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Brown Penny
by
William Butler Yeats


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I whispered, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.

O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

This poem is in the public domain.

 

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William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)  was an Irish poet from an artistic family; his work was greatly influenced by his country's beauty, folklore, and politics. Considered one of the most significant figures in 20th century literature, Yeats had a lifelong fascination with mysticism and was involved with art and theatre as well as poetry. At 24, he met the great love of his life, Maud Gonne; though she inspired many poems and received multiple proposals from the poet, she married another man and, even after her husband was killed in battle, refused to marry Yeats. He ultimately married a much younger woman and, though the marriage was considered a happy one, Yeats was involved with a number of other women; he claimed it fueled his creative output.

 

 


Post New Comment:
jeen:
this is prettyy sttsutipsdd
Posted 11/04/2015 11:54 AM
rhonasheridan:
Pennies are copper. This wee poem is a delight.
Posted 07/14/2014 05:47 AM
peninsulapoet:
I have always loved this one.
Posted 07/12/2014 09:43 AM
solorex:
I wonder if "brown penny" could be code for one of his "other women." Thoughts?
Posted 07/12/2014 09:18 AM
Cindy:
Yes! A good one.
Posted 07/12/2014 08:57 AM
Dianalt:
I couldn't bear to see that this great poet didn't elicit one single comment. "I am looped in the loops of her hair." "And the shadows eaten the moon." Unexpected language for its time and certainly one of the hallmarks of Yeats' poetry. D.A.
Posted 07/12/2014 08:45 AM


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