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Lullaby WH Auden

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Perina Vocea

on 11 October 2012

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Transcript of Lullaby WH Auden

LULLABY Lullaby is a love poem spoken to someone who is sleeping. Do you think this is romantic or creepy? Using your knowledge of Auden's bodywork why do you think Auden named the poem 'Lullaby' ? Auden talks about how his lover isn't perfect but the ''creature'' is entirely beautiful to him. Does this sound familiar?

He then talks about Venus (the goddess of love), a hermit who has as joyous experience, and a madman who grieves for the future. But putting aside all the thoughts that wander around in his head he doesn't want to forget anything that has happened between him and his lover.

Auden then reminds us that everything dies away but he wants to live that moment when his lover is lying on his arms Summary Auden was trying to adjust the minds of the readers into being calm and peaceful so that it'll allow us to think of soft images. ''Lullaby'' is usually a song you sing to a child when you put them to sleep. By naming the poem ''Lullaby'' Auden is being cynical again by denoting the fact that love is childish. (cc) photo by medhead on Flickr (cc) photo by medhead on Flickr Stanza Three Stanza One Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty but to me
The entirely beautiful. Stanza One Analysis Lines 1-2 begins with a sweet command.
His beloved is the ''addressee'' of the poem.
In the second line the speaker gets more specific. He tells us that the addressee's head is human and his arm is faithless. With his arm being faithless, the speaker is denoting the fact that he is an atheist.
Lines 3-6 is an enjambement.
The first three lines say that beauty is burned away from children through time and fevers. Things happen as time passes and those things take away the beauty of children. They could be fevers and illnesses. Auden is trying to convey the readers that people age, get sick, and the beauty of childhood ends.
Ephemeral is a fancy word that mean temporary and short-lived. By using that word the speaker is telling us that no one lives forever and there will be a time when our childhood ends and children will eventually have their own graves.
Lines 7-10 begins with a 'but' . He gets more optimistic here.
The speaker isn't talking to his beloved anymore and it seems like he is praying to someone.
It is interesting how the speaker describes his beloved as a ''creature''. This could be a reminder that we are all creatures and we are all animals, and we're not special because we're humans. Any poems that come to mind?
The adjectives used to describe the creature (mortal and guilty) is a bit strange. Is this the kind of vocabulary we often find in love poems? We could say that everyone is mortal but what about guilty? What is the beloved guilty of? Murder? Typical human behavior?
The important thing is that to the speaker, the creature is ''entirely beautiful'' and not in spite of its mortality and guilt, but because of it.
Did you change your mind? Stanza Two Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope,
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's carnal ecstasy. Stanza 2 Analysis Then the speaker talks about 'her tolerant enchanted slope' .
The speaker also reminds us that the experience of the lovers is ordinary.
In lines 15-17 the speaker tells us who the 'her' is: it's VENUS! Venus is the goddess of love.
Auden's Venus isn't exactly what we might think. The speakers says that she brings a 'grave' vision to the lovers in the poem.
The grave is the adjective and it means serious and severe, but it could be the noun which where the dead people are.
Despite the graveness Venus sends the lovers, the vision that she sends it sweet. She sends them supernatural, sympathy, universal love, and hope.
The speaker is taking us to a cold and desolated place with a hermit. Stanza 3 Analysis Stanza Four Stanza 4 Analysis Certainty, fidelty
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, nor a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost. The speaker is once more very pessimistic in terms of stating that certainty and fidelity (or faithfulness) don't last just as many other things in life
Two obvious symbols: clock and bell
Madmen yelling about money and the future (no escape)
Last two lines: Auden doesn't want to think about the future '[...]but from this night not a look, not a thought, not a kiss nor look be lost'
Repetition of 'not' emphasizes his point Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find our mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love. Auden addresses his lover directly again
His tone seems prayerful, although he described himself as faithless before
Even though he said that nothing is permanent, he still wants everything to be perfect for his lover
Change in voice: 'find the mortal word enough'
Full transcript