How many loved your moments of glad grace,.
And loved your beauty with love false or true;.
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,.
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars,.
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled.
And paced upon the mountains overhead,.
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
William Butler Yeats met Maud Gonne in 1889 under an apple blossom, having never thought "to see in a living woman so much beauty". He later admitted that at his meeting with Gonne, "all the trouble of my life began.".
Yeats was an acclaimed Modernist poet, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. His "mystic melancholy" form of writing was a direct result of his fruitless yearnings for Maud Gonne. He proposed to her three times but each time she bluntly refused, claiming that his unrequited love was the source of his brilliant poems. .
Throughout their long association, Yeats and Maud shared a common spiritual connection. At several stages of their friendship they considered themselves spiritually married, meaning that they met each other through astral travel and in their dreams. .
In his poem, Ephemera Yeats wrote:.
Before us lies eternity; our souls.
Are love, and a continual farewell.
During Yeats" association with Maud, each had several different relationships. .
One of Yeats" affairs with Olivia Shakespear was tainted by his love for Maud. He wrote in one of his poems, "The Lover Mourns for the Loss of Love":.
I had a beautiful friend.
And dreamed that the old despair.
Would end in love in the end:.
She looked in my heart one day.
And saw your image was there,.
She has gone weeping away.
He later wrote in his journal:.
"I saw so much of Maud Gonne and my hope renewed again. If I could go to her and prove, by putting my hand in the fire till I had burnt it badly, would not that make her understand that devotion like mine should not be thrown away.".
To Yeat's horror, Maud married General John MacBride.