An aubade is a poem or piece of music appropriate to the dawn or early morning. By the 1930’s it was clear that the war that was supposed to end all wars was not going to. MacNeice wrote this in 1934 and it well expresses a sense of impending doom. Not the dawn of a bright new era of hope and fresh starts but one of foreboding and the closing in of sallow grey news of war. 


Having bitten on life like a sharp apple
Or, playing it like a fish, been happy,

Having felt with fingers that the sky is blue
what have we after that to look forward to?

Not the twilight of the gods but a precise dawn
of sallow and grey bricks, and newsboys crying war.

by Louis MacNeice

Ypres Salient at Dawn by Edward Handley-Read (1915)

1914 A Dawn
Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889–1946)

The Latest News
William Conor (1881–1968) 19

Gerardo Dottori Portrait of the Duce 1933

Street Scene Kentish Town circa 1931 Cliff Rowe 1904-1989

William Patrick Roberts (1895–1980) 1941

Featured image: Clive Branson Selling the ‘Daily Worker’ outside Projectile Engineering Works 1937

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