(Reading the Poetry of Yeats)
The English Text:
I first read the above poem in Indonesian when I was about 19 years old. Without having to re-read it, the poem touched my soul immediately, and pushed me to look for the original verse in English.
It appears this poem was first published in an anthology entitled ‘The Rose’ in 1893, while Yeats was born in the year 1865. The poem ‘When You Are Old’, therefore, was written when Yeats was still quite young.
The poem does not lift up a large subject from the world’s history, but nonetheless concerns a subject that is important to humanity, one that will always cause disquiet in mankind, namely that of age, and aging.