Never Give All the Heart by W.B. Yeats

20 de abril de 2010 | Por | Categoría: Literatura, Reseñas

W.B. Yeats – Never Give All the Heart

By Belén Sáez Hernáez

I would like to show you my favourite poem. The first time I listened to it was when I bought the CD Tears of Stone by The Chieftains. It’s a compilation of traditional Irish music and poems performed by the most relevant Irish artists. This is my favourite track (with Brenda Fricker, Anúna):

NEVER give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy. Kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

When I first read the poem, I thought it was the story of a betrayed lover, but then I remembered my own experience with lottery and learnt that this feeling of remorse can be applied to many other things in life. Whenever I buy a lottery ticket, I trust the luck of the draw, I am deaf and dumb and blind with … greed. However, I never win! But, despite the fact that I am never lucky, I always buy another ticket, that is, I keep feeling the brief, dreamy, kind delight yet another time. Another ticket, another love… Can you feel the colours now? Watch the video and feel the music.

A bit of history: William Butler Yeats is an acclaimed Irish poet and major playwright. He was considered a political and cultural leader in Ireland and as such was appointed senator of the Irish Free State in 1922. His approach to Arts started in his early years in County Sligo (Ireland) where he lived with his father, a famous painter at that time; but it was only when he moved to London that he discovered the new poetry trends in Fleet Street, a very prolific area close to St Paul’s Cathedral where British journalism was in its heyday.

Video from youtube, picture from google images.

4 Comments to “Never Give All the Heart by W.B. Yeats”

  1. carol dice:

    Beautiful poem, sadly true. This one, is one of my favourites (by W.B. Yeats too):

    HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

  2. bsaez dice:

    Thanx so much for your feedback and for sharing interests Carol. Your favourite poem is awesome as well.

  3. Raquel Heras dice:

    Absolutely true and human what you say about lottery!!!!!
    We keep tripping over the same stone again and again. After all, that only reflects how humans are, weak.
    On the other hand, dreams make our lives cheerful and more exciting, and enable us to pursue a more satisfying existence that we will never live in the real life, at least with our imagination. And I guess that, somehow, they help us to go on and to overcome difficulties and deception or even to endure boredom or routine. I have to admit that I often get carried away by my imagination. I feel ridiculous sometimes, but then I think: why not? what´s wrong with this? As John Lennon said » You may saaaaaay I am a dreameeer, but I am not the only one…»

  4. Alejandro Irausquin dice:

    Came here looking for a spanish version of the ‘Never …’ poem by Yeats. I listened to it last night in the movie Bossanova from Brazil. The actress is a private english teacher, and after feeling deceived, told it to the students. A true delight both to my ears (in english) and to my eyes (by reading the spanish captions).
    Although I found it here again in english, I am pleased that I also found his other poem. Best wishes from Venezuela.

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