W. H. Auden: May with its light behaving (2264 words)


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“May with its light behaving” (1935; revised under the title “May”, 1966) is a 28-line poem by W. H. Auden, classified by him as a “song”. It treats the traditional subject of springtime renewal in a modernised manner combining Freudian motifs with an anxious historical and moral awareness, culminating in a restatement of Auden’s recurrent theme at this time, the pettiness of private loves in a world of injustice. By contrast with Auden’s earlier spring-piece, Part I of “It was Easter as I walked in the public gardens” (1930; later titled “1929”), this poem is notably impersonal, lacking as it does any lyric “I” figure, or any emotional response to …

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "May with its light behaving". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 February 2017 [https://staging.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35867, accessed 16 May 2022.]

35867 May with its light behaving 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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