by W.H. Auden
Lullaby Theme of Religion
The speaker of "Lullaby" isn't a religious man. We might even say he's anti-religious. He describes himself as "faithless" and asks us to "find the mortal world enough" – to not look to God to answer our questions about life. But he also invokes Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty in his poem, and the poem even sounds like a prayer at times. So is the speaker a big ol' atheist? An agnostic? A guy who's fascinated by ancient religions in an intellectual way? It's a bit ambiguous, but that's one of the things that makes the poem so intriguing.
Questions About Religion
- If the speaker is "faithless," why does Venus, a Roman god, appear in the poem?
- Can the speaker still be spiritual if he is "faithless"? What are some examples of non-religious faith in the poem?
- Is the sleeping beloved also "faithless"? Or just the speaker?
- What makes up the "mortal world" that the speaker emphasizes in the last stanza of the poem?
- Do parts of the poem sound like a prayer to you? Which parts? What is the effect of these passages on the speaker's faithlessness?
Chew on This
The speaker is completely faithless. He doesn't believe in anything greater than the "mortal world".
The speaker may not believe in God, but he certainly believes in love. He may not have religious faith, but he has a more earthly faith in other human beings.