W. H. Auden: Lay your sleeping head, my love (2156 words)


Other Resources

“Lay your sleeping head, my love” (1937; titled “Lullaby” from 1958) is W. H. Auden’s most widely admired love-poem. For many readers it has come to stand as the exemplary modern love-poem in its anti-transcendental treasuring of the beloved’s mortal vulnerability. It offers in its forty lines a sober meditation on the fragility of individual erotic attachment in a world of imperfection and impermanence, and closes with a prayer-like blessing upon the beloved. Auden’s occasion for writing it was the final stage of a love-affair with a teenage boy, but -- as with nearly all his other love-poems of the 1933-37 period -- the poem carefully avoids specification of gender, so it has often been …

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "Lay your sleeping head, my love". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 December 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35846, accessed 22 April 2021.]

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here