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W.B. Yeats (1865–1939). The Wild Swans at Coole. 1919.

13. Tom O’Roughley

‘THOUGH logic choppers rule the town,

And every man and maid and boy

Has marked a distant object down,

An aimless joy is a pure joy,’

Or so did Tom O’Roughley say

That saw the surges running by,

‘And wisdom is a butterfly

And not a gloomy bird of prey.

‘If little planned is little sinned

But little need the grave distress.

What’s dying but a second wind?

How but in zigzag wantonness

Could trumpeter Michael be so brave?’

Or something of that sort he said,

‘And if my dearest friend were dead

I’d dance a measure on his grave.’