My Descendants, by William Butler Yeats

My Descendants

Having inherited a vigorous mindFrom my old fathers I must nourish dreamsAnd leave a woman and a man behindAs vigorous of mind, and yet it seemsLife scarce can cast a fragrance on the wind,Scarce spread a glory to the morning beams,But the torn petals strew the garden plot;And there’s but common greenness after that.
And what if my descendants lose the flowerThrough natural declension of the soul,Through too much business with the passing hour,Through too much play, or marriage with a fool?May this laborious stair and this stark towerBecome a roofless ruin that the owlMay build in the cracked masonry and cryHer desolation to the desolate sky.
The Primum Mobile that fashioned usHas made the very owls in circles move;And I, that count myself most prosperousSeeing that love and friendship are enough,For an old neighbour’s friendship chose the houseAnd decked and altered it for a girl’s love,And know whatever flourish and declineThese stones remain their monument and mine. - William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats