Terence, this is stupid stuff
by A.E. Housman
The Lovely Muck
This is a great image of how deceptive the pleasure of drinking can be. Sure, Terence says, you're so happy when you're drunk that even muck looks lovely. Is that real happiness, though? Lovely muck sounds kind of fun, but when you think about the idea, it's really not that appealing. We're moving slowly here from a positive, light-hearted vision of the world to a pretty dark one.
- Line 35: The term "lovely muck" contradicts itself – it's what we call an oxymoron. Muck is the opposite of loveliness, and when something is lovely, it's as far from being mucky as it can get. That idea, that muck could be lovely, is a really compact way of showing how messed up the world gets when you're drunk. Logic goes out the window and, if you're happy, it's only because you've been tricked into thinking that something like mud is lovely.