Autograph Letter Signed W. H. Auden to Stella Musulin 1969-06-10
Auden, W. H.
  • Mayer, Sandra
  • Frühwirth, Timo
Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Vienna 2021
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Cite this Source (MLA 9th Edition)
Andorfer Peter, Elsner Daniel, Frühwirth Timo, Grigoriou Dimitra, Mayer Sandra, Mendelson Edward and Neundlinger Helmut. Auden Musulin Papers: A Digital Edition of W. H. Auden's Letters to Stella Musulin. Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2022, .
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0001 Express,

0002 Die Baronin
0003 Stella Musulin

0004 Wien III
0005 Neulinggasse 26/14

0006 WH. Auden

0010 N.-Ö., AUSTRIA

0011 Dear Stella:
0012 Saturday will be fine. Shall
0013 look forward to it,
0014 love
0015 Wystan

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0016                                      (2

(vl) 0001issue proper instructions?[]Not,certainly,
(vl) 0002our global archons []hose toplofty[]slogans
(vl) 0003   are as off the m[]rk as their syntax[]
(vl) 0004   is vague.(They w[]uld be figures of fun,if

(vl) 0005very clever little boys had not foun[] it[]
(vl) 0006amusing to build devices for them,more
(vl) 0007   []pt[]at disasse[]bly th[]n any
(vl) 0008   old fire-seewing theogoni[]monster.)

(vl) 0009To be responsible fo[] the ha[]iness
(vl) 0010of the[]Universe is not [] sin[]cure:
(vl) 0011   in[]elite l[]nds []r gener[]tion
(vl) 0012   m[]y[]e c[]lled[]to []t[]for a[]iscipline

(vl) 0013that outpeers the mon[]s,[] []ay of obe[]ience,
(vl) 0014[]overty []nd - good[]ief[] - perh[]s ch[]tity,
(vl) 0015   yet in this World's ill-weathered open,
(vl) 0016   a fresh v[]nture p[]efigur[]d in folk-tales

(vl) 0017[]s the []uest Perilous. []or such wayfarers,
(vl) 0018w[]at should we write []o give them the nourishment,
(vl) 0019   warmth and[]shelter they'll be in need of?
(vl) 0020   []othing o[]scene o[]unpleasant: only

(vl) 0021the unscarred overfed[]enjoy Calvary
(vl) 0022 as a verbal event. []r satiric: no
(vl) 0023   scorn will ashame[]he[]rsary.
(vl) 0024   Nor shod[]ily m[]de:[]to give a stunning

(vl) 0025display of concinnity[]and elegance
(vl) 0026is[]the le[]t we[]can[]d[],and its domin[]nt
(vl) 0027mood shoul[] be that[]a[]r[]iv[]l.
(vl) 0028   Let[]us hymn the[]s[]ll []ut journal[]wonders

(vl) 0029of Nature and familie[]and then finish
(vl) 0030on[] serio-comic note []ith legends[]
(vl) 0031   of ultimate eucatastrophe,
(vl) 0032   regeneration bey[]n[] the w[]ters.

(vl) 0033[]ut perhaps you think[]poems are as foolish
(vl) 0034as most poets,and woul[] rather[]spend your s[]re
(vl) 0035   moments romping around in Cantor's
(vl) 0036   logical paradise o[] beseeching

(vl) 0037such knotty points []s[][]an we hang a robber
(vl) 0038w[]o is not there? or []h[]t is the color of
(vl) 0039   the []ber Three. []hy not? []ll []le[]sures
(vl) 0040   come from []od. []in[]e I am your godfather,

(vl) 0041let me close this letter with some worl[]ly []axi[]s:
(vl) 0042[]e []lad[]your[]being is[]unnecessary,
(vl) 0043   then,turn your toes out as[]you w[]lk,de[]r,
(vl) 0044   and remember who y[]u are,a[]pender.

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0018           E[]TO[]GODS[]

(vl) 0045[][]h[]nk[]or[]b[]ozy godf[]thers"
(vl) 0046y[]u[]wrote i[]ur[]gue[]t-book,w[]ich was flattering:
(vl) 0047   tough []'ve reache[]the years when discretion
(vl) 0048   calls for a[]yearl[]me[]ical check-up,

(vl) 0049who[]I[]to[]avo[]ch f[]r[]a Christian[]
(vl) 0050baby,far le[]s offer []o[]tly pl[]titudes
(vl) 0051   to a young man[]I[] y[]te[]ti[]es it
(vl) 0052   was diff[]rent: th[] old could be helpful

(vl) 0053when[]they could[]ni[]e[]vis[]ge[]th[]uture
(vl) 0054as a []me[]le settle[]lan[]c[]p[]t[]ir children
(vl) 0055   would m[]ke the[]s[]e[]sense of []they did,
(vl) 0056   l[]ughing and w[]ing at the same stories.

(vl) 0057[]hen she[]p and go[]t[]s[]e[]sy[]to recognize,
(vl) 0058local f[]una:[]good m[]t []ile[] the shoemaker
(vl) 0059   ta[]ing[]eare of[]t[] vill[]ge nin[]y,
(vl) 0060   []vil Count ffoul[]es who[]in[]hi[] tall d[]n[]n[]

(vl) 0061indulged in si[]ist[] []e[]riciti[] []cxentricities.
(vl) 0062[]t I speak from ex[]i[]nce,[]ow could I
(vl) 0063   say th[]t to you,[]to []an't reme[]ber
(vl) 0064   when everyone tr[]velled by r[]ilway

(vl) 0065and the[]p[]orr[]were []t they were used to being,
(vl) 0066the cre[]to[]s[]of[]w[]ot,as []w they are,
(vl) 0067   a[]expensive n[]i[].([]ody[]
(vl) 0068   has dared suggest[]g[]ssing them,but someone

(vl) 0069surely will,) []o[]n't need []e to tell you what's
(vl) 0070[]in[] o[]:[]the []ck[]r[]tic media,[]
(vl) 0071   joint with []nd[]e-[]ryer gossip,
(vl) 0072   process and ven[]without intermission

(vl) 0073all To-[]y's ugly []rets[] []g[]e Imageable
(vl) 0074no longer,a fe[]tu[]less anonymous
(vl) 0075   thre[]t[]from[]ehi[]d,[]-[]orrow has us
(vl) 0076   gallowed shitless: if what is to h[]ppen

(vl) 0077occurs a[]r[]ing to[] what []hu[]ydidesdes
(vl) 0078defined[]as 'hu[]n',[]'ve had[]it,are in for
(vl) 0079   a disaster that []o []our-letter
(vl) 0080   words will tardy. I've beheld in nightmares

(vl) 0081(wh[]sn't?) lik[]ly a[]ominations: seething
(vl) 0082[]havior[] sinks,the :uses s[]uttering,
(vl) 0083   s[]elly,from eutr[]hiod []elicon,[]
(vl) 0084   the []itches Sab[]th on Garbage []ount[]in,

(vl) 0085Herod's[]ti[]ge[]etic engin[]ers commanded
(vl) 0086to[]ify[]th[] []o[]ts.[]y[]then,[]ith
(vl) 0087   []y luck,the ta[]gible Me shoul[]
(vl) 0088   be mineral,too s[]t in my habits

(vl) 0089to distinguish light from d[]rkness and valued,
(vl) 0090in current prices,at three-dollars-fifty:
(vl) 0091   []ut you could well be there if what is
(vl) 0092   ri[]ely is not pr[]mptly done. Yet who can

0020                                P.T.O.