It Brings Me Sorrow

Section 6 – All I Wish to Own

The title It Brings Me Sorrow is a line from Bob Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather:

Oh, how can, how can you ask me again?
It only brings me sorrow
The same thing I would want today
I would want again tomorrow

The text is taken from W.B. Yeats’ The Madness of King Goll. King Goll is an ancient Irish King who leaves his throne and authority in the middle of a bloody battle, wandering off into the woods by himself. He stays there alone for the rest of his life, hearing the leaves of beech trees perpetually fluttering around him season after season.

The Madness of King Goll
I SAT on cushioned otter-skin:
My word was law from Ith to Emain,
And shook at Inver Amergin
The hearts of the world-troubling seamen,
And drove tumult and war away
From girl and boy and man and beast;
The fields grew fatter day by day,
The wild fowl of the air increased;
And every ancient Ollave said,
While he bent down his fading head.
He drives away the Northern cold.

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.
……

But slowly, as I shouting slew
And trampled in the bubbling mire,
In my most secret spirit grew
A whirling and a wandering fire:
I stood: keen stars above me shone,
Around me shone keen eyes of men:
I laughed aloud and hurried on
By rocky shore and rushy fen;
I laughed because birds fluttered by,
And starlight gleamed, and clouds flew high,
And rushes waved and waters rolled.

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

And now I wander in the woods
When summer gluts the golden bees,
Or in autumnal solitudes
Arise the leopard-coloured trees;
Or when along the wintry strands
The cormorants shiver on their rocks;
I wander on, and wave my hands,
And sing, and shake my heavy locks.
The grey wolf knows me; by one ear
I lead along the woodland deer;
The hares run by me growing bold.

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

I came upon a little town
That slumbered in the harvest moon,
And passed a-tiptoe up and down,
Murmuring, to a fitful tune,
How I have followed, night and day,
A tramping of tremendous feet,
And saw where this old tympan lay
Deserted on a doorway seat,
And bore it to the woods with me;
Of some inhuman misery
Our married voices wildly trolled
.

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

I sang how, when day’s toil is done,
Orchil shakes out her long dark hair
That hides away the dying sun
And sheds faint odours through the air:
When my hand passed from wire to wire
It quenched, with sound like falling dew
The whirling and the wandering fire;
But left a mournful ulalu,
For the kind wires are torn and still,
And I must wander wood and hill
Through summer’s heat and winter’s cold.

They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me, the beech leaves old.

Studies of beech leaves I used for this drawing, keeping time with the cycle of a year:

 

The Music Behind All I Wish to Own

 

Intermezzo in A Major played by Julius Katchen

 



 

Boots of Spanish Leather by Bob Dylan