The Second Coming

Original Text: 

Yeats, William Butler. W. B. Yeats: Selected Poetry: 99-100. Ed. by A. Norman Jeffares. London: Macmillan, 1968.

1Turning and turning in the widening gyre
2The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
3Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
4Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
5The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
6The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
7The best lack all conviction, while the worst
8Are full of passionate intensity.
9Surely some revelation is at hand;
10Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
11The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
12When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
13Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
14A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
15A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
16Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
17Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
18The darkness drops again; but now I know
19That twenty centuries of stony sleep
20Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
21And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
22Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Publication Start Year: 
1921
Publication Notes: 

Michael Robartes and the Dancer, 1921.

RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh
RPO Edition: 
2009