You gave but will not give again Until enough of Paudeens pence By Biddys halfpennies have lain To be some sort of evidence, Before youll put your guineas down, That things it were a pride to give Are what the blind and ignorant town Imagines best to make it thrive. What cared Duke Ercole, that bid His mummers to the market place, What th onion-sellers thought or did So that his Plautus set the pace For the Italian comedies? And Guidobaldo, when he made That grammar school of courtesies Where wit and beauty learned their trade Upon Urbinos windy hill, Had sent no runners to and fro That he might learn the shepherds will. And when they drove out Cosimo, Indifferent how the rancour ran, He gave the hours they had set free To Michelozzos latest plan For the San Marco Library, Whence turbulent Italy should draw Delight in Art whose end is peace, In logic and in natural law By sucking at the dugs of Greece. Your open hand but shows our loss, For he knew better how to live. Let Paudeens play at pitch and toss, Look up in the suns eye and give What the exultant heart calls good That some new day may breed the best Because you gave, not what they would But the right twigs for an eagles nest!
Return to the William Butler Yeats library , or . . . Read the next poem; To A Young Beauty