Autograph manuscript poem signed

W. H. AUDEN

Item#: 90948 We're sorry, this item has been sold

Book Image
Alternate image

“MUSSOLINI MAY STAMP AS HITLER MAY SHOUT/ BUT LIES IN THE END WILL ALWAYS COME OUT”: AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF AUDEN’S ENDURING POEM ON THE HOLOCAUST, REFUGEE BLUES, SIGNED BY HIM AND WITH TWO UNPUBLISHED STANZAS

AUDEN, W. H. Autograph manuscript poem signed. No place, no date. Octavo, two leaves, each written on one side only, 42 lines, 14 verses in blue ink.

Autograph manuscript of the poem “Refugee Blues” (here entitled “Song”) in Auden’s hand, signed by him and with his corrections, showing numerous interesting variations from the published poem, including an additional two stanzas apparently unpublished.

Auden composed “Refugee Blues” in March 1939, and even today it is evoked as a theme for the dispossessed and persecuted. But in 1939 the poem clearly and poignantly addressed the annihilation of the Jews in Germany. The narrator, in a song-like cadence, says:

“Say this city has ten million souls,

Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:

Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us…

“The consul banged the table and said,

‘If you’ve got no passport you’re officially dead’:

But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive…

“Heard a noise like thunder rumbling in the sky;

It was Hitler over Europe, saying, ‘They must die’:

And we were in his mind, my dear, and we were in his mind…

“Stood upon a plain all covered in snow;

Ten thousand soldiers stamped to and fro:

Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.”

There are several variations in this manuscript version from the version printed in Collected Poems, as well as four corrections by Auden in which he crosses out and rewrites words or phrases. Of greatest significance is the inclusion in this manuscript version of two stanzas not included in the published version. In verse 12 the narrator refers to train coaches that are full:

“Ran down to the station to catch the express

Asked for two tickets to happiness

But every coach was full, my dear, but every coach was full.”

And the final, hopeful verse, which does not appear in published versions of the poem, reads:

“Mussolini my stamp as Hitler may shout

But lies in the end will always come out

No matter what they do, my dear, no matter what they do.”

Textual variations are as follows: in the second verse, line 3, “can never” was published as “cannot.” Verses three and four are here transposed; line 1 of verse 4 reads “Down in the churchyard stands an ancient yew” which was published as “In the village churchyard there grows an old yew”; in the following line “flowers” was published as “blossoms.” In the seventh verse, line 1, “Heard a noise like thunder” was published as “Thought I heard the thunder”; later in the verse “And” was published as “O.” In the eighth verse “wearing” was published as “in.” In the tenth verse, the first two lines “Walked into a wood; the birds sang in the trees/ They had no politicians and did as they please” was published as “Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;/ They had no politicians and sang at their ease.” in the sixth verse, line 1, “stood” was published as “got;” in the eighth verse, line 1, “saw a poodle wearing” was published as “saw a poodle in;” and in line 2 of the same verse, “open” was published as “opened;” in the tenth verse, line 1, “walked into a wood” was published as “walked through a wood;” and in the eleventh verse, line 1, “Dreamt” was published as “Dreamed.”

Minor paper clip rust mark to margin of one leaf. Auden’s writing clear and bold. An extremely desirable signed manuscript poem in fine condition.

add to my wishlist ask an Expert shipping & guarantee

Other books from the same author(s)



Author's full list of books

AUDEN, W. H. >