Wystan Hugh Auden


Funeral blues




Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.


Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.


He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.


The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


Wystan Hugh Auden – Funeral blues

(The Collected Poetry of W. H. Auden – Random House 1945)




Wystan Hugh Auden



Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973) was an English-American poet. Auden’s poetry was noted for its stylistic and technical achievement, its engagement with politics, morals, love, and religion, and its variety in tone, form and content. W. H. Auden is best known for love poems such as “Funeral Blues“, poems on political and social themes such as “September 1, 1939” and “The Shield of Achilles“, poems on cultural and psychological themes such as The Age of Anxiety, and poems on religious themes such as “For the Time Being” and “Horae Canonicae.” (Wikipedia)





Poems (London, 1930; second edn., seven poems substituted, London, 1933; includes poems and Paid on Both Sides: A Charade) (dedicated to Christopher Isherwood).
The Orators: An English Study (London, 1932, verse and prose; slightly revised edn., London, 1934; revised edn. with new preface, London, 1966; New York 1967) (dedicated to Stephen Spender).
The Dance of Death (London, 1933, play) (dedicated to Robert Medley and Rupert Doone).
Poems (New York, 1934; contains Poems [1933 edition], The Orators [1932 edition], and The Dance of Death).
The Dog Beneath the Skin (London, New York, 1935; play, with Christopher Isherwood) (dedicated to Robert Moody).
The Ascent of F6 (London, 1936; 2nd edn., 1937; New York, 1937; play, with Christopher Isherwood) (dedicated to John Bicknell Auden).
Look, Stranger! (London, 1936, poems; US edn., On This Island, New York, 1937) (dedicated to Erika Mann)
Letters from Iceland (London, New York, 1937; verse and prose, with Louis MacNeice) (dedicated to George Augustus Auden).
On the Frontier (London, 1938; New York 1939; play, with Christopher Isherwood) (dedicated to Benjamin Britten).
Journey to a War (London, New York, 1939; verse and prose, with Christopher Isherwood) (dedicated to E. M. Forster).
Another Time (London, New York 1940; poetry) (dedicated to Chester Kallman).
The Double Man (New York, 1941, poems; UK edn., New Year Letter, London, 1941) (Dedicated to Elizabeth Mayer).
For the Time Being (New York, 1944; London, 1945; two long poems: “The Sea and the Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare’s The Tempest”, dedicated to James and Tania Stern, and “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio”, in memoriam Constance Rosalie Auden [Auden’s mother]).
The Collected Poetry of W. H. Auden (New York, 1945; includes new poems) (dedicated to Christopher Isherwood and Chester Kallman). Full text.
The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue (New York, 1947; London, 1948; verse; won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry) (dedicated to John Betjeman).
Collected Shorter Poems, 1930–1944 (London, 1950; similar to 1945 Collected Poetry) (dedicated to Christopher Isherwood and Chester Kallman).
The Enchafèd Flood (New York, 1950; London, 1951; prose) (dedicated to Alan Ansen).
Nones (New York, 1951; London, 1952; poems) (dedicated to Reinhold and Ursula Niebuhr)
The Shield of Achilles (New York, London, 1955; poems) (won the 1956 National Book Award for Poetry) (dedicated to Lincoln and Fidelma Kirstein).
Homage to Clio (New York, London, 1960; poems) (dedicated to E. R. and A. E. Dodds).
The Dyer’s Hand (New York, 1962; London, 1963; essays) (dedicated to Nevill Coghill).
About the House (New York, London, 1965; poems) (dedicated to Edmund and Elena Wilson).
Collected Shorter Poems 1927–1957 (London, 1966; New York, 1967) (dedicated to Christopher Isherwood and Chester Kallman).
Collected Longer Poems (London, 1968; New York, 1969).
Secondary Worlds (London, New York, 1969; prose) (dedicated to Valerie Eliot).
City Without Walls and Other Poems (London, New York, 1969) (dedicated to Peter Heyworth).
A Certain World: A Commonplace Book (New York, London, 1970; quotations with commentary) (dedicated to Geoffrey Grigson).
Epistle to a Godson and Other Poems (London, New York, 1972) (dedicated to Orlan Fox).
Forewords and Afterwords (New York, London, 1973; essays) (dedicated to Hannah Arendt).
Thank You, Fog: Last Poems (London, New York, 1974) (dedicated to Michael and Marny Yates).


Film scripts and opera libretti


Coal Face (1935, closing chorus for GPO Film Unit documentary).
Night Mail (1936, narrative for GPO Film Unit documentary, not published separately except as a programme note).
Paul Bunyan (1941, libretto for operetta by Benjamin Britten; not published until 1976).
The Rake’s Progress (1951, with Chester Kallman, libretto for an opera by Igor Stravinsky).
Elegy for Young Lovers (1956, with Chester Kallman, libretto for an opera by Hans Werner Henze).
The Bassarids (1961, with Chester Kallman, libretto for an opera by Hans Werner Henze based on The Bacchae of Euripides).
Runner (1962, documentary film narrative for National Film Board of Canada)
Love’s Labour’s Lost (1973, with Chester Kallman, libretto for an opera by Nicolas Nabokov, based on Shakespeare’s play).


Musical collaborations


Our Hunting Fathers (1936, song cycle written for Benjamin Britten)
An Evening of Elizabethan Verse and its Music (1954 recording with the New York Pro Musica Antiqua, director Noah Greenberg; Auden spoke the verse texts)
The Play of Daniel (1958, verse narration for a production by the New York Pro Musica Antiqua, director Noah Greenberg)



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