Louis MacNeice

Louis MacNeice

Author profile

in Belfast, Northern Ireland, The United Kingdom
September 12, 1907

September 03, 1963


About this author

Born to Irish parents in Belfast, MacNeice was largely educated in British prep schools. He attended Oxford University, there befriending W.H. Auden.

He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis; nicknamed "MacSpaunday" as a group — a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco (1946). His body of work was widely appreciated by the public during his lifetime, due in part to his relaxed, but socially and emotionally aware style. Never as overtly (or simplistically) political as some of his contemporaries, his work shows a humane opposition to totalitarianism as well as an acute awareness of his Irish roots.

Average rating: 4.11 · 2,248 ratings · 191 reviews · 37 distinct works · Similar authors
Collected Poems of Louis Ma...
4.45 of 5 stars 4.45 avg rating — 80 ratings — published 1949 — 4 editions
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Autumn Journal
4.42 of 5 stars 4.42 avg rating — 69 ratings — published 1998 — 3 editions
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Selected Poems
4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 73 ratings — published 1964 — 8 editions
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The Strings Are False
4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 26 ratings — published 1965 — 2 editions
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The Dark Tower
4.73 of 5 stars 4.73 avg rating — 11 ratings — published 2008 — 2 editions
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The Burning Perch
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 1963
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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62 avg rating — 8 ratings3 editions
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I Crossed the Minch
3.29 of 5 stars 3.29 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2007
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The Agamemnon Of Aeschylus
4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 2008 — 2 editions
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Selected Plays of Louis Mac...
4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 1993
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More books by Louis MacNeice…
“World is suddener than we fancy it.”
Louis MacNeice, Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice

“The Sunlight on the Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold,
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.”
Louis MacNeice, Collected Poems 1925-1948

“September has come, it is hers
Whose vitality leaps in the autumn,
Whose nature prefers
Trees without leaves and a fire in the fireplace.
So I give her this month and the next
Though the whole of my year should be hers who has rendered already
So many of its days intolerable or perplexed
But so many more so happy.
Who has left a scent on my life, and left my walls
Dancing over and over with her shadow
Whose hair is twined in all my waterfalls
And all of London littered with remembered kisses.”
Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal