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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry. 1920.

William Butler Yeats1865–1939

The Cap and Bells

A QUEEN was beloved by a jester,

And once when the owls grew still

He made his soul go upward

And stand on her window sill.

In a long and straight blue garment,

It talked before morn was white,

And it had grown wise by thinking

Of a footfall hushed and light.

But the young queen would not listen;

She rose in her pale nightgown,

She drew in the brightening casement

And pushed the brass bolt down.

He bade his heart go to her,

When the bats cried out no more,

In a red and quivering garment

It sang to her through the door.

The tongue of it sweet with dreaming

Of a flutter of flower-like hair,

But she took up her fan from the table

And waved it off on the air.

‘I’ve cap and bells,’ he pondered,

‘I will send them to her and die.’

And as soon as the morn had whitened

He left them where she went by.

She laid them upon her bosom,

Under a cloud of her hair,

And her red lips sang them a love song.

The stars grew out of the air.

She opened her door and her window,

And the heart and the soul came through,

To her right hand came the red one,

To her left hand came the blue.

They set up a noise like crickets,

A chattering wise and sweet,

And her hair was a folded flower,

And the quiet of love her feet.