Sunday, 21 November 2021

Men Improve with the Years (claims poet)

 For some unknown reason, this poem by W.B. Yeats turned up on my Facebook today. 
Has word got out that I am a weather-worn, marble triton?
The title is 'Men Improve with the Years', which sounds like Yeatsian wishful thinking. 'Is this my dream, or the truth?' 

I am worn out with dreams;
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams;
And all day long I look
Upon this lady's beauty
As though I had found in a book
A pictured beauty,
Pleased to have filled the eyes
Or the discerning ears,
Delighted to be but wise,
For men improve with the years;
And yet, and yet,
Is this my dream, or the truth?
O would that we had met
When I had my burning youth!
But I grow old among dreams,
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams.


  1. Hmm. On the other hand, the poem "The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Waters" includes the lines

    They had hands like claws, and their knees
    Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
    By the waters.

    One should perhaps not put too much trust in any single gambit of Yeats's.

  2. You're dead right there, George!
    And of course 'an old man is a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick'...

  3. Whoops – that is to say 'an aged man is but a paltry thing'...