“When You Are Old” by William Butler Yeats.
This is another one that’s a teeny bit self-indulgent–wow, Yeats, you were the only person to love Maud Gonne for who she really was, huh? But what I love about it is that it’s not explicitly a poem about how she’ll be sorry she didn’t love him back. It’s rather a poem about the sadness of love ending, and life going on without it. Let’s compare it to the poem it was based on, “Quand vous serez bien vieille” by Pierre Ronsard. This translation is by Anthony Weir, you can read it in the original French here.
Yeah, I’m willing to cut Yeats some slack, seeing as how his poem is approximately ten million times less obnoxious than that. For another perspective on Yeats and Maud Gonne, see: all of Yeats’ other poetry (sorry, cheap joke, but I am particularly fond of “Among School Children” which has one of the best descriptions of love I’ve ever read), this hilarious comic by Kate Beaton, and presumably in Gonne’s own autobiography, A Servant of the Queen, unless she felt that other aspects of her life might be more important to talk about. It would probably be frustrating to live a long and full life and be a revolutionary and all that and still have everyone just want to talk about how you didn’t marry Yeats even though he asked you five times.