Enchanted Woods

Enchanted Woods

illustration by Claudine et Roland Sabatier

They live out their passionate lives not far off, as I think, and we shall be among them when we die if we but keep our natures simple and passionate. May it not even be that death shall unite us to all romance, and that some day we shall fight dragons among blue hills

William Butler Yeats - Enchanted Woods - The Celtic Twilight 1902

I came across this quote in a french book about faeries, where it was shortened to Et même ne se pourrait-il pas que la mort nous unisse à toutes les légendes et qu'un jour nous combattions les dragons sur les collines bleues (May it not even be that death shall unit us to all the legends, and that some day we shall fight dragons among blue hills).

I shall make a full review of that faery book later on. The quote had me hooked. I translated it roughly to english to try to determine the source in Yeats' work. I found The Celtic Twilight and was not disappointed.

In french, the translator had used "légendes" and the original author used "romance". Since the french version was a compression, legends felt right. But why the invocation of romance in Hibernia?

Romance is an interesting word. In french it has as one of its most used sense "romantic relation", but it's actually an anglicism, a word borrowed (back) from english. Romance has multiple english meanings and among them:

I went looking for faery tales and I found celtic people seeing faeries, and it talked to me. I was born in '73 in a small village and those tales are speaking to me, that small village feeling was reaching to me. When the fog was surrounding the farm of my grand-father and it seemed it was the only thing left in the world.

Some day, we shall fight dragons among blue hills.