Hunting Fathers

by W H Auden

W. H. Auden

Our hunting fathers told the story
Of the sadness of the creatures,
Pitied the limits and the lack
Set in their finished features;
Saw in the lion's intolerant look,
Behind the quarry's dying glare,
Love raging for, the personal glory
That reason's gift would add,
The liberal appetite and power,
The rightness of a god.
Who, nurtured in that fine tradition,
Predicted the result,
Guessed Love by nature suited to
The intricate ways of guilt,
That human ligaments could so
His southern gestures modify
And make it his mature ambition
To think no thought but ours,
To hunger, work illegally,
And be anonymous?

Last updated January 14, 2019