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

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“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 23 November 2017.]


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