2 December 2004
YEATS, William Butler (1865-1939). Autograph manuscript signed (fair copy) of a poem, 'The Fiddler of Dooney', comprising 20 lines of verse in five stanzas, n.p., n.d., 1¼ pages, 8°, integral blank leaf (slightly duststained in central vertical fold and on verso).
'When I play on my fiddle in Dooney,
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Moharabuiee...'
AUTOGRAPH FAIR COPY OF 'AN UNAFFECTEDLY VIRTUOSO LITTLE BALLAD' (R.F. Foster William Butler Yeats. A Life (Oxford: 1997), vol. I, p. 216). The poem evokes the fiddler's arival before St Peter with his more conventionally pious relatives, continuing on the theme of 'For the good are always the merry ....And the merry love to dance', and ending with a flourishing variant of the opening lines.
'The Fiddler of Dooney' was first published in The Bookman (London: 1892). The present manuscript corresponds to the slightly revised version, shorn of its earlier folksy archaisms, which was included in Poems Lyrical and Narrative (Collected Works (Stratford-on-Avon: 1908), vol. I). It is marked by its verbal complexity and dancing rhythm -- and a touch of subversion in the final verse. Yeats's affection for the piece was shown when in 1909 he placed it as the signature poem at the end of The Wind among the Reeds.
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium
The Belgian collector, antiques dealer and designer outlines what the art and objects in his library mean to him
The founder of the 1-54 art fair on giving African artists international visibility, growing up with an artist father, and building her own collection