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The Stolen Child

January 31, 2008 at 9:49 pm UTC

Before I talk about setting this magnificent text, I thought I’d post it in case anyone hadn’t seen it before. Just exquisite poetry, written when Yeats was just twenty years old:

The Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scare could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

William Butler Yeats

  • Matt Krane

    The poem is absolutely beautiful, I must say.

  • http://www.myspace.com/toxicpopsicle Marcus McLeod

    This poem makes me really sad…

    Did you write another song like "When David Heard" that's going to bring me to tears every time I hear it?

  • Alek Deva

    I really really love Yeats. I fancy myself somewhat of a poet myself, though not a very good one; but I do love poetry and the art of playing with words. I'm really excited to hear this one. I love what you did with the e. e. cummings that starts "i thank you god for most this amazing day." and i think poetry can inspire such amazing music.

    I dream of one day commissioning you to write a choral piece from one of my poems. A lofty dream, but I'll get there!

    -Alek Deva

  • Alek Deva

    I know you've heard this plenty, but I don't think it can be said enough: Thank you so much for starting this blog and letting all of your fans in on what's going on for you and how things are going for you. It an inspiration to read about your creative process and just what you've been doing musically. Thank you again.

    -Alek Deva

  • Irine Rossouw

    This year in my English Literature 12 class, we analyzed this poem by Yeats. He is certainly one of my favorites, but I would, if I may, suggest something a bit stranger that would sound incredible with your style of music. William Blake's poetry has always been a favorite of mine, mainly because it's incredibly mysterious and strange. The poem Auguries of Innocence by Blake is pretty long, but it would be interesting to hear it to music. I know you must not have a lot of time, and I completely understand, just thought I'd suggest it, maybe even introduce a new poem to you. You may have heard it though. Also I would like to say that your music moves me. It's such an inspiration to hear your compositions, I don't even really know how to put the amazing affect that your music has had on me in words. The composition "Lux Aurumque" is one of my favorites, and I have convinced my choir to try it this year. Each year, my choir hosts an annual Vocal Summit festival, where over 50 choirs come to the small town of Powell River, BC to perform. Guest arrangers and composers gather to this festival too. Many of your pieces are beautifully sung at this festival, and I am looking forward to hearing more of your work. I just want to say thank you, I feel honoured to be living while such a great composer is alive. Your music brings life to people, and I want to thank you for bringing us inspiration.