, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


“The Three Hermits”

Three old hermits took the air
By a cold and desolate sea,
First was muttering a prayer,
Second rummaged for a flea;
On a windy stone, the third,
Giddy with his hundredth year,
Sang unnoticed like a bird:
‘Though the Door of Death is near
And what waits behind the door,
Three times in a single day
I, though upright on the shore,
Fall asleep when I should pray.’
So the first, but now the second:
‘We’re but given what we have earned
When all thoughts and deeds are reckoned,
So it’s plain to be discerned
That the shades of holy men
Who have failed, being weak of will,
Pass the Door of Death again,
And are plagued by crowds, until
They’ve the passion to escape.’
Moaned the other, ‘They are thrown
Into some most fearful shape.’
But the second mocked his moan:
‘They are not changed to anything,
Having loved God once, but maybe
To a poet or a king
Or a witty lovely lady.’
While he’d rummaged rags and hair,
Caught and cracked his flea, the third,
Giddy with his hundredth year,
Sang unnoticed like a bird.

Unnoticed Like a Bird: Poetry by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Madison, WI: Singletree Press, 1987
PR5902 A3 1987

Illustrated with woodcuts by Mary Sprague.

From the colophon:
Unnoticed Like a Bird is the result of a year-long collaborative effort by Mary Sprague and Betty C. Bowen. The cover stock was made of flax by Jana Pullman.


Mary handprinted the illustrations on Sekishu Natural. The text is Centaur printed on Nideggen. With thanks to Ray Gloeckler…”

Jana Pullman, bookbinder, book artist, and papermaker, supervised the Repair Unit for the General Collection at the Marriott Library, The University of Utah, where she also taught conservation and bookbinding workshops. Her Minnesota-based bindery, Western Slope Bindery, is named after her geographic origins in Utah.

Further, from the colophon:
“These poems are reprinted with the permission of Macmillan Publishing Company from The Poems of W. B. Yeats: A New Edition edited by Richard J. Finneran. Copyright 1916, 1919, 1933, by Macmillan Publishing Company. Copyrights renewed 1944, 1947, 1961 by Bertha Georgie Yeats.”

Edition of thirty-five copies. Rare Books copy is no. 17.