WB Yeats was the chairman of the first Irish Coin Committee and Ireland produced its first series of coins in 1928. We recently came across this beautiful poem titled ‘ Brown Penny’ by WB Yeats.

I whispered, ‘I am too young,’
And then, ‘I am old enough’;
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
‘Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.’
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.

O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

 

 

While looking for analysis of the poem we came across the following

Brown Penny is about love, and the welter of emotions which it engenders in the young man’s heart. Joy, dismay, fear, wonder, doubt–and he has woven all of those into this brief poem. The old penny of Ireland and the UK was a large brown coin, and had symbolic meaning to the common folk. One of those meanings was love, that love was something priceless, to which no mere material value could be attached. Although not understood today, that symbolism survives in the expression “a penny for your thoughts,” which originally was used to indicate to the person spoken to that deep emotion motivated the question.

Brown Penny should be viewed as a song more than a poem, and a whirling dance of a song at that. Imagine the poet so immersed in his love and the conflicting emotional responses to which it gives rise, whirling in a dance, a reel, in which he is “looped” in the hair of his lover, both literally and figuratively, and wrapped ever more securely in the emotions which have gripped him. If you can, sing the poem to yourself, and think of the twirling Irish dance known as the reel. It is quite a marvelous work of poetry, and very much in the ancient Irish spirit of achieving freedom withing the bounds of form.

We make Cufflinks from the Old Irish Cufflinks and we have recently added Pendents made out of Irish pennies as well.
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The Irish Cufflinks team.

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