Come let us mock at the great
That had such burdens on the mind
And toiled so hard and late
To leave some monument behind,
Nor thought of the levelling wind.
Come let us mock at the wise;
With all those calendars whereon
They fixed old aching eyes,
They never saw how seasons run,
And now but gape at the sun.
Come let us mock at the good
That fancied goodness might be gay,
And sick of solitude
Might proclaim a holiday:
Wind shrieked— and where are they?
Mock mockers after that
That would not lift a hand maybe
To help good, wise or great
To bar that foul storm out, for we
Traffic in mockery.
~William Butler Yeats, “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen”
We, the Great, have gone away:
A reprieve, from listless minds.
We will not shout – and no longer say
Our words to winds –
When all but virtue binds.
We, the Wise, do now despise
Those days and nights of toil:
The boor now bears the sage’s guise,
So our wisdoms roil –
Hearts to curd and spoil.
We, the Good, that should be gay,
trudge the earth distraught.
The skies are gray – and no holiday
proclaims the bezels we sought:
or the demons we braved and fought.
No one mocks mockers –
Not a finger was lifted
To aid the Good, Wise or Great
To weather that foul storm, because
we traffic in mockery.