After Colonel Blair defects in Wing Commander IV the game cuts back to a scene between Tolwyn and Paladin discussing the news. Tolwyn attempts to explain the news by quoting a poem, which Paladin continues:
Paladin: Blair? Defected? I find that hard to believe. He was always a hot head, but... what on earth induced him to– what the devil is going on out there?As Paladin indicates, these lines are from a poem by William Butler Yeats (Wikipedia) called The Second Coming. The 1920 poem is usually considered to be a commentary on the disastrous state and uncertain future of Europe after World War I--certainly germane to the post-war confusion and impending doom of the 2673 Wing Commander universe--although there is also a running argument that it owes more to Yeats' pre-war fascination with ancient apocalyptic mythology.
Tolwyn: The intelligence I’ve collected is erratic, unreliable. "Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The best lack all conviction..."
Paladin: "Whilst the worst possess a passionate intensity" – Yeats.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?