What Then?

His chosen comrades thought at school
He must grow a famous man;
He thought the same and lived by rule,
All his twenties crammed with toil;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost, ‘what then?’

Everything he wrote was read,
After certain years he won
Sufficient money for his need,
Friends that have been friends indeed;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost, ‘what then?

All his happier dreams came true–
A small old house, wife, daughter, son,
Grounds where plum and cabbage grew,
Poets and Wits about him drew;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost, ‘what then?’

‘The work is done,’ grown old he thought,
‘According to my boyish plan;
Let the fools rage, I swerved in nought,
Something to perfection brought’;
But louder sang that ghost, ‘What then?’

W.B. Yeats (1937)

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