That The Night Come

SHE lived in storm and strife,
Her soul had such desire
For what proud death may bring
That it could not endure
The common good of life,
But lived as 'twere a king
That packed his marriage day
With banneret and pennon,
Trumpet and kettledrum,
And the outrageous cannon,
To bundle time away
That the night come.

by William Butler Yeats

Comments (2)

So right, Bryan Baker. Included in a college literature textbook, it was given as an illustration of onomatopoeia. Banneret and pennon, trumpet and kettledrum, and the outrageous cannon... - the rhythmic noises of the celebration. Memorized it right then, just because I liked it so much. It's truly superb poetry that fits Coleridge's definition: The best words in the best order.
This is a supurb poem that strangely is seldom anthologized or even included in collections of the poet`s selected works. The image of a king killing time (bundling time away) on his wedding day with the noise and colour of the celebrations as he waits impatiently for night to come and with it the pleasures of the marriage bed wonderfully illuminates the subject of the poem: a woman (presumably the Irish nationalist Maud Gonne whom Yeats loved to distraction) who is seen as turning her back on life in an endless round of frenetic activity, as though, like the king in the image, just putting in time until night comes, for her the eternal night of death.