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W. H. Auden
English poet

W. H. Auden (image)

W. H. Auden

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This is the Night Mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
Th shop at the corner, the girl next door
Pulling up Beatock, a steady climb,
The gradient's against her, but she's on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder,
shovelling white steam over her shoulder.
-- "Night Mail" (1936), part. 1

Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers' declarations,

And gossip, gossip from all the nations.
-- "Night Mail" (1936), part 3

When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried little children died in the streets.
-- "Epitaph on a Tyrant" (1940)

To save your world you asked this man to die:
Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?
-- "Epitaph for the Unknown Soldier" (1955)

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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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