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

17. On Woman

MAY God be praised for woman

That gives up all her mind,

A man may find in no man

A friendship of her kind

That covers all he has brought

As with her flesh and bone,

Nor quarrels with a thought

Because it is not her own.

Though pedantry denies,

It’s plain the Bible means

That Solomon grew wise

While talking with his queens.

Yet never could, although

They say he counted grass,

Count all the praises due

When Sheba was his lass,

When she the iron wrought, or

When from the smithy fire

It shuddered in the water:

Harshness of their desire

That made them stretch and yawn,

Pleasure that comes with sleep,

Shudder that made them one.

What else He give or keep

God grant me—no, not here,

For I am not so bold

To hope a thing so dear

Now I am growing old,

But when if the tale’s true

The Pestle of the moon

That pounds up all anew

Brings me to birth again—

To find what once I had

And know what once I have known,

Until I am driven mad,

Sleep driven from my bed,

By tenderness and care,

Pity, an aching head,

Gnashing of teeth, despair;

And all because of some one

Perverse creature of chance,

And live like Solomon

That Sheba led a dance.