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From: Poetry with the Reds! - Fergus and the Druid





Im a shamless lovr of Yeats, for mst part lol, so yuoll see soem of his poems I liek crop up quite frequntly. This oen is abuot Fergus, legendry King of th Ulaidh who ws usurp and latr went into exile for King Conchobor dishonuring him, and he plays major role in th Irish epic Táin bó Cuailnge. He ws well know n for his intellignce an subtly, so in ths poem it sems to show hm gainin wisdm throgh forsight frm a druid.



Fergus and the Druid


Fergus This whole day have I followed in the rocks,

And you have changed and flowed from shape to shape,

First as a raven on whose ancient wings

Scarcely a feather lingered, then you seemed

A weasel moving on from stone to stone,

And now at last you wear a human shape,

A thin grey man half lost in gathering night.


Druid What would you, king of the proud Red Branch kings?


Fergus This would I Say, most wise of living souls:

Young subtle Conchubar sat close by me

When I gave judgment, and his words were wise,

And what to me was burden without end,

To him seemed easy, So I laid the crown

Upon his head to cast away my sorrow.


Druid What would you, king of the proud Red Branch kings?


Fergus A king and proud! and that is my despair.

I feast amid my people on the hill,

And pace the woods, and drive my chariot-wheels

In the white border of the murmuring sea;

And still I feel the crown upon my head.


Druid What would you, Fergus?


Fergus Be no more a king

But learn the dreaming wisdom that is yours.


Druid Look on my thin grey hair and hollow cheeks

And on these hands that may not lift the sword,

This body trembling like a wind-blown reed.

No woman's loved me, no man sought my help.


Fergus A king is but a foolish labourer

Who wastes his blood to be another's dream.


Druid Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams;

Unloose the cord, and they will wrap you round.


Fergus I See my life go drifting like a river

From change to change; I have been many things --

A green drop in the surge, a gleam of light

Upon a sword, a fir-tree on a hill,

An old slave grinding at a heavy quern,

A king sitting upon a chair of gold --

And all these things were wonderful and great;

But now I have grown nothing, knowing all.

Ah! Druid, Druid, how great webs of sorrow

Lay hidden in the small slate-coloured thing!



Source: Poetry with the Reds!



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