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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Yeats: The Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Aengus was an Irish god whose fate had been to stay forever young. He felt in love for a girl who once came to him in a dream. The girl was metamorphosing herself in a swan, then back in a girl, again and again, and Aengus became sick with love, for ever. Yeats changed a little bit the legend, as in his poem the girl changes in a trout. Both trout and swan are associated with the universe of water, and the trout-girl recalls the Irish myth of the maighdean mhara (mermaids), who often bewitch men to fall in love with them (more in depth at http://literature-classics.knoji.com/the-song-of-wandering-aengus-by-wb-yeats-an-analysis/)

sung by Donovan
(video by Siss ham)

(William Butler Yeats)



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