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Best Famous A E Housman Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous A E Housman poems. This is a select list of the best famous A E Housman poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous A E Housman poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of A E Housman poems.

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Written by A E Housman |

On the Idle Hill of Summer

On the idle hill of summer,
Sleepy with the flow of streams, 
Far I hear the steady drummer
Drumming like a noise in dreams.
Far and near and low and louder On the roads of earth go by, Dear to friends and food for powder, Soldiers marching, all to die.
East and west on fields forgotten Bleach the bones of comrades slain, Lovely lads and dead and rotten; None that go return again.
Far the calling bugles hollo, High the screaming fife replies, Gay the files of scarlet follow: Woman bore me, I will rise.

Written by A E Housman |

O Why Do You Walk (a Parody)

 O why do you walk through the fields in boots,
Missing so much and so much?
O fat white woman whom nobody shoots,
Why do you walk through the fields in boots,
When the grass is soft as the breast of coots
And shivering-sweet to the touch?

Written by A E Housman |

Be Still My Soul Be Still

 Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle, 
Earth and high heaven are fixt of old and founded strong.
Think rather,-- call to thought, if now you grieve a little, The days when we had rest, O soul, for they were long.
Men loved unkindness then, but lightless in the quarry I slept and saw not; tears fell down, I did not mourn; Sweat ran and blood sprang out and I was never sorry: Then it was well with me, in days ere I was born.
Now, and I muse for why and never find the reason, I pace the earth, and drink the air, and feel the sun.
Be still, be still, my soul; it is but for a season: Let us endure an hour and see injustice done.
Ay, look: high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation; All thoughts to rive the heart are here, and all are vain: Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation-- Oh why did I awake? when shall I sleep again?

More great poems below...

Written by A E Housman |


 Wake: the silver dusk returning
Up the beach of darkness brims,
And the ship of sunrise burning
Strands upon the eastern rims.
Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters, Trampled to the floor it spanned, And the tent of night in tatters Straws the sky-pavilioned land.
Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying: Hear the drums of morning play; Hark, the empty highways crying "Who'll beyond the hills away?" Towns and countries woo together, Forelands beacon, belfries call; Never lad that trod on leather Lived to feast his heart with all.
Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber Sunlit pallets never thrive; Morns abed and daylight slumber Were not meant for man alive.
Clay lies still, but blood's a rover; Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey's over There'll be time enough to sleep.

Written by A E Housman |

In My Own Shire If I Was Sad

 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, On every road I wandered by, Trod beside me, close and dear, The beautiful and death-struck year: Whether in the woodland brown I heard the beechnut rustle down, And saw the purple crocus pale Flower about the autumn dale; Or littering far the fields of May Lady-smocks a-bleaching lay, And like a skylit water stood The bluebells in the azured wood.
Yonder, lightening other loads, The seasons range the country roads, But here in London streets I ken No such helpmates, only men; And these are not in plight to bear, If they would, another's care.
They have enough as 'tis: I see In many an eye that measures me The mortal sickness of a mind Too unhappy to be kind.
Undone with misery, all they can Is to hate their fellow man; And till they drop they needs must still Look at you and wish you ill.

Written by A E Housman |

Twice a Week the Winter Thorough

 Twice a week the winter thorough 
Here stood I to keep the goal: 
Football then was fighting sorrow 
For the young man's soul.
Now in Maytime to the wicket Out I march with bat and pad: See the son of grief at cricket Trying to be glad.
Try I will; no harm in trying: Wonder 'tis how little mirth Keeps the bones of man from lying On the bed of earth.

Written by A E Housman |

Diffugere Nives (Horace Odes 4.7)

 The snows are fled away, leaves on the shaws
 And grasses in the mead renew their birth,
The river to the river-bed withdraws,
 And altered is the fashion of the earth.
The Nymphs and Graces three put off their fear And unapparelled in the woodland play.
The swift hour and the brief prime of the year Say to the soul, Thou wast not born for aye.
Thaw follows frost; hard on the heel of spring Treads summer sure to die, for hard on hers Comes autumn with his apples scattering; Then back to wintertide, when nothing stirs.
But oh, whate'er the sky-led seasons mar, Moon upon moon rebuilds it with her beams; Come we where Tullus and where Ancus are And good Aeneas, we are dust and dreams.
Torquatus, if the gods in heaven shall add The morrow to the day, what tongue has told? Feast then thy heart, for what thy heart has had The fingers of no heir will ever hold.
When thou descendest once the shades among, The stern assize and equal judgment o'er, Not thy long lineage nor thy golden tongue, No, nor thy righteousness, shall friend thee more.
Night holds Hippolytus the pure of stain, Diana steads him nothing, he must stay; And Theseus leaves Pirithous in the chain The love of comrades cannot take away.

Written by A E Housman |

The New Mistress

 "Oh, sick I am to see you, will you never let me be? 
You may be good for something, but you are not good for me.
Oh, go where you are wanted, for you are not wanted here.
And that was all the farewell when I parted from my dear.
"I will go where I am wanted, to a lady born and bred Who will dress me free for nothing in a uniform of red; She will not be sick to see me if I only keep it clean: I will go where I am wanted for a soldier of the Queen.
"I will go where I am wanted, for the sergeant does not mind; He may be sick to see me but he treats me very kind: He gives me beer and breakfast and a ribbon for my cap, And I never knew a sweetheart spend her money on a chap.
"I will go where I am wanted, where there's room for one or two, And the men are none too many for the work there is to do; Where the standing line wears thinner and the dropping dead lie thick; And the enemies of England they shall see me and be sick.

