Attended Oxford, where he majored in classics and philosophy. In 1930, he married Giovanna Ezra and accepted a post as classics lecturer at the University of Birmingham, a position he held until 1936, when he went on to teach Greek at Bedford College for Women, University of London. In 1941, he joined the British Broadcasting Company as a staff writer and producer. Like many modern English poets, MacNeice found an audience for his work through British radio. Some of his best-known plays, including 'Christopher Columbus' (1944), and 'The Dark Tower' (1946), were originally written for radio and later published.
Early in his career, MacNeice was identified with a group of ... more »
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Louis Macneice Poems
Prayer Before Birth
I am not yet born; O hear me. Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me.
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was Spawning snow and pink roses against it Soundlessly collateral and incompatible: World is suddener than we fancy it.
The Sunlight on the Garden
The sunlight on the garden Hardens and grows cold, We cannot cage the minute Within its nets of gold;
Forty-two years ago (to me if to no one else The number is of some interest) it was a brilliant starry night And the westward train was empty and had no corridors So darting from side to side I could catch the unwonted sight
My father made the walls resound, He wore his collar the wrong way round. When I was five the black dreamscame;
It's no go the merrygoround, it's no go the rickshaw, All we want is a limousine and a ticket for the peepshow. Their knickers are made of crepe-de-chine, their shoes are made of python, Their halls are lined with tiger rugs and their walls with head of bison.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, whom I am not in fact Conducting, was his office all those minutes ago, This man you never heard of. These are the bills In the intray, the ash in the ashtray, the grey memoranda stacked
Down the road someone is practising scales, The notes like little fishes vanish with a wink of tails, Man's heart expands to tinker with his car For this is Sunday morning, Fate's great bazaar;
House On A Cliff
Indoors the tang of a tiny oil lamp. Outdoors The winking signal on the waste of sea. Indoors the sound of the wind. Outdoors the wind. Indoors the locked heart and the lost key.
This brand of soap has the same smell as once in the big House he visited when he was eight: the walls of the bathroom open To reveal a lawn where a great yellow ball rolls back through a hoop To rest at the head of a mallet held in the hands of a child.
Rows of books around me stand, Fence me in on either hand; Through that forest of dead words I would hunt the living birds -
It all began so easy With bricks upon the floor Building motley houses And knocking down your houses
I do not want to be reflective any more Envying and despising unreflective things Finding pathos in dogs and undeveloped handwriting And young girls doing their hair and all the castles of sand
The Brandy Glass
Only let it form within his hands once more - The moment cradled like a brandy glass. Sitting alone in the empty dining hall... From the chandeliers the snow begins to fall
Quotationsmore quotations »
''It's no go the Government grants, it's no go the elections, Sit on your arse for fifty years and hang your hat on a pension.''Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), British poet. "Bagpipe Music," Earth Compels (1938).
Comments about Louis Macneice
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
Prayer Before Birth
I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.
I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.
I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.
I am not yet born; forgive me