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

AuthorAuden, W. H.
  • Mayer, Sandra
  • Frühwirth, Timo
  • Grigoriou, Dimitra
PublisherAustrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Vienna 2021
Source Information
  • State Collections of Lower Austria
  • Stella Musulin (Depot)
  • St. Pölten
  • 1968-10-04
  • Hinterholz 6
  • TEI Logo
  • RDF metadata
IIIF Endpoint(s)
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, .

Sent at:
  • Postamt Kirchstetten (post office Kirchstetten)
Sent from:
  • Kirchstetten
Sent at:
  • 1968-10-04
Transmitted by:
  • Hauptpostamt 1040 (main post office 1040)
Transmitted at:
  • Vienna
Transmitted at:
  • 1968-10-05
Redirected by:
  • Hauptpostamt 1040 (main post office 1040)
Redirected at:
  • Vienna
Received by:
Received at:
  • Neulinggasse 26

Die Baronin
Stella Musulin
Neulingasse 26


        AUGUST I968

 The ogre does what ogres can,
 Deeds quite impossible for man,
 but one prize is beyond his reach:
 The ogre cannot master Speech.
 About a subjugated plain,
 Among its desperate and slain,
 The ogre stalks with hands on hips,
 While drivel gushes from his lips.


Dear Stella,

Terribly sorry about last Sunday.
Since I had no idea when we should be
able to get to you, I thought it was unfair
to the kitchen not to cancel.

Have a nice winter and will see you, I hope,
early in April



(In Memoriam Emma Eiermann.
 ob.Nov 4th,I967)

  Liebe Frau Emma,
  na,was hast Du denn gemacht?
  You who always made
  such conscience of our comfort,
  Oh,how could you go and die,

  as if you didn't know
  that in a permissive age,
  so rife with envy,
  a housekeeper is harder
  to replace than a lover,

  and die,too,when we
  were thousands of miles away,
  leaving no one there
  to prune and transplant before
  the winter cold should set in.

  Good witch that you were,
  surely you should have foreseen
  the doom that your death
  would spell for your cats and ours:
  all had to be put away.

  You came with the house,
  you and your brother Josef,
  made homeless paupers when Czechs
  got their turn to be brutal:

  but catastrophe
  had failed to modernise you,
  Child of the Old World,
  in which to serve a master
  was never thought ignoble.

  Children of the New,
  we had to learn how to live
  in the older way,
  well tendered and observed by
  loyal but critical eyes.

  From the first,I think,
  you liked us but to the last
  assumed most callers
  knocked with some evil intent
  (now and again you were right).

  When guests were coming,
  there was always the worry:-
  would you disallow?
  Greeks,in your censure,were rogues,
  all teen-agers delinquent.

  Nor were you ever
  one to behave your temper:
  let Youth pick a fruit
  or flower,out you would storm,
  arms whirling,screaming abuse

                                          in peasant German
                                          at startled Americans
                                          who had meant no harm,
                                          and,after they'd gone,for days
                                          you would treat us to the sulks.

                                          But when in good form,
                                          how enchanting your shy grin,
                                          your soft cat-language:
                                          no,no,Frau E,dear oddling,
                                          we shall always be grateful.

                                          After Josef died
                                          (siblings can live in a bond
                                          as close as wedlock),
                                          you were all amort,your one
                                          wish to rejoin him quickly.

                                          You have,and we're left
                                          with ten years to consider,
                                          astonished at how
                                          vivid they are to recall:
                                          Du Gute,schlaf in Ruhe.