Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats: Definitive Edition, with the Author's Final Revisions (New York: Macmillan, 1933), pp. 242-43. Text checked by FWP.
Mohini Chatterjee (1928)

by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

I asked if I should pray,
But the Brahmin said,
'Pray for nothing, say
Every night in bed,
"I have been a king,
I have been a slave.
Nor is there anything,
Fool, rascal, knave,
That I have not been,
And yet upon my breast
A myriad heads have lain."'

That he might set at rest
A boy's turbulent days
Mohini Chatterjee
Spoke these, or words like these.
I add in commentary,
'Old lovers yet may have
All that time denied --
Grave is heaped on grave
That they be satisfied --
Over the blackened earth
The old troops parade,
Birth is heaped on birth
That such cannonade
May thunder time away,
Birth-hour and death-hour meet,
Or, as great sages say,
Men dance on deathless feet.'

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