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This Be The Verse Summary & Analysis
by Philip Larkin

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The British poet Philip Larkin published "This Be The Verse" in 1971. The poem is about the way that parents pass their flaws and emotional complications on to their children, who in turn pass their own misery on to their children. The only way to stop this cycle, the speaker suggests in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek tone, is to "get out" of life without having kids. Written in iambic tetrameter with a strict ABAB rhyme scheme, the poem borrows its title from Robert Louis Stevenson's poem "Requiem," which celebrates the idea of finding happiness and peace in death. For the speaker of "This Be The Verse," though, death is merely a way to avoid inevitable family tensions.

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