Books: Noonday & Night

Man is changed by his living; but not fast enough.

His concern to-day is for that which yesterday did not occur.

In the hour of the Blue Bird and the Bristol Bomber, his thoughts are appropriate to the years of the Penny Farthing;

He-tosses at night who at noonday found no truth.

Four years ago a young English writer, Wystan Hugh Auden, incorporated these lines in the chorus of a play. Auden's poems were at that time widely talked about and widely misunderstood—with some reason. They seemed brilliant, veiled, obscurely revolutionary. By October 1939, however, few...

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