W.B. Yeats was born 150 years ago, on 13 June, 1865. Here's his poem The Fiddler of Dooney, written in 1889, when he was 24, celebrating the importance of the fiddle player: 'For the good are always the merry, Save by an evil chance, And the merry love the fiddle And the merry love to dance':
When I play on my fiddle in Dooney,
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Moharabuiee.
I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.
When we come at the end of time,
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;
For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle
And the merry love to dance:
And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With ‘Here is the fiddler of Dooney!’
And dance like a wave of the sea.
Here, around 4:00, W.B. Yeats reads the poem himself: