Study Guide

Funeral Blues Man and the Natural World

By W. H. Auden

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Man and the Natural World

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, (2)

Here the speaker wants quiet not just from the bustle of the city, but from the animal world, too. He wants his beloved's death to be acknowledged by everyone—even the dogs.

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, (7)

He even wants the pigeons to acknowledge his loss. He may be going a bit overboard here, but his grief is so intense that we can't really blame him.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good. (13-16)

The speaker wants the world to be void of beauty, since this is how he feels inside. By projecting his grief onto the natural world, he's magnifying it, making it bigger than it really is.

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