Blog Archives

A Short Analysis of A. E. Housman’s ‘You Smile Upon Your Friend To-Day’

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


A Short Analysis of A. E. Housman’s ‘The Lent Lily’

The poet A. E. Housman is best-known for A Shropshire Lad (1896), which became a bestselling volume of poetry at the turn of the century and would later be popular among soldiers during the First World War. ‘The Lent Lily’ is not one of the best-known of Housman’s poems, but it contains the signature twist we find in much of his poetry, as melancholy breaks in on hope.

The Lent Lily

’Tis spring; come out to ramble
The hilly brakes around,
For under thorn and bramble
About the hollow ground
The primroses are found.

And there’s the windflower chilly
With all the winds at play,
And there’s the Lenten lily
That has not long to stay
And dies on Easter day.

And since till girls go maying
You find the primrose still,
And find the windflower playing Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of A. E. Housman’s ‘Smooth between sea and land’

‘Smooth between sea and land’ is the first line of a poem by A. E. Housman (1859-1936), who is best-known as the author of A Shropshire Lad (1896). This poem, however, didn’t appear in that volume and indeed remained unpublished until after Housman’s death.

Smooth between sea and land
Is laid the yellow sand,
And here through summer days
The seed of Adam plays.

Here the child comes to found
His unremaining mound,
And the grown lad to score
Two names upon the shore.

Here, on the level sand,
Between the sea and land,
What shall I build or write
Against the fall of night? Read the rest of this entry