The Second Coming

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
Publication Notes

Michael Robartes and the Dancer, 1921.

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