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To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing

11:00 PM, Feb 21, 1999 • By W. B. YEATS
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Now all the truth is out,

Be secret and take defeat

From any brazen throat,

For how can you compete,

Being honour bred, with one

Who, were it proved he lies,

Were neither shamed in his own

Nor in his neighbours' 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.




William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was the greatest poet of the twentieth century.