Best Famous Edmund Burke Poems
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William Butler Yeats |
My great-grandfather spoke to Edmund Burke
In Grattan's house.
My great-grandfather shared
A pot-house bench with Oliver Goldsmith once.
My great-grandfather's father talked of music,
Drank tar-water with the Bishop of Cloyne.
But mine saw Stella once.
Whence came our thought?
From four great minds that hated Whiggery.
Burke was a Whig.
Whether they knew or not,
Goldsmith and Burke, Swift and the Bishop of Cloyne
All hated Whiggery; but what is Whiggery?
A levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind
That never looked out of the eye of a saint
Or out of drunkard's eye.
All's Whiggery now,
But we old men are massed against the world.
American colonies, Ireland, France and India
Harried, and Burke's great melody against it.
Oliver Goldsmith sang what he had seen,
Roads full of beggars, cattle in the fields,
But never saw the trefoil stained with blood,
The avenging leaf those fields raised up against it.
The tomb of Swift wears it away.
Soft as the rustle of a reed from Cloyne
That gathers volume; now a thunder-clap.
What schooling had these four?
They walked the roads
Mimicking what they heard, as children mimic;
They understood that wisdom comes of beggary.