I meditate upon a swallow's flight, Upon a aged woman and her house, A sycamore and lime-tree lost in night Although that western cloud is luminous, Great works constructed there in nature's spite For scholars and for poets after us, Thoughts long knitted into a single thought, A dance-like glory that those walls begot. There Hyde before he had beaten into prose That noble blade the Muses buckled on, There one that ruffled in a manly pose For all his timid heart, there that slow man, That meditative man, John Synge, and those Impetuous men, Shawe-Taylor and Hugh Lane, Found pride established in humility, A scene well Set and excellent company. They came like swallows and like swallows went, And yet a woman's powerful character Could keep a Swallow to its first intent; And half a dozen in formation there, That seemed to whirl upon a compass-point, Found certainty upon the dreaming air, The intellectual sweetness of those lines That cut through time or cross it withershins. Here, traveller, scholar, poet, take your stand When all those rooms and passages are gone, When nettles wave upon a shapeless mound And saplings root among the broken stone, And dedicate, eyes bent upon the ground, Back turned upon the brightness of the sun And all the sensuality of the shade, A moment's memory to that laurelled head. Under my window-ledge the waters race, Otters below and moor-hens on the top, Run for a mile undimmed in Heaven's face Then darkening through "dark' Raftery's "cellar' drop, Run underground, rise in a rocky place In Coole demesne, and there to finish up Spread to a lake and drop into a hole. What's water but the generated soul? Upon the border of that lake's a wood Now all dry sticks under a wintry sun, And in a copse of beeches there I stood, For Nature's pulled her tragic buskin on And all the rant's a mirror of my mood: At sudden thunder of the mounting swan I turned about and looked where branches break The glittering reaches of the flooded lake. Another emblem there! That stormy white But seems a concentration of the sky; And, like the soul, it sails into the sight And in the morning's gone, no man knows why; And is so lovely that it sets to right What knowledge or its lack had set awry, So atrogantly pure, a child might think It can be murdered with a spot of ink. Sound of a stick upon the floor, a sound From somebody that toils from chair to chair; Beloved books that famous hands have bound, Old marble heads, old pictures everywhere; Great rooms where travelled men and children found Content or joy; a last inheritor Where none has reigned that lacked a name and fame Or out of folly into folly came. A spot whereon the founders lived and died Seemed once more dear than life; ancestral trees, Or gardens rich in memory glorified Marriages, alliances and families, And every bride's ambition satisfied. Where fashion or mere fantasy decrees We shift about, all that great glory spent, Like some poor Arab tribesman and his tent. We were the last romantics, chose for theme Traditional sanctity and loveliness; Whatever's written in what poets name The book of the people; whatever most can bless The mind of man or elevate a rhyme; But all is changed, that high horse riderless, Though mounted in that saddle Homer rode Where the swan drifts upon a darkening flood.