Michael Robartes And The Dancer by William Butler Yeats
He. Opinion is not worth a rush; In this altar-piece the knight, Who grips his long spear so to push That dragon through the fading light, Loved the lady; and it's plain The half-dead dragon was her thought, That every morning rose again And dug its claws and shrieked and fought. Could the impossible come to pass She would have time to turn her eyes, Her lover thought, upon the glass And on the instant would grow wise.
She. You mean they argued.
He. Put it so; But bear in mind your lover's wage Is what your looking-glass can show, And that he will turn green with rage At all that is not pictured there.
She. May I not put myself to college?
He. Go pluck Athene by the hair; For what mere book can grant a knowledge With an impassioned gravity Appropriate to that beating breast, That vigorous thigh, that dreaming eye? And may the Devil take the rest.
She. And must no beautiful woman be Learned like a man?
He. Paul Veronese And all his sacred company Imagined bodies all their days By the lagoon you love so much, For proud, soft, ceremonious proof That all must come to sight and touch; While Michael Angelo's Sistine roof, His "Morning' and his "Night' disclose How sinew that has been pulled tight, Or it may be loosened in repose, Can rule by supernatural right Yet be but sinew.
She. I have heard said There is great danger in the body.
He. Did God in portioning wine and bread Give man His thought or His mere body?
She. My wretched dragon is perplexed.
Hec. I have principles to prove me right. It follows from this Latin text That blest souls are not composite, And that all beautiful women may Live in uncomposite blessedness, And lead us to the like - if they Will banish every thought, unless The lineaments that please their view When the long looking-glass is full, Even from the foot-sole think it too.