Horae Canonicae

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Horae Canonicae is a series of poems by W. H. Auden written between 1949 and 1955. The title is a reference to the canonical hours of the Christian Church, as are the titles of the seven poems constituting the series: "Prime", "Terce", "Sext", "Nones", "Vespers", "Compline", and "Lauds". Each refers to a fixed time of the day for prayer.

The canonical hours create a framework for the dramatization of Auden's religious position, which he described in a letter as "very much the same as Reinhold [Neibuhr]'s, i.e. Augustinian, not Thomist (I would allow a little more place, perhaps, for the Via Negativa.) Liturgically, I am Anglo-Catholic...".[1]

"Prime" and "Nones" were first published in Auden's collection Nones (1951). Horae Canonicae was published as a unity in Auden's The Shield of Achilles (1955).

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  1. ^ Curtis, Jan (1997). "W. H. Auden's Theology of History in Horae Canonicae: 'Prime', 'Terce', and 'Sext'". Literature and Theology. 11 (1): 46–66. doi:10.1093/litthe/11.1.46.