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Law Like Love Analysis

Author: Poetry of W.H. Auden Type: Poetry Views: 599

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1939Law, say the gardeners, is the sun,Law is the oneAll gardeners obeyTo-morrow, yesterday, to-day.Law is the wisdom of the old,The impotent grandfathers feebly scold;The grandchildren put out a treble tongue,Law is the senses of the young.Law, says the priest with a priestly look,Expounding to an unpriestly people,Law is the words in my priestly book,Law is my pulpit and my steeple.Law, says the judge as he looks down his nose,Speaking clearly and most severely,Law is as I've told you before,Law is as you know I suppose,Law is but let me explain it once more,Law is The Law.Yet law-abiding scholars write:

Law is neither wrong nor right,

Law is only crimes

Punished by places and by times,Law is the clothes men wearAnytime, anywhere,Law is Good morning and Good night.Others say, Law is our Fate;Others say, Law is our State;Others say, others sayLaw is no more,Law has gone away.And always the loud angry crowd,Very angry and very loud,Law is We,And always the soft idiot softly Me.If we, dear, know we know no more

Than they about the Law,

If I no more than you

Know what we should and should not do

Except that all agree

Gladly or miserably

That the Law is

And that all know this

If therefore thinking it absurd

To identify Law with some other word,

Unlike so many men

I cannot say Law is again,No more than they can we suppressThe universal wish to guessOr slip out of our own positionInto an unconcerned condition.Although I can at least confineYour vanity and mineTo stating timidlyA timid similarity,We shall boast anyway:Like love I say.Like love we don't know where or why,Like love we can't compel or fly,Like love we often weep,Like love we seldom keep.


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