PoetryW.H. Auden

Analysis of “In the Praise of Limestone” by W.H. Auden

5 Mins read

In Praise of Limestone” portrays a pure component (limestone) that results in an argument of the human transformation in relation with its (limestone’s) transformation. Auden begins with nature, a recognizable, comfy idea in English poetry. “In Praise of Limestone” validates the interconnectedness of individuals and their landscapes. The poem facilities on the geology of a specific part of central Italy. In the poem, readers encounter actuality juxtaposed with imaginary panorama and a severe, conversational tone. As Auden belonged to northern English limestone topography, he discovered Italian Limestone panorama just like it. Auden describes human life parallel to the panorama, and vice versa. Limestone and nature, on the whole are fostering forces within the poem. Poem begins with the concept that the limestone panorama is hospitable to animals:

“filling a private pool for its fish and carving

Its own little ravine whose cliffs entertain

The butterfly and the lizard”

Here water imagery is essential, a typical poetic component between William Wordsworth and Auden. Water is supply of life, refuge and continuity. A concord is created between the pure world and the animals, and this thought is reassuring to the speaker:

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“What could be more like Mother or a fitter background

For her son”

Here speaker mentions mom evaluating her with panorama (earth) that she produces her son (human being); her son, the

“nude young male who lounges

Against a rock displaying his dildo”

Symbolizes the panorama in his transitory, transferring, and unapologetic nature. Miracle of limestone is that, at any level in life it shapes itself in line with human needs. The wealthy imagery of colours (flowers, butterflies, springs) paint a delighting scene of nature, reminiscing the standard English love of nature.

In second stanza, shifting narrative from collective noun “we” to first particular person narration “I”, Auden creates images from the journey from pre-historic instances to histories, from wild ancients to organized civilizations making a comparability of previous with current as the journey “From weathered outcrop to hill-top temple” and “from a wild to a formal vineyard” is “short steps child’s wish”. An oblique relationship of theological grounds with porous panorama of limestone can be traced within the poem. As it’s evident that this poem was written in post world wars intervals. Post world war’ instances are overburdened with questions of religion and skeptical secularism. Auden, “in praise of limestone” says that folks residing in limestone panorama are easy  and so their conception of God is as

“accustomed to a stone that responds,

they have never had to veil their faces in awe,

Of a crater whose blazing fury couldn’t be fixed”

Like reasonable local weather of their habitat, they’re “unable to conceive a god whose temper-tantrums are moral”. It may be interpreted in context of Christian England, the place God is “pacified by a clever line or a good lay”. Through easy, however stable diction, poet helps readers to induce what meanings could occur out of poem.

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Auden fantastically shows the intense natures of human beings symbolizing the intense climates of the world knitting in historical past. Statues and sculptures of humble saints and warriors/kings are calling human beings with their very own alluring existence in past. Granite, reworked limestone, presents nonetheless, cold and harsh panorama, completely reverse to the porous Limestone. “Saints-to-be” and “intendant Caesars” characterize the 2 opposites however excessive natures of human being and historical past claims folks by way of its existence in future. In historical past, limestone has been used to create and construct statues and sculptures of heroes and gods, divine deities and so on. The poem serves as a tribute to this type of artwork, shows the transformative nature of mankind like limestone.

Auden has used stylistic devises like anthropomorphism to create stream in imagery, where “granite wastes” cry like human being. Zoomorphism can be seen when clays and gravels “purred” calling human beings to their territory. There are additionally references to older Greek and Roman civilizations who tempt the reader that on their plains “there is room for armies to drill”. Egyptian civilization allures human being to luxuries of power by saying that it has “slaves to construct you a tomb in the grand manner”. Here, Auden creates two landscapes, the certainly one of “limestone” which is smooth, hospitable and accommodating and the second is of “Granite” and “Clay” which is tough, unchangeable and hostile. It is highlighted that folks following the developments of world, are inclined to facet with extremism, whether or not its theological floor or pure worldly floor. Poet says that individuals who wish to escape cruelty and grotesque interplay of life ought to search refuge carefully, like reasonable climate is best to dwell in. “The best and worst never stayed here long but sought Immoderate soils”, generally, referred as Auden’s expertise of northern English Limestone panorama. Perhaps, all above talked about wishes of “Best” and “Worst” search international lands for expertise of various reality. Maybe, right here Auden refers to his personal overseas journeys in post war period, through which he skilled many issues that formed his life extra mature. In final stanza Auden once more refers post world wars period, the era where each nation was looking for “home”. Poet discusses the human being and panorama in not a worldly state of “A backward and dilapidated province, connected to the big busy world by a tunnel”. According to speaker, land, like a residing body, connects with human beings (like limestone with water) and witnesses’ peace and disturbance, human development and decay like limestone dissolving in water and creating new varieties.

Moving additional in “In Praise of Limestone”, the poet relates life and panorama with “love” and “peace”. Speaker says that he’s “reproached, for what and how much you know” by the questions of actuality and life imposed by each advocates of theological views and people who look as much as the science to resolve their curiosity. Then once more, there’s a reference to prayer, that individuals pray for forgiveness, life and happiness, asking for discrimination from those that are left behind or develop into beasts. Questioning each faith and secular ideologies, speaker says he is aware of nothing of peace and haven on each side of world. For him peace and heaven can be in porous panorama of limestone the place water springs chuckle in caves. Perhaps poet affiliate love, peace and happiness with moderation of atmosphere, perspective, religion and thoughts, like reasonable and easy lives of individuals residing in limestone topography. Or it may be stated that Auden says that peace and real love may be solely present in life to come which is afterlife. The love, which the speaker associates with the sound of cave rivers and the shapes of the limestone panorama is imperfect and immortal, and thereby human. The limestone panorama dissolves in water due to its faithlessness to inflexible type. Similarly, human beings are immortal, imperfect and faithless to one another.

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“In Praise of Limestone” is depiction of post world war’s cultural and non secular considerations, mendacity between two extremes. Poet has associated human’s growth and bond with limestone panorama, specializing in reasonable atmosphere for stability on this world. Over all imagery in poem is wealthy and significant. Inconsistency of limestone is the metaphor to clarify the inconsistency of human and its relationships, in panoramic view of Western historical past, from antiquity to Post-Christianity period.

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