Remorse for Intemperate Speech

WE have grown afraid of hatred and repeat our protestations of its absence from our purified hearts on all occasions. Yeats was not so afraid. He even said it was his most vital source of inspiration and described how he sat at his desk and rocked himself into hatred of some person, tendency or belief before beginning a poem. Of course the hatred he refers to here has evidently been expressed loosely in speech rather than transmuted into art. But he is right about the peculiar intimacy of Irish hatred as opposed to the more impersonal hatreds of other places.

I ranted to the knave and fool,

But outgrew that school,

Would transform the part,

Fit audience found, but cannot rule

My fanatic heart.

I sought my betters: though in each

Fine manners, liberal speech,

Turn hatred into sport,

Nothing said or done can reach

My fanatic heart.

Out of Ireland have we come.

Great hatred, little room,

Maimed us at the start.

I carry from my mother’s womb

A fanatic heart.

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