Louis Macneice

(12 September 1907 – 3 September 1963 / Belfast)

Louis Macneice
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Attended Oxford, where he majored in classics and philosophy. In 1930, he married Giovanna Ezra and accepted a post as classics lecturer at the University of Birmingham, a position he held until 1936, when he went on to teach Greek at Bedford College for Women, University of London. In 1941, he joined the British Broadcasting Company as a staff writer and producer. Like many modern English poets, MacNeice found an audience for his work through British radio. Some of his best-known plays, including 'Christopher Columbus' (1944), and 'The Dark Tower' (1946), were originally written for radio and later published.

Early in his career, MacNeice was identified with a group of ... more »

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Louis Macneice Quotations

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  • ''It's no go the Government grants, it's no go the elections, Sit on your arse for fifty years and hang your hat on a pension.''
    Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), British poet. "Bagpipe Music," Earth Compels (1938).
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Comments about Louis Macneice

  • John Orford (9/14/2018 6:17:00 PM)

    I remember him from the late 40s and 50s - he was popular then among many young people. The world is seldom a happy place for him. He is still relevant in our troubled world.

    Come then all of you, come closer, form a circle,
    Join hands and make believe that joined
    Hands will keep away the wolves of water
    Who howl along our coast. And be it assumed
    That no one hears them among the talk and laughter.

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  • Peter McLaren (11/12/2017 5:25:00 AM)

    Although MacNeice is not usually thought of a 'great poet' he has more memorable lines than any other non great poet of the 20th century. He was a Irish song bird in the tradition of Thomas Moore; though cankered with all the angst of his age he tries to be as blithe as he can, for the music's sake. His felicity of phrase perfumes one's idle thoughts. One feels grateful to him.

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  • Marcus Smith Poetry (7/29/2017 5:47:00 PM)

    McNeice is a tragic poet who, not believing enough in the ennoblement of tragedy, contents himself (and his readers) in ‘find[ing] pathos’ in soap suds or the broken hollow doll ‘dead on the nursery floor.’ He is a poet of beautiful sadness whose poems are shattered by intrusions of happiness.

    6 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
Best Poem 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 ...

Read the full of The Sunlight On The Garden