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The Well Read Poem

Feb 20, 2023

Welcome back to another season of the Well-Read Poem! In this series we will be reading six poems about writers, some of them well-known, some of them not as well known. Our aim in this season is to give listeners some insight into the lives, minds, and imaginations of authors long deceased, and some understanding of what they have meant to their fellow scribes.

Today's poem is “Edward Lear” by W. H. Auden. Lear was more than just a well-known nonsense poet, but was a talented painter and musician in his own right. Poem begins at timestamp 10:05.

Edward Lear

by W. H. Auden

Left by his friend to breakfast alone on the white
Italian shore, his Terrible Demon arose
Over his shoulder; he wept to himself in the night,
A dirty landscape-painter who hated his nose.

The legions of cruel inquisitive They
Were so many and big like dogs: he was upset
By Germans and boats; affection was miles away:
But guided by tears he successfully reached his Regret.

How prodigiuous the welcome was. Flowers took his hat
And bore him off to introduce him to the tongs;
The demon's false nose made the table laugh; a cat
Soon had him waltzing madly, let him squeeze her hand;
Words pushed him to the piano to sing comic songs;

And children swarmed to him like settlers. He became a land.