Auden's Prose | by John Berryman | The New York Review of Books A review of Auden's collection of essays, by the poet John Berryman.
The end stanzas and coda provide thekeys to unlocking Auden's meaning in the poem. He has not succumbed to religion as Eliotdid in later years, yet ends the work on the note of a sermon. History is merely arecording of the misdeeds of men, whereas there is a suffusing "goodness" thatexists outside the boundaries of learning. If our collected knowledge is fallibleconcerning ourselves, then it cannot be expected to approach an understanding of Godonlythe endurance of faith suggested by the final line of the poem can provide that.
Auden; a collection of critical essays by Monroe K. …
The above lines represent Auden inhis youth, a prodigy, according to some critics. There is no playfulness of craft to thiswork reminiscent of Auden's later periodsthe syllabic meter is strict, using rhymedcouplets of nine syllables per line in the first stanza and eight per line in the secondwith barely a hint of variety. There is, however, a cool analytical approach to thesubject matter, almost impersonal. The central theme is the cycle of life as representedthrough a failed love.