Here you will find the Long Poem A Dramatic Poem of poet William Butler Yeats
The deck of an ancient ship. At the right of the stage is the mast, with a large square sail hiding a great deal of the sky and sea on that side. The tiller is at the left of the stage; it is a long oar coming through an opening in the bulwark. The deck rises in a series of steps hehind the tiller, and the stern of the ship curves overhead. When the play opens there are four persons upon the deck. Aibric stands by the tiller. Forgael sleeps upon the raised portion of the deck towards the front of the stage. Two Sailors are standing near to the mast, on which a harp is hanging. First Sailor. Has he not led us into these waste seas For long enough? Second Sailor. Aye, long and long enough. First Sailor. We have not come upon a shore or ship These dozen weeks. Sccond Sailor. And I had thought to make A good round Sum upon this cruise, and turn -- For I am getting on in life -- to something That has less ups and downs than robbery. First Sailor. I am so tired of being bachelor I could give all my heart to that Red Moll That had but the one eye. Second Sailor. Can no bewitchment Transform these rascal billows into women That I may drown myself? First Sailor. Better steer home, Whether he will or no; and better still To take him while he sleeps and carry him And drop him from the gunnel. Second Sailor. I dare not do it. Were't not that there is magic in his harp, I would be of your mind; but when he plays it Strange creatures flutter up before one's eyes, Or cry about one's ears. First Sailor. Nothing to fear. Second Sailor. Do you remember when we sank that galley At the full moon? First Sailor. He played all through the night. Second Sailor. Until the moon had set; and when I looked Where the dead drifted, I could see a bird Like a grey gull upon the breast of each. While I was looking they rose hurriedly, And after circling with strange cries awhile Flew westward; and many a time since then I've heard a rustling overhead in the wind. First Sailor. I saw them on that night as well as you. But when I had eaten and drunk myself asleep My courage came again. Second Sailor. But that's not all. The other night, while he was playing it, A beautiful young man and girl came up In a white breaking wave; they had the look Of those that are alive for ever and ever. First Sailor. I saw them, too, one night. Forgael was playing, And they were listening ther& beyond the sail. He could not see them, but I held out my hands To grasp the woman. Second Sailor. You have dared to touch her? First Sailor. O she was but a shadow, and slipped from me. Second Sailor. But were you not afraid? First Sailor. Why should I fear? Second Sailor. 'Twas Aengus and Edain, the wandering lovers, To whom all lovers pray. First Sailor. But what of that? A shadow does not carry sword or spear. Second Sailor. My mother told me that there is not one Of the Ever-living half so dangerous As that wild Aengus. Long before her day He carried Edain off from a king's house, And hid her among fruits of jewel-stone And in a tower of glass, and from that day Has hated every man that's not in love, And has been dangerous to him. First Sailor. I have heard He does not hate seafarers as he hates Peaceable men that shut the wind away, And keep to the one weary marriage-bed. Second Sailor. I think that he has Forgael in his net, And drags him through the sea, First Sailor Well, net or none, I'd drown him while we have the chance to do it. Second Sailor. It's certain I'd sleep easier o' nights If he were dead; but who will be our captain, Judge of the stars, and find a course for us? First Sailor. I've thought of that. We must have Aibric with us, For he can judge the stars as well as Forgael. [Going towards Aibric.] Become our captain, Aibric. I am resolved To make an end of Forgael while he sleeps. There's not a man but will be glad of it When it is over, nor one to grumble at us. Aibric. You have taken pay and made your bargain for it. First Sailor. What good is there in this hard way of living, Unless we drain more flagons in a year And kiss more lips than lasting peaceable men In their long lives? Will you be of our troop And take the captain's share of everything And bring us into populous seas again? Aibric. Be of your troop! Aibric be one of you And Forgael in the other scale! kill Forgael, And he my master from my childhood up! If you will draw that sword out of its scabbard I'll give my answer. First Sailor. You have awakened him. [To Second Sailor.] We'd better go, for we have lost this chance. [They go out.] Forgael. Have the birds passed us? I could hear your voice, But there were others. Aibric. I have seen nothing pass. Forgael.