Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology
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Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
 
The Sad Shepherd

William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)
 
THERE 1 was a man whom Sorrow named his friend,
And he, of his high comrade Sorrow dreaming,
Went walking with slow steps along the gleaming
And humming sands, where windy surges wend:
And he called loudly to the stars to bend        5
From their pale thrones and comfort him, but they
Among themselves laugh on and sing alway:
And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend
Cried out, Dim sea, hear my most piteous story!
The sea swept on and cried her old cry still,        10
Rolling along in dreams from hill to hill;
He fled the persecution of her glory
And, in a far-off, gentle valley stopping,
Cried all his story to the dewdrops glistening,
But naught they heard, for they are always listening,        15
The dewdrops, for the sound of their own dropping.
And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend
Sought once again the shore, and found a shell
And thought, I will my heavy story tell
Till my own words, re-echoing, shall send        20
Their sadness through a hollow, pearly heart;
And my own tale again for me shall sing,
And my own whispering words, be comforting:
And lo! my ancient burden may depart.
Then he sang softly nigh the pearly rim;        25
But the sad dweller by the sea-ways lone
Changed all he sang to inarticulate moan
Among her wildering whorls, forgetting him.
 
Note 1. W. B. Yeats. The sad Shepherd. [See No. 26.] Two misprints corrected. [back]
 
 
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