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Voltaire At Ferney Analysis

Author: Poetry of W.H. Auden Type: Poetry Views: 512

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Almost happy now, he looked at his estate.An exile making watches glanced up as he passed,And went on working; where a hospital was rising fastA joiner touched his cap; an agent came to tellSome of the trees he'd planted were progressing well.The white alps glittered. It was summer. He was very great.Far off in Paris, where his enemiesWhsipered that he was wicked, in an upright chairA blind old woman longed for death and letters. He would write"Nothing is better than life." But was it? Yes, the fightAgainst the false and the unfairWas always worth it. So was gardening. Civilise.Cajoling, scolding, screaming, cleverest of them all,He'd had the other children in a holy warAgainst the infamous grown-ups, and, like a child, been slyAnd humble, when there was occassion forThe two-faced answer or the plain protective lie,But, patient like a peasant, waited for their fall.And never doubted, like D'Alembert, he would win:Only Pascal was a great enemy, the restWere rats already poisoned; there was much, though, to be done,And only himself to count upon.Dear Diderot was dull but did his best;Rousseau, he'd always known, would blubber and give in.So, like a sentinel, he could not sleep. The night was full of wrong,Earthquakes and executions. Soon he would be dead,And still all over Europe stood the horrible nursesItching to boil their children. Only his versesPerhaps could stop them: He must go on working: OverheadThe uncomplaining stars composed their lucid song.


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