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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William Butler Yeats 1865–1939

The Rose of the World


WHO dreamed that beauty passes like a dream?

For these red lips with all their mournful pride,

Mournful that no new wonder may betide,

Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam,

And Usna’s children died.

We and the laboring world are passing by:—

Amid men’s souls that day by day gives place,

More fleeting than the sea’s foam-fickle face,

Under the passing stars, foam of the sky,

Lives on this lonely face.

Bow down, archangels, in your dim abode:

Before ye were or any hearts to beat,

Weary and kind one stood beside His seat;

He made the world, to be a grassy road

Before her wandering feet.