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Prayer Before Birth Summary & Analysis
by Louis MacNeice

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"Prayer Before Birth" is a poem by the Anglo-Irish poet Louis MacNeice, written during World War II and first published in MacNeice's 1944 collection Springboard. The speaker, an unborn child, prays for future guidance and protection from the horrors of the modern world, and possesses great foresight about humankind's capacity for self-destruction and violence. The speaker ultimately insists that, if this prayer cannot be answered, the speaker would rather not be born at all. The poem is thus a damning condemnation of the state humanity found itself in around the middle of the 20th century.

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