W.H. Auden, A Thanksgiving
When pre-pubescent I feltOxford English Dictionary
that moorlands and woodlands were sacred:
people seemed rather profane.
Thus, when I started to verse,
I presently sat at the feet of
Hardy and Thomas and Frost.
Falling in love altered that,
now Someone, at least, was important:
Yeats was a help, so was Graves.
Then, without warning, the whole
Economy suddenly crumbled:
there, to instruct me, was Brecht.
Finally, hair-raising things
that Hitler and Stalin were doing
forced me to think about God.
Why was I sure they were wrong?
Wild Kierkegaard, Williams and Lewis
guided me back to belief.
Now, as I mellow in years
and home in a bountiful landscape,
Nature allures me again.
Who are the tutors I need?
Well, Horace, adroitest of makers,
beeking in Tivoli, and
Goethe, devoted to stones,
who guessed that—he never could prove it—
Newton led Science astray.
Fondly I ponder You all:
without You I couldn't have managed
even my weakest of lines.
, s.v. beek, v.1
("Now only Sc.
or north. dial.
"), sense 2:
intr. To expose oneself to, or disport in, pleasurable warmth; to bask.
On Horace at Tivoli, see Gilbert Highet, Poets in a Landscape
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957), pp. 113-119, with notes on p. 260.