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Auden’s Wit

To the Editors:

In my piece on W.H. Auden’s Oxford Book of Light Verse [NYR, August 12], I misidentified Sir Edward Dyer as the poet to whom Auden was referring in the line “To pasture my few silly sheep with Dyer.” Professor Jenny Davidson of Columbia Uni-versity points out that Auden was clearly referring to John Dyer, the eighteenth-century Anglo-Welsh author of The Fleece, a long poem about the wool trade and the silly sheep that made it possible. I thank Professor Davidson for recognizing Auden’s wit, and I apologize to Auden’s shade for underestimating it.

Edward Mendelson

New York City

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