W. B. Yeats

The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner

Compare the early and revised versions.

The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner


I had a chair at every hearth,
When no one turned to see
With "Look at the old fellow there,
And who may he be?"
And therefore do I wander now,
And the fret lies on me.

The roadside trees keep murmuring--
Ah, wherefore murmur ye
As in the old days long gone by,
Green oak and poplar tree?
The well-known faces are all gone
And the fret lies on me.

(1st pubd. 1890; text of 1892)

The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner

Although I shelter from the rain
Under a broken tree
My chair was nearest to the fire
In every company
That talked of love or politics,
Ere Time transfigured me.

Though lads are making pikes again
For some conspiracy,
And crazy rascals rage their fill
At human tyranny,
My contemplations are of Time
That has transfigured me.

There's not a woman turns her face
Upon a broken tree,
And yet the beauties that I loved
Are in my memory;
I spit into the face of Time
That has transfigured me.

(revised text of 1925)

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