On the banks of the Rubicon

Thanks to Arnold Wesker on this morning’s Home Truths for the quote of the day. It’s from Louis MacNeice’s seminal piece, Autumn Journal. It seems to just about cover where we are at this same moment – though the new year he’s talking of is the ominous one of 1939.It’s the last eight lines of the poem:

If you have honour to spare, employ it on the living;
The dead are as dead as Nineteen-Thirty-Eight.
Sleep to the noise of running water
To-morrow to be crossed, however deep;
This is is no river of the dead or Lethe,
To-night we sleep
On the banks of Rubicon — the die is cast;
There will be time to audit
The accounts later, there will be sunlight later
And the equation will come out at last.

…from Autumn Journal, part XXIV

Thanks to Belmont Club for the quick transcription.