Louis Macneice

(12 September 1907 – 3 September 1963 / Belfast)

Quotations

  • ''blind wantons like the gulls who scream
    And rip the edge off any ideal or dream.''
    Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Anglo-Irish poet. Among These Turf-Stacks (l. 17-18). . . Oxford Book of Modern Verse, The, 1892-1935. William Butler Yeats, ed. (1936) Oxford University Press.
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  • ''a fortress against ideas and against the
    Shuddering insidious shock of the theory-vendors
    The little sardine men crammed in a monster toy
    Who tilt their aggregate beast against our crumbling Troy.''
    Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Anglo-Irish poet. Among These Turf-Stacks (l. 9-12). . . Oxford Book of Modern Verse, The, 1892-1935. William Butler Yeats, ed. (1936) Oxford University Press.
  • ''Why do we like being Irish? Partly because
    It gives us a hold on the sentimental English
    As members of a world that never was,
    Baptized with fairy water;''
    Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Anglo-Irish poet. Autumn Journal (XVI, l. 61-64). . . Contemporary Irish Poetry; an Anthology. Anthony Bradley, ed. (New and rev. ed., 1988) University of California Press.
  • ''And I envy the intransigence of my own
    Countrymen who shoot to kill and never
    See the victim's face become their own
    Or find his motive sabotage their motives.''
    Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Anglo-Irish poet. Autumn Journal (XVI, l. 5-8). . . Contemporary Irish Poetry; an Anthology. Anthony Bradley, ed. (New and rev. ed., 1988) University of California Press.
  • ''she gives her children neither sense nor money
    Who slouch arouond the world with a gesture and a brogue
    And a faggot of useless memories.''
    Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Anglo-Irish poet. Autumn Journal (XVI, l. 124-126). . . Contemporary Irish Poetry; an Anthology. Anthony Bradley, ed. (New and rev. ed., 1988) University of California Press.
  • ''A city built upon mud;
    A culture built upon profit;
    Free speech nipped in the bud,
    The minority always guilty.
    Why should I want to go back
    To you, Ireland, my Ireland?''
    Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Anglo-Irish poet. Autumn Journal (XVI, l. 101-106). . . Contemporary Irish Poetry; an Anthology. Anthony Bradley, ed. (New and rev. ed., 1988) University of California Press.
  • ''Up the Rebels, To Hell with the Pope,
    And God Save—as you prefer—the King or Ireland.
    The land of scholars and saints:
    Scholars and saints my eye, the land of ambush,
    Purblind manifestoes, never-ending complaints,''
    Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Anglo-Irish poet. Autumn Journal (XVI, l. 31-35). . . Contemporary Irish Poetry; an Anthology. Anthony Bradley, ed. (New and rev. ed., 1988) University of California Press.
  • ''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).
  • ''It's no go the merry-go-round, it's no go the rickshaw
    All we want is a limousine and a ticket for the peepshow.''
    Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Anglo-Irish poet. Bagpipe Music (l. 1-2). . . New Oxford Book of English Verse, The, 1250-1950. Helen Gardner, ed. (1972) Oxford University Press.
  • ''It's no go the picture palace, it's no go the stadium,
    It's no go the country cot with a pot of pink geraniums.
    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), Anglo-Irish poet. Bagpipe Music (l. 39-43). . . New Oxford Book of English Verse, The, 1250-1950. Helen Gardner, ed. (1972) Oxford University Press.

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The Suicide

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
Against him, the serried ranks of the box-files, the packed
Jury of his unanswered correspondence
Nodding under the paperweight in the breeze
From the window by which he left; and here is the cracked
Receiver that never got mended and here is the jotter

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