Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop


I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
‘Those breasts are flat and fallen now
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion
Not in some foul sty.'

‘Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,' I cried.
‘My friends are gone, but that's a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart's pride.

‘A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.'


William Butler Yeats, The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats, The Macmillan Company, 1956.