Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Sailing to Byzantium" - drafts of the first stanza

Original draft according to Curtis Bradford:

This is no country for old men – if our Lord
Smiles
Is a smiling child upon his mother’s knees
And in the hills the old gods / Those – I know now
What names to call them by – still hunt and love
There is still a love for those that can still sing
All / For all the
Forever sing the song that . . . you have sung

Original draft according to A. Norman Jeffares:

All in this land – my Maker that is play
Or else asleep upon His Mother’s knees,
Others that as the mountain people say
Are at their hunting and their gallantries
Under the hills, as in our fathers’ day
The changing colours of the hills and seas
All that men know or think they know, being young,
Cry that my tale is told, my story sung.

Third draft via Marjorie Perloff:

This/ Here/ That is no country for old me – the young
Pass by me/ That travel singing of their loves, the trees
Break/ Clad in such foliage that it seems a song
The shadow of the birds upon the seas
The leaping fish, the fields all summer long
The leaping fish/ The crowding fish commend all summer long
Deceiving [?] abundance/ Plenty, but no monument
Commends the never aging intellect
The salmon rivers, the fish/ mackerel crowded seas
Flesh/ All/ Fish flesh and fowl, all spring all summer long
What/ Commemorate what is begot and dies.

Final version:

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

- W.B. Yeats

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