MacNeice, Louis. "Prayer before Birth".
- the speaker, a strikingly wise baby "not yet born", addresses mankind in a sadly knowing soliloquy
- expresses his fear of the destructive power of "human race" which may overwhelm and destroy his future life: the "wise lies" of the "old men", the bestiality of those who think themselves gods, the cruelty of those who deprive men of individuality and turn them into dumb machines, etc.
- apologises himself for the sins he will commit as a representative of the mankind thus responsible for the overall actions of all human beings
- asks for "strength against those who would freeze [his] humanity"
- announces in his amen-like concluding sentence he shall be killed if his conditions are not to be fulfilled
- melodic: repetitions, identical word rhymes, internal rhymes
- expresses the wisdom of the old and experienced x in the voice of an unborn innocent baby
- sadly contemplates and weights the alternatives of a life in desperate conditions x death
AuthorMacNeice, Louis. (1907 - 1963).
Full Title"Prayer before Birth".
MacNeice, Louis. "Prayer before Birth". Collected Poems. London: Faber and Faber, 1979.