Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven


Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven is a poem by William Butler Yeats. It was published in 1899 in his third volume of poetry, "The Wind Among the Reeds."

Commentary

The speaker of the poem is the character Aedh, who appears in Yeats's work alongside two other archetypal characters of the poet's myth: Michael Robartes and Red Hanrahan. The three are collectively known as the principles of the mind. Whereas Robartes is intellectually powerful and Hanrahan represents Romantic primitivism, Aedh is pale, lovelorn, and in the thrall of La belle dame sans merci. [Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (December 1968), "'Principles of the Mind': Continuity in Yeats's Poetry". "Comparative Literature" 83 (6): 882-889] (The character 'Aedh' is replaced in volumes of Yeats's collected poetry by a more generic 'he.')

Allusions

The poem was used in both the films "Equilibrium" and "84 Charing Cross Road".

Text

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.

References


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