W. H. Auden, As I Walked Out One Evening

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“As I Walked Out One Evening” (1938) is a ballad by W. H. Auden. More exactly, it is a pastiche of ballad-like effects, arising from Auden’s immersion in popular verse traditions while he was preparing his anthology

The Oxford Book of Light Verse

(1938). Its opening echoes that of a traditional ballad, “The Sailor’s Return”, beginning “As I walked out one night, it being dark all over”, which he included in that anthology. Employing some basic principles of balladry, notably the recounting of a story through voices contending in dialogue, Auden develops it with his own distinctive devices of comical exaggeration and of sinister allegorical imagery. The poem’s subject is the traditional conflict between Love and Time, unfolded by contrasting the boasts of the lover with…

1165 words

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "As I Walked Out One Evening". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 August 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38743, accessed 23 February 2024.]

38743 As I Walked Out One Evening 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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