"The Scholars" by W.B. Yeats

The Scholars

Bald heads, forgetful of their sins,
Old, learned, respectable bald heads
Edit and annotate the lines
That young men, tossing on their beds,
Rhymed out in love’s despair
To flatter beauty’s ignorant ear.

All shuffle there, all cough in ink;
All wear the carpet with their shoes;
All think what other people think;
All know the man their neighbour knows.
Lord, what would they say
Did their Catullus walk that way?

–From The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats (1935), p. 158

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3 thoughts on “"The Scholars" by W.B. Yeats

  1. Reid remarked:

    On the other hand…

    On Hearing That The Students Of Our New University Have Joined The Agitation Against Immoral Literature

    Where, where but here have pride and Truth,
    That long to give themselves for wage,
    To shake their wicked sides at youth
    Restraining reckless middle-age?

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  2. “So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
    Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres-
    Trying to use words, and every attempt
    Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
    Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
    For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
    One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
    Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
    With shabby equipment always deteriorating
    In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
    Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
    By strength and submission, has already been discovered
    Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
    To emulate – but there is no competition –
    There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
    And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
    That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
    For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

    – T.S. Eliot

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