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Lullaby
Lullaby
by W.H. Auden

Lullaby Analysis

Symbolism, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Irregular Rhyme Scheme with Trochaic TetrameterRhyme Time... Kind OfLet's start with the rhyme scheme of "Lullaby." Shouldn't be too hard to figure out, right? Well, think again. This poem can be a...

Speaker

The speaker is a loving yet realistic man. He doesn't tell his beloved that he's the most amazing person to ever live. He knows that no one is perfect, but finds his lover beautiful in spite of his...

Setting

At the beginning of the poem, it feels like the speaker is in bed with his beloved, cradling him as he sleeps. But after the first stanza, the speaker's imagination begins to wander, and he envisio...

Sound Check

As we discussed in the "Form and Meter" section on "Lullaby," this poem rhymes and has a set meter, but it consistently deviates from the pattern. The poem may even seem a little bit off to you: we...

What's Up With the Title?

We all know what a lullaby is: it's a sweet and soothing song that is usually sung to a child to help her go to sleep. It's often rhythmic and soft, and its purpose is to make someone sleepy. So is...

Calling Card

The Anti-HeroAuden refused to make a hero out of anyone. He wrote a bunch of amazing elegies (including ones for Sigmund Freud and the poet W.B. Yeats) and even in those poems commemorating their l...

Tough-o-Meter

(6) Tree LineJudging from its name, "Lullaby" should be an easy poem. Lullabies are usually sung to kids, after all. But it's actually a lot more difficult. Auden's word order (also known as his sy...

Trivia

Back in the day, Auden reviewed The Lord of the Rings for The New York Times. He liked it – a lot.Despite the fact that he was gay, Auden got married to a woman and stayed with her for over thirt...

Steaminess Rating

PG-13This poem's got some sex appeal: we've got lovers in bed, boundless souls and bodies, a carnally excited hermit, and the goddess of love. However, there's no full-frontal nudity, and no detail...

Allusions

Mythological ReferencesVenus (throughout)

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