William Butler Yeats




The Black Tower

Say that the men of the old black tower
Though they but feed as the goatherd feeds
Their money spent, their wine gone sour,
Lack nothing that a soldier needs,
That all are oath-bound men
Those banners come not in.

There in the tomb stand the dead upright
But winds come up from the shore
They shake when the winds roar
Old bones upon the mountain shake.

Those banners come to bribe or threaten
Or whisper that a man's a fool
Who when his own right king's forgotten
Cares what king sets up his rule.
If he died long ago
Why do you dread us so?

There in the tomb drops the faint moonlight
But wind comes up from the shore
They shake when the winds roar
Old bones upon the mountain shake.

The tower's old cook that must climb and clamber
Catching small birds in the dew of the morn
When we hale men lie stretched in slumber
Swears that he hears the king's great horn.
But he's a lying hound:
Stand we on guard oath-bound!

There in the tomb the dark grows blacker
But wind comes up from the shore
They shake when the winds roar
Old bones upon the mountain shake. 


spoken = Alan Reinhardt