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The Wild Swans at Coole

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THE WILD SWANS AT COOLE The trees are in their autumn beauty,The woodland paths are dry,Under the October twilight the waterMirrors a still sky;Upon the brimming water among the stonesAre nine and fifty swans. The nineteenth Autumn has come upon meSince I first made my count;I saw, before I had well finished,All suddenly mountAnd scatter wheeling in great broken ringsUpon their clamorous wings. I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,And now my heart is sore.All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,The first time on this shore,The bell-beat of their wings above my head,Trod with a lighter tread. Unwearied still, lover by lover,They paddle in the cold,Companionable streams or climb the air;Their hearts have not grown old;Passion or conquest, wander where they will,Attend upon them still. But now they drift on the still waterMysterious, beautiful;Among what rushes will they build,By what lake's edge or poolDelight men's eyes, when I awake some dayTo find they have flown away?

IN MEMORY OFMAJOR ROBERT GREGORY 1 Now that we're almost settled in our houseI'll name the friends that cannot sup with usBeside a fire of turf in the ancient tower,And having talked to some late hourClimb up the narrow winding stair to bed:Discoverers of forgotten truthOr mere companions of my youth,All, all are in my thoughts to-night, being dead. 2 Always we'd have the new friend meet the old,And we are hurt if either friend seem cold,And there is salt to lengthen out the smartIn the affections of our heart,And quarrels are blown up upon that head;But not a friend that I would bringThis night can set us quarrelling,For all that come into my mind are dead. 3 Lionel Johnson comes the first to mind,That loved his learning better than mankind,Though courteous to the worst; much falling heBrooded upon sanctityTill all his Greek and Latin learning seemedA long blast upon the horn that broughtA little nearer to his thoughtA measureless consummation that he dreamed. 4 And that enquiring man John Synge comes next,That dying chose the living world for textAnd never could have rested in the tombBut that, long travelling, he had comeTowards nightfall upon certain set apartIn a most desolate stony place,Towards nightfall upon a racePassionate and simple like his heart. 5 And then I think of old George Pollexfen,In muscular youth well known to Mayo menFor horsemanship at meets or at race-courses,That could have shown how purebred horsesAnd solid men, for all their passion, liveBut as the outrageous stars inclineBy opposition, square and trine;Having grown sluggish and contemplative. 6 They were my close companions many a year,A portion of my mind and life, as it were,And now their breathless faces seem to lookOut of some old picture-book;I am accustomed to their lack of breath,But not that my dear friend's dear son,Our Sidney and our perfect man,Could share in that discourtesy of death....