Autograph Letter Signed W. H. Auden to Stella Musulin with Typescripts W. H. Auden "August 1968" and "Elegy" 1968-10-04
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 Die Baronin
0002 Stella Musulin

0003 Wien
0004 Neulingasse 26

0007 N.-Ö., AUSTRIA

0008        AUGUST I968

(vl) 0001The ogre does what ogres can,
(vl) 0002Deeds quite impossible for man,
(vl) 0003but one prize is beyond his reach:
(vl) 0004The ogre cannot master Speech.
(vl) 0005About a subjugated plain,
(vl) 0006Among its desperate and slain,
(vl) 0007The ogre stalks with hands on hips,
(vl) 0008While drivel gushes from his lips.

0009          ___

0010 Dear Stella,
0011 Terribly sorry about last Sunday.
0012 Since I had no idea when we should be
0013 able to get to you, I thought it was unfair
0014 to the kitchen not to cancel.
0015 Have a nice winter and will see you, I hope,
0016 early in April
0017 love
0018 Wystan

0019     ELEGY
0020 (In Memoriam Emma Eiermann.
0021  ob.Nov 4th,I967)

(vl) 0009Liebe Frau Emma,
(vl) 0010na,was hast Du denn gemacht?
(vl) 0011You who always made
(vl) 0012such conscience of our comfort,
(vl) 0013Oh,how could you go and die,
(vl) 0014as if you didn't know
(vl) 0015that in a permissive age,
(vl) 0016so rife with envy,
(vl) 0017a housekeeper is harder
(vl) 0018to replace than a lover,
(vl) 0019and die,too,when we
(vl) 0020were thousands of miles away,
(vl) 0021leaving no one there
(vl) 0022to prune and transplant before
(vl) 0023the winter cold should set in.
(vl) 0024Good witch that you were,
(vl) 0025surely you should have foreseen
(vl) 0026the doom that your death
(vl) 0027would spell for your cats and ours:
(vl) 0028all had to be put away.
(vl) 0029You came with the house,
(vl) 0030you and your brother Josef,
(vl) 0031 Sudetendeutsche,
(vl) 0032made homeless paupers when Czechs
(vl) 0033got their turn to be brutal:
(vl) 0034but catastrophe
(vl) 0035had failed to modernise you,
(vl) 0036Child of the Old World,
(vl) 0037in which to serve a master
(vl) 0038was never thought ignoble.
(vl) 0039Children of the New,
(vl) 0040we had to learn how to live
(vl) 0041in the older way,
(vl) 0042well tendered and observed by
(vl) 0043loyal but critical eyes.
(vl) 0044From the first,I think,
(vl) 0045you liked us but to the last
(vl) 0046assumed most callers
(vl) 0047knocked with some evil intent
(vl) 0048(now and again you were right).
(vl) 0049When guests were coming,
(vl) 0050there was always the worry:-
(vl) 0051would you disallow?
(vl) 0052Greeks,in your censure,were rogues,
(vl) 0053all teen-agers delinquent.
(vl) 0054Nor were you ever
(vl) 0055one to behave your temper:
(vl) 0056let Youth pick a fruit
(vl) 0057or flower,out you would storm,
(vl) 0058arms whirling,screaming abuse

(vl) 0059in peasant German
(vl) 0060at startled Americans
(vl) 0061who had meant no harm,
(vl) 0062and,after they'd gone,for days
(vl) 0063you would treat us to the sulks.
(vl) 0064But when in good form,
(vl) 0065how enchanting your shy grin,
(vl) 0066your soft cat-language:
(vl) 0067no,no,Frau E,dear oddling,
(vl) 0068we shall always be grateful.
(vl) 0069After Josef died
(vl) 0070(siblings can live in a bond
(vl) 0071as close as wedlock),
(vl) 0072you were all amort,your one
(vl) 0073wish to rejoin him quickly.
(vl) 0074You have,and we're left
(vl) 0075with ten years to consider,
(vl) 0076astonished at how
(vl) 0077vivid they are to recall:
(vl) 0078Du Gute,schlaf in Ruhe.

0022         ___