Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BALLAD OF THE FOXHUNTER, by WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE BALLAD OF THE FOXHUNTER, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Now lay me in a cushioned chair
Last Line: The hounds wail for the dead.
Alternate Author Name(s): Yeats, W. B.
Subject(s): Hunting; Hunters


"Now lay me in a cushioned chair
"And carry me, you four,
"With cushions here and cushions there,
"To see the world once more.
"And some one from the stables bring
"My Dermot dear and brown,
"And lead him gently in a ring,
"And gently up and down.
"Now leave the chair upon the grass:
"Bring hound and huntsman here,
"And I on this strange road will pass,
"Filled full of ancient cheer."
His eyelids droop, his head falls low,
His old eyes cloud with dreams;
The sun upon all things that grow
Pours round in sleepy streams.
Brown Dermot treads upon the lawn,
And to the armchair goes,
And now the old man's dreams are gone,
He smooths the long brown nose.
And now moves many a pleasant tongue
Upon his wasted hands,
For leading aged hounds and young
The huntsman near him stands.
"My huntsman, Rody, blow the horn,
"And make the hills reply."
The huntsman loosens on the morn
A gay and wandering cry.
A fire is in the old man's eyes,
His fingers move and sway,
And when the wandering music dies
They hear him feebly say,
"My huntsman, Rody, blow the horn,
"And make the hills reply."
"I cannot blow upon my horn,
"I can but weep and sigh."
The servants round his cushioned place
Are with new sorrow wrung;
And hounds are gazing on his face,
Both aged hounds and young.
One blind hound only lies apart
On the sun-smitten grass;
He holds deep commune with his heart:
The moments pass and pass;
The blind hound with a mournful din
Lifts slow his wintry head;
The servants bear the body in;
The hounds wail for the dead.




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