have gone down under the same white stars,
We shall no longer hear the little cry       35
Of our sad hearts, that may not live nor die.

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