W. H. Auden

Auden, W. H.

English born American poet and playwright (1907-1973). Autograph manuscript signed „W. H. Auden“. N.p., N.d. (c. 1935). Folio. 1 1/5pp.
$ 13,503 / 12.500 € (90912)

A holograph manuscript comprised of six five-line stanzas of his poem “In the Square” (later republished as the first part of his Twelve Songs, “Song of the Beggars”). “In the Square O for doors to be opened and an invite with gilded edges To dine with Lord Lobcock and Count Asthma on the platinum benches With the somersaults and fireworks, the roast and the smacking kisses Cried the six cripples to the silent statue The six beggared cripples. And Garbo's and Cleopatra's wits to go astraying, In a feather ocean with me to go fishing and playing, Still jolly when the cock has burst himself with crowing Cried the six cripples to the silent statue The six beggared cripples.

And to stand on green turf among the craning yellow faces Dependent on the chestnut, the sable, and Arabian horses And me with a magic crystal to foresee their places Cried the six cripples to the silent statue The six beggared cripples. This square to be a deck, then and these pigeons sails to rig, And to follow the delicious breeze like a tantony pig To the shaded feverless islands where the melons are big Cried the six cripples to the silent statue The six beggared cripples. And these shops to be turned to tulips in a garden bed, And me with my a my stick to thrash each merchant dead As he pokes from a flower his bald and wicked head Cried the six cripples to the silent statue, The six beggared cripples. A hole in the bottom of heaven, and Peter and Paul And each smug surprised saint like parachutes to fall And every one-legged beggar to have no legs at all Cried the six cripples to the silent statue The six beggared cripples. W.H. Auden” Auden was educated in his native England where classmates included Christopher Isherwood (with whom he maintained a lifelong romantic and literary relationship), Stephen Spender, A.S.T. Fischer, Cecil Day-Lewis, and Louis MacNeice, and where he fell under the influence of Oxford professor J.R.R. Tolkien. In 1930, T.S. Eliot (whose impact has been noted on the present poem) facilitated Faber and Faber’s publication of Auden’s first collection of poetry. Enormously prolific, Auden edited numerous anthologies of poetry and penned such memorable works as “Funeral Blues” (part nine of Twelve Songs) and “The Age of Anxiety.” In addition to poetry, Auden wrote dramatic works including the libretto for Igor Stravinsky’s opera The Rake’s Progress, collaborated with Benjamin Britten on songs, authored plays and libretti, worked as a reviewer and journalist (including the Republican propaganda office during the Spanish Civil War), and authored several travel books. Auden, already a lauded poet, escaped Europe’s political turmoil when he entered the U.S. in 1939, four years after marrying Erika Mann, Thomas Mann’s eldest daughter, to help her acquire British citizenship and leave Germany. Though both Auden and Mann were gay and never lived together they remained married until her death in 1969. Auden became an American citizen in 1946 and, in 1948, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his lengthy poem The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue, which inspired Leonard Bernstein’s symphony of the same name as well as ballets by Jerome Robbins and Liam Scarlett. Our manuscript was first published in the May 31, 1935 issue of The Spectator. Auden later published the poem, with several minor revisions from the present manuscript, as “Song of the Beggars,” Part I of his Twelve Songs. Numbered in the upper right corners and written on two sheets of folded, lined paper, with slight staining or foxing; otherwise in very good condition..

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