Winter 1948 • Vol. X No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1948 |

Falling Asleep over the Aeneid

An old man in Concord forgets to go to Morning Service. He falls asleep, while reading Virgil, and dreams that he is Aeneas at the funeral of Pallas, an Italian prince. The sun is blue and scarlet on my page, And yuck-a, yuck-a, yuck-a, yuck-a, rage The yellowhammers mating. Yellow fire Blankets the captives dancing on their pyre, And the scorched lictor screams and drops his rod. Trojans are singing to their drunken God, Ares. Their helmets catch on fire. Their files Clank by the body of my comrade—miles Of filings! Now the scythe-wheeled chariot rolls Before their lances long as vaulting poles, And I stand up and heil the thousand men, Who carry Pallas to the bird-priest. Then The bird-priest groans, and as his birds foretold, I greet the body, lip to lip. I hold The sword that Dido used. It tries to speak, A bird with Dido's sworded breast. Its beak Clangs and ejaculates the Punic word I hear the bird-,priest chirping like a bird. I groan a little. "Who a

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Considered by many to be the most important poet in English of the second half of the twentieth century, Robert Lowell studied at Kenyon College under John Crowe Ransom and received an undergraduate degree in 1940. He published over fifteen books of poetry in his lifetime and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1947 at the age of thirty.

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An old man in Concord forgets to go to Morning Service. He falls asleep, while reading Virgil, and dreams that he is Aeneas at the funeral of Pallas, an Italian […]

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