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By William Butler Yeats

Now all the truth is out,

Be secret and take defeat

From any brazen throat,

For how can you compete,

Being honor bred, with one

Who were it proved he lies

Were neither shamed in his own

Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;

Bred to a harder thing

Than Triumph, turn away

And like a laughing string

Whereon mad fingers play

Amid a place of stone,

Be secret and exult,

Because of all things known

That is most difficult.


n/a ; published in PM

Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

Poet Bio

Born in Dublin, Ireland, William Butler Yeats was an enormously influential poet and playwright, whose work formed a clear link between the Romantic and Modern eras. His strong nationalism appeared in his poetry through the recurrent themes of Irish mythology and folklore. Yeats became deeply involved in Irish politics and was even appointed a senator of the Irish Free State. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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