Written by A E Housman |

Is My Team Ploughing

 "Is my team ploughing, 
That I was used to drive 
And hear the harness jingle 
When I was man alive?" 

Ay, the horses trample, 
The harness jingles now; 
No change though you lie under 
The land you used to plough.
"Is football playing Along the river shore, With lads to chase the leather, Now I stand up no more?" Ay, the ball is flying, The lads play heart and soul; The goal stands up, the keeper Stands up to keep the goal.
"Is my girl happy, That I thought hard to leave, And has she tired of weeping As she lies down at eve?" Ay, she lies down lightly, She lies not down to weep, Your girl is well contented.
Be still, my lad, and sleep.
"Is my friend hearty, Now I am thin and pine, And has he found to sleep in A better bed than mine?" Yes, lad, I lie easy, I lie as lads would choose; I cheer a dead man's sweetheart, Never ask me whose.

Written by A E Housman |

The Day of Battle

 "Far I hear the bugle blow 
To call me where I would not go, 
And the guns begin the song, 
'Soldier, fly or stay for long.
' "Comrade, if to turn and fly Made a soldier never die, Fly I would, for who would not? 'Tis sure no pleasure to be shot.
"But since the man that runs away Lives to die another day, And cowards' funerals, when they come, Are not wept so well at home, "Therefore, though the best is bad, Stand and do the best, my lad; Stand and fight and see your slain, And take the bullet in your brain.

Written by A E Housman |

The Recruit

 Leave your home behind, lad, 
And reach your friends your hand, 
And go, and luck go with you 
While Ludlow tower shall stand.
Oh, come you home of Sunday When Ludlow streets are still And Ludlow bells are calling To farm and lane and mill, Or come you home of Monday When Ludlow market hums And Ludlow chimes are playing "The conquering hero comes," Come you home a hero, Or come not home at all, The lads you leave will mind you Till Ludlow tower shall fall.
And you will list the bugle That blows in lands of morn, And make the foes of England Be sorry you were born.
And you till trump of doomsday On lands of morn may lie, And make the hearts of comrades Be heavy where you die.
Leave your home behind you, Your friends by field and town: Oh, town and field will mind you Till Ludlow tower is down.

Written by A E Housman |

The Grizzly Bear

 The Grizzly Bear is huge and wild
It has devoured the little child.
The little child is unaware It has been eaten by the bear.

Written by A E Housman |

Wake Not for the World-Heard Thunder

 Wake not for the world-heard thunder, 
Nor the chimes that earthquakes toll; 
Stars may plot in heaven with planet, 
Lightning rive the rock of granite, 
Tempest tread the oakwood under, 
Fear not you for flesh or soul; 
Marching, fighting, victory past, 
Stretch your limbs in peace at last.
Stir not for the soldier's drilling, Nor the fever nothing cures; Throb of drum and timbal's rattle Call but men alive to battle, And the fife with death-notes filling Screams for blood--but not for yours.
Times enough you bled your best; Sleep on now, and take your rest.
Sleep, my lad; the French have landed, London's burning, Windsor's down.
Clasp your cloak of earth about you; We must man the ditch without you, March unled and fight short-handed, Charge to fall and swim to drown.
Duty, friendship, bravery o'er, Sleep away, lad; wake no more.

Written by A E Housman |

Eight OClock

 He stood, and heard the steeple 
Sprinkle the quarters on the morning town.
One, two, three, four, to market-place and people It tossed them down.
Strapped, noosed, nighing his hour, He stood and counted them and cursed his luck; And then the clock collected in the tower Its strength, and struck.

Written by A E Housman |

Terence This is Stupid Stuff

 ‘TERENCE, this is stupid stuff: 
You eat your victuals fast enough; 
There can’t be much amiss, ’tis clear, 
To see the rate you drink your beer.
But oh, good Lord, the verse you make, 5 It gives a chap the belly-ache.
The cow, the old cow, she is dead; It sleeps well, the horned head: We poor lads, ’tis our turn now.
To hear such tunes as killed the cow! Pretty friendship 'tis to rhyme Your friends to death before their time Moping melancholy mad! Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad!" Why, if 'tis dancing you would be, There's brisker pipes than poetry.
Say, for what were hop-yards meant, Or why was Burton built on Trent? Oh many a peer of England brews Livelier liquor than the Muse, And malt does more than Milton can To justify God's ways to man.
Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink For fellows whom it hurts to think: Look into the pewter pot To see the world as the world's not.
And faith, 'tis pleasant till 'tis past: The mischief is that 'twill not last.
Oh I have been to Ludlow fair And left my necktie God knows where, And carried half way home, or near, Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer: Then the world seemed none so bad, And I myself a sterling lad; And down in lovely muck I've lain, Happy till I woke again.
Then I saw the morning sky: Heigho, the tale was all a lie; The world, it was the old world yet, I was I, my things were wet, And nothing now remained to do But begin the game anew.
Therefore, since the world has still Much good, but much less good than ill, And while the sun and moon endure Luck's a chance, but trouble's sure, I'd face it as a wise man would, And train for ill and not for good.
'Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale Is not so brisk a brew as ale: Out of a stem that scored the hand I wrung it in a weary land.
But take it: if the smack is sour, The better for the embittered hour; It should do good to heart and head When your soul is in my soul's stead; And I will friend you, if I may, In the dark and cloudy day.
There was a king reigned in the East: There, when kings will sit to feast, They get their fill before they think With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all the springs to birth From the many-venomed earth; First a little, thence to more, He sampled all her killing store; And easy, smiling, seasoned sound, Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat And stared aghast to watch him eat; They poured strychnine in his cup And shook to see him drink it up: They shook, they stared as white's their shirt: Them it was their poison hurt.
--I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old.