William Butler Yeats
You think it horrible that lust and rage
Should dance attention upon my old age;
They were not such a plague when I was young;
What else have I to spur me into song?
The cornfields rise above mankind,
Lifting white torches to the blue,
Each season not ashamed to be
Magnificently decked for you.
What right have you to call them yours,
And in brute lust of riches burn
Without some radiant penance wrought,
Some beautiful, devout return?
CXVIII. ? ON GUT.
GUT eats all day and letchers all the night,
So all his meat he tasteth over twice ;
And striving so to double his delight,
He makes himself a thorough-fare of vice.
Thus, in his belly, can he change a sin,
Lust it comes out, that gluttony went in.
The fruit rolled by all day.
They prayed the cogs would creep;
They thought about Saturday pay,
And Sunday sleep.
Whatever he smelled was good:
The fruit and flesh smells mixed.
There beside him she stood,--
And he, perplexed;
He, in his shrunken britches,
Eyes rimmed with pickle dust,
Prickling with all the itches
Of sixteen-year-old lust.
Riches I hold in light esteem,
And love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream
That vanish'd with the morn:
And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, "Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty!"
Yes, as my swift days near their goal,
'Tis all that I implore:
In life and death a chainless soul,
With courage to endure
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Since so ye please to hear me plain,
And that ye do rejoice my smart,
Me list no lenger to remain
To such as be so overthwart.
But cursed be that cruel heart
Which hath procur'd a careless mind
For me and mine unfeigned smart,
And forceth me such faults to find.
More than too much I am assured
Of thine intent, whereto to trust;
A speedless proof I have endured,
And now I leave it to them that lust.
Edgar Lee Masters
You observe the carven hand
With the index finger pointing heavenward.
That is the direction, no doubt.
But how shall one follow it?
It is well to abstain from murder and lust,
To forgive, do good to others, worship God
Without graven images.
But these are external means after all
By which you chiefly do good to yourself.
The inner kernel is freedom,
It is light, purity --
I can no more,
Find the goal or lose it, according to your vision.
To you who’d read my songs of War
And only hear of blood and fame,
I’ll say (you’ve heard it said before)
”War’s Hell!” and if you doubt the same,
Today I found in Mametz Wood
A certain cure for lust of blood:
Where, propped against a shattered trunk,
In a great mess of things unclean,
Sat a dead Boche; he scowled and stunk
With clothes and face a sodden green,
Big-bellied, spectacled, crop-haired,
Dribbling black blood from nose and beard.