Tag Archives: Epitaph on a Tyrant

“When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter.”

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

— W. H. Auden’s “Epitaph on a Tyrant”

 

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“Epitaph on a Tyrant,” by W. H. Auden

“Epitaph on a Tyrant,” by W. H. Auden

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.