Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) was not a prolific poet – he published just two collections in his lifetime – but he was, and is, a popular one. ‘Spring Morning’, which was published in Housman’s less well-known second volume, Last Poems (1922), the long-awaited follow-up to his 1896 collection A Shropshire Lad, is a spring poem with a bittersweet twist.
Star and coronal and bell
April underfoot renews,
And the hope of man as well
Flowers among the morning dews.
Now the old come out to look,
Winter past and winter’s pains,
How the sky in pool and brook
Glitters on the grassy plains. Read the rest of this entry
One of the 63 poems that make up A. E. Housman’s most famous volume of poems, A Shropshire Lad (1896), the poem beginning ‘In My Own Shire, If I Was Sad’ is written in rhyming couplets and is about the change the ‘Shropshire lad’ feels when he moves from his rural home to the bustling metropolis of London. Suddenly, he is surrounded by a sea of people, none of them cares for him – he is in a city of millions of souls, but has never felt more alone.
In my own shire, if I was sad,
Homely comforters I had:
The earth, because my heart was sore,
Sorrowed for the son she bore;
And standing hills, long to remain,
Shared their short-lived comrade’s pain
And bound for the same bourn as I, Read the rest of this entry
Taken from A. E. Housman’s first, and best-known, collection, A Shropshire Lad (1896), ‘You smile upon your friend to-day’ is a short lyric in which the ‘lad’ of the collection’s title, who was originally named Terence Hearsay,
You smile upon your friend to-day,
To-day his ills are over;
You hearken to the lover’s say,
And happy is the lover.
’Tis late to hearken, late to smile,
But better late than never:
I shall have lived a little while
Before I die for ever. Read the rest of this entry