Before The World Was Made

If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet,
Or ask if all be right
From mirror after mirror,
No vanity’s displayed:
I’m looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.

What if I look upon a man
As though on my beloved,
And my blood be cold the while
And my heart unmoved?
Why should he think me cruel
Or that he is betrayed?
I’d have him love the thing that was
Before the world was made.

  — William B. Yeats

(emphasis mine)

Set to music (YouTube)

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4 Responses to Before The World Was Made

  1. gayanee says:

    Wow! Tears! <3

  2. Amaryllis says:

    I am delighted by this poem from the past, and all the others I read like it, that contain pointers to ‘the face before I was born’, and they remind me that this thread of awareness beyond the individual ‘i’ has always been present in human consciousness … and I find that reassuring, and like Gayanee said, moving… Thanks David…

    • Davidya says:

      Agreed Amaryllis. I saw an excerpt, so looked it up. I didn’t find a date but it’s roughly 100 years ago.

      Yeats won the Nobel prize for literature in 1923.

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