Yeats was a practical man, and single-minded in his pursuit of a wife in his later years. At 51, he proposed to long-time lady-friend Maud, but phrased it with so many caveats, she refused. And then he proposed to her 21 year old daughter. And was firmly rejected by the little gunrunner. Finally he turned to 25-year old Georgie and was wed, producing the heirs he desperately wanted.
Leda and the SwanA sudden blow: the great wings beating stillAbove the staggering girl, her thighs caressedBy the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.How can those terrified vague fingers pushThe feathered glory from her loosening thighs?And how can body, laid in that white rush,But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?A shudder in the loins engenders thereThe broken wall, the burning roof and towerAnd Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,So mastered by the brute blood of the air,Did she put on his knowledge with his powerBefore the indifferent beak could let her drop?
Photo source: Yeats