Auden has an essay on Frost that I like.

Auden has an essay on Frost that I like. Here’s how it ends:

Hardy, Yeats, and Frost have all written epitaphs for themselves.

I never cared for life, life cared for me.
And hence I owe it some fidelity…

Cast a cold eye
On life and death.
Horseman, pass by.

I would have written of me on my stone
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.

Of the three, Frost, surely, comes off best. Hardy seems to be stating the Pessimist’s Case rather than his own feelings. I never cared… Never? Now, Mr. Hardy, really! Yeats’ horseman is a stage prop; the passer-by is much more likely to be a motorist. But Frost convinces me that he is telling neither more nor less than the truth about himself. And, when it comes to wisdom, is not having a lover’s quarrel with life more worthy of Prospero than not caring or looking coldly?

I realize looking over this that it’s not clear that any of those are necessarily on any of the poets’ headstones. Still, I thought I’d mention it. If only because I like the essay.


One response to “Auden has an essay on Frost that I like.”

  1. I like your choice. Could you tell me where I could find Auden’s essay on Frost? I originally saw it referenced in an essay by Joseph Brodsky. Thanks a lot.