“Diffugere Nives” by A. E. Housman


From the Favorite Poem Project video archive, here is William Maxwell reading “Diffugere Nives” by A. E. Housman. Maxwell (1908–2000) was a writer and editor in New York, NY.


“Housman was widely admired when I was young, along with Frost and Millay. Poets who are read now, were not. And I think the best thing about them is their music. All my life I’ve been saying two lines out of this poem with pleasure. And the lines are: ‘Night holds Hippolytus the pure of stain, / Diana steads him nothing, he must stay’ and if it were Greek or German or something else it would be the same, it’s something about the order of the words, the language that moves me.”

Related: The Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives. Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, founded the Favorite Poem Project shortly after the Library of Congress appointed him to the post in 1997.