“I won the Queen because my hair was red.”

“The Lucky,” by W. H. Auden (Part XV. of “The Quest”)

Suppose he’d listened to the erudite committee,
He would have only found where not to look;
Suppose his terrier when he whistled had obeyed,
It would not have unearthed the buried city;
Suppose he had dismissed the careless maid,
The cryptogram would not have fluttered from the book.

“It was not I,” he cried as, healthy and astounded,
He stepped across a predecessor’s skull;
“A nonsense jingle simply came into my head
And left the intellectual Sphinx dumbfounded;
I won the Queen because my hair was red;
The terrible adventure is a little dull.”

Hence Failure’s torment: “Was I doomed in any case,
Or would I not have failed had I believed in Grace?”

 

800px-Rosso_Fiorentino_-_Madonna_dello_Spedalingo_-_Google_Art_Project

Rosso Fiorentino & Pontormo: Angeletto con liuto, 1518

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