SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
We made all possible preparations,
Drew up a list of firms,
Constantly revised our calculations
And allotted the farms,
Issued all the orders expedient
In this kind of case:
Most, as we expected, were obedient,
Though there were murmurs, of course;
Chiefly against our exercising
Our old right to abuse:
Even some sort of attempt at rising,
But these were mere boys.
For never serious misgiving
Occurred to anyone,
Since there could be no question of living
If we did not win.
The generally accepted view teaches
That there was no excuse,
Though in the light of recent researches
Many would find the cause
In a not uncommon form of terror;
Others, still more astute,
Point to possibilities of error
At the very start.
As for ourselves there is left remaining
Our honour at last,
And a reasonable chance of retaining
Our faculties to the last.
–W.H. Auden, Let History Be My Judge (1928) in: Collected Poems pp. 34-35.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
Estimated cost of the environmental damage caused each year by the world’s 3,000 largest companies:
Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.
Beekeepers began extracting 1 million honeybees living beneath the siding of a house in New York State.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”