Surely among a rich man’s flowering lawns

Ancestral Houses

by W.B. Yeats

Surely among a rich man’s flowering lawns,

Amid the rustle of his planted hills,

Life overflows without ambitious pains;

And rains down life until the basin spills,

And mounts more dizzy high the more it rains

As though to choose whatever shape it wills

And never stoop to a mechanical

Or servile shape, at others’ beck and call.

Mere dreams, mere dreams! Yet Homer had not sung

Had he not found it certain beyond dreams

That out of life’s own self-delight had sprung

The abounding glittering jet; though now it seems

As if some marvellous empty sea-shell flung

Out of the obscure dark of the rich streams,

And not a fountain, were the symbol which

Shadows the inherited glory of the rich.

Some violent bitter man, some powerful man

Called architect and artist in, that they,

Bitter and violent men, might rear in stone

The sweetness that all longed for night and day,

The gentleness none there had ever known;

But when the master’s buried mice can play,

And maybe the great-grandson of that house,

For all its bronze and marble, ‘s but a mouse.

O what if gardens where the peacock strays

With delicate feet upon old terraces,

Or else all Juno from an urn displays

Before the indifferent garden deities;

O what if levelled lawns and gravelled ways

Where slippered Contemplation finds his ease

And Childhood a delight for every sense,

But take our greatness with our violence?

What if the glory of escutcheoned doors,

And buildings that a haughtier age designed,

The pacing to and fro on polished floors

Amid great chambers and long galleries, lined

With famous portraits of our ancestors;

What if those things the greatest of mankind

Consider most to magnify, or to bless,

But take our greatness with our bitterness?

 Surely among a rich man's flowering lawns, Oil and Acrylic on canvas, 2012

Surely among a rich man’s flowering lawns, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2012

2 Responses to “Surely among a rich man’s flowering lawns”
  1. photosclosetohome says:

    I’ve only been following your work for a short while, but it seems to me your confidence in this approach is growing with each piece. I consider this to be one of your better efforts. I like the way you balanced the masses on the left and right and the fact that the colors don’t distract from the overall effect.

    • Thank you very much! I’ve been working in this strange style since 2010 and paint in bursts of about 10-30 paintings every 2-3 months. The ones I don’t think ‘work’ well, I tend to paint over and start something new. This is one of the pieces I wasn’t quite sure of (until you commented on it). It is sometimes hard to find or choose the right image to blend in with the colours in each individual piece – and as you say – its all about balance. I’m glad you like it and thanks for your insight. It backs up the claim that art is purely subjective (all in the eye of the beholder!).

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