ENG 2653: W.B. Yeats’s “A Last Confession”

Reading the William Butler Yeats poem “When You Are Old” made me want to read more of his poetry, so I did. This poem in particular spoke to me. I love that the voice is that of a woman, and I think Yeats has hit on some of women’s feelings related to sex very well. So, here’s this:

A Last Confession

What lively lad most pleasured me
Of all that with me lay?
I answer that I gave my soul
And loved in misery,
But had great pleasure with a lad
That I loved bodily.

Flinging from his arms I laughed
To think his passion such
He fancied that I gave a soul
Did but our bodies touch,
And laughed upon his breast to think
Beast gave beast as much.

I gave what other women gave
That stepped out of their clothes.
But when this soul, its body off,
Naked to naked goes,
He it has found shall find therein
What none other knows,

And give his own and take his own
And rule in his own right;
And though it loved in misery
Close and cling so tight,
There’s not a bird of day that dare
Extinguish that delight

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