Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition

Background details and bibliographic information

A Prayer for my Daughter

Author: William Butler Yeats

File Description

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by Beatrix Färber

Funded by School of History, University College, Cork

1. First draft.

Extent of text: 1115 words

Publication

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork
College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

(2014)

Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: E910001-065

Availability [RESTRICTED]

The works by W. B. Yeats are in the public domain. This electronic text is available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of private or academic research and teaching.

Notes

This poem was written between February and June 1919 and first published in Poetry in November 1919 (A. Norman Jeffares, p. 244).

Sources

    Literature (a small selection)
  1. W. B. Yeats, The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats, consisting of Reveries over childhood and youth, The trembling of the veil, and Dramatis personae (New York 1938).
  2. Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks. Corrected edition with a new preface (Oxford 1979). [First published New York 1948; reprinted London 1961.]
  3. Peter Allt and Russell K. Alspach, The Variorum Edition of the Poems of W.B. Yeats (New York: Macmillan 1957).
  4. W. B. Yeats, Essays and Introductions (New York: Macmillan 1961).
  5. W. B. Yeats, Explorations: selected by Mrs W. B. Yeats (London/New York: Macmillan 1962).
  6. Richard Ellmann, The Identity of Yeats (New York 1964).
  7. A. Norman Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B. Yeats (Stanford 1984).
  8. A general bibliography is available online at the official web site of the Nobel Prize. See: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1923/yeats-bibl.html
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. William Butler Yeats A Prayer for my Daughter in , Ed. Richard J. Finneran The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats. Macmillan Press, London, (1991) pages 190–192

Encoding

Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The whole poem.

Editorial Declaration

Correction

The text has been proof-read twice.

Normalization

The electronic text represents the edited text.

Hyphenation

The editorial practice of the hard-copy editor has been retained.

Segmentation

div0= the individual poem, stanzas are marked lg.

Interpretation

Names of persons (given names), and places are not tagged. Terms for cultural and social roles are not tagged.

Profile Description

Created: (1919)

Use of language

Language: [EN] The poem is in English.

Revision History


Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E910001-065

A Prayer for my Daughter: Author: William Butler Yeats


p.190

  1. Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
    Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
    My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
    But Gregory's wood and one bare hill
    Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind.
    Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
    And for an hour I have walked and prayed
    Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.
  2. I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour
    And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,
    And-under the arches of the bridge, and scream
    In the elms above the flooded stream;
    Imagining in excited reverie
    That the future years had come,
    Dancing to a frenzied drum,
    Out of the murderous innocence of the sea.
  3. May she be granted beauty and yet not
    Beauty to make a stranger's eye distraught,
    Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
    Being made beautiful overmuch,
    Consider beauty a sufficient end,
    Lose natural kindness and maybe
    The heart-revealing intimacy
    That chooses right, and never find a friend.

  4. p.191

  5. Helen being chosen found life flat and dull
    And later had much trouble from a fool,
    While that great Queen, that rose out of the spray,
    Being fatherless could have her way
    Yet chose a bandy-legged smith for man.
    It's certain that fine women eat
    A crazy salad with their meat
    Whereby the Horn of plenty is undone.
  6. In courtesy I'd have her chiefly learned;
    Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned
    By those that are not entirely beautiful;
    Yet many, that have played the fool
    For beauty's very self, has charm made wisc.
    And many a poor man that has roved,
    Loved and thought himself beloved,
    From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.
  7. May she become a flourishing hidden tree
    That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,
    And have no business but dispensing round
    Their magnanimities of sound,
    Nor but in merriment begin a chase,
    Nor but in merriment a quarrel.
    O may she live like some green laurel
    Rooted in one dear perpetual place.
  8. My mind, because the minds that I have loved,
    The sort of beauty that I have approved,
    Prosper but little, has dried up of late,
    Yet knows that to be choked with hate
    May well be of all evil chances chief.
    If there's no hatred in a mind
    Assault and battery of the wind
    Can never tear the linnet from the leaf.

  9. p.192

  10. An intellectual hatred is the worst,
    So let her think opinions are accursed.
    Have I not seen the loveliest woman born
    Out of the mouth of plenty's horn,
    Because of her opinionated mind
    Barter that horn and every good
    By quiet natures understood
    For an old bellows full of angry wind?
  11. Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
    The soul recovers radical innocence
    And learns at last that it is self-delighting,
    Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
    And that its own sweet will is Heaven's will;
    She can, though every face should scowl
    And every windy quarter howl
    Or every bellows burst, be happy still.
  12. And may her bridegroom bring her to a house
    Where all's accustomed, ceremonious;
    For arrogance and hatred are the wares
    Peddled in the thoroughfares.
    How but in custom and in ceremony
    Are innocence and beauty born?
    Ceremony's a name for the rich horn,
    And custom for the spreading laurel tree.