OK, here’s a poetry bleg for starters.
In my Cole Porter piece a few days ago. I
quoted, as an example of alliteration, the following line: “Softly the
civilized centuries fall.” A couple of readers want to know who wrote this
line. I am embarrassed to say I can’t remember. When writing that passage,
I fished around in my memory for an alliterative line, and up it popped.
Google doesn’t help — and yes, I tried both the American “z” and British
“s” spellings of “civilized.”
If anyone can locate this poem for me I’d be much obliged. All I know
(probabilities in parentheses, as percentages) is
— It’s a real line of verse (100). I didn’t make it up (100). And I’m
pretty sure it’s word perfect (90).
— It’s the first line of a poem (85), or just possibly the first line of a
stanza but not of the poem (15).
— It’s one of the mid-20th-century British poets (80).
— But not Auden (99). It sounds like Auden, I know, but it ain’t him.
(All the midcentury British poets sound like Auden at least some of the
time — his influence was tremendous.)