Auden, supine?

Harold Bloom’s latest book is out, Till I End My Song: A Collection of Last Poems. Leafing through a copy, I found a wonderful poem by W. H. Auden (hardly surprising) called “A Lullaby:”

Your daily round is done with,/you’ve gotten the garbage out,/answered some tiresome letters/and paid a bill by return,/all frettolosamente.

A troublesome footnote follows at the bottom of the page. Thus, my email to the publisher.

Dear HarperCollins,

I wish to notify you of an error I found in Harold Bloom’s new book, Till I End My Song, published by Harper this month. On page 287 there is a note on W.H. Auden’s poem, “A Lullaby” explaining the Italian adverb frettolosamente (line 10). The translation reads, “Lying down.” I have no idea if this is Mr. Bloom’s note or someone else’s, but frettolosamente means hurriedly, hastily. This makes perfect sense in the context of Auden’s poem, as “lying down” would be an odd way to take out the garbage (though one could surely pay one’s bills that way). Please forward this to the correct recipient.

Cordially,

Marc Alan Di Martino

p.s. What’s Italian for “howler?”

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2 thoughts on “Auden, supine?

  1. what beautiful lines by Auden! could you tell me in which book I could find the whole poem?
    Thank you in advance!
    Cristiana
    PS what do you think about the Italian translation of “howler” with “strafalcione” or “granchio”, meaning “mistake” obviously no reference to the animal of course ;-)

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