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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 |


 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.

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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 |

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 |

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 |

Here Dead We Lie

 Here dead we lie 
Because we did not choose 
To live and shame the land 
From which we sprung.
Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose, But young men think it is, And we were young.

Written by A E Housman |


 Stars, I have seen them fall,
But when they drop and die
No star is lost at all
From all the star-sown sky.
The toil of all that be Helps not the primal fault; It rains into the sea, And still the sea is salt.

Written by A E Housman |

The Immortal Part

 When I meet the morning beam, 
Or lay me down at night to dream, 
I hear my bones within me say, 
"Another night, another day.
"When shall this slough of sense be cast, This dust of thoughts be laid at last, The man of flesh and soul be slain And the man of bone remain? "This tongue that talks, these lungs that shout, These thews that hustle us about, This brain that fills the skull with schemes, And its humming hive of dreams,-- "These to-day are proud in power And lord it in their little hour: The immortal bones obey control Of dying flesh and dying soul.
"'Tis long till eve and morn are gone: Slow the endless night comes on, And late to fulness grows the birth That shall last as long as earth.
"Wanderers eastward, wanderers west, Know you why you cannot rest? 'Tis that every mother's son Travails with a skeleton.
"Lie down in the bed of dust; Bear the fruit that bear you must; Bring the eternal seed to light, And morn is all the same as night.
"Rest you so from trouble sore, Fear the heat o' the sun no more, Nor the snowing winter wild, Now you labour not with child.
"Empty vessel, garment cast, We that wore you long shall last.
--Another night, another day.
" So my bones within me say.
Therefore they shall do my will To-day while I am master still, And flesh and soul, now both are strong, Shall hale the sullen slaves along, Before this fire of sense decay, This smoke of thought blow clean away, And leave with ancient night alone The stedfast and enduring bone.

Written by A E Housman |

Along the field as we came by

 ALONG the field as we came by 
A year ago, my love and I, 
The aspen over stile and stone 
Was talking to itself alone.
‘Oh who are these that kiss and pass? A country lover and his lass; Two lovers looking to be wed; And time shall put them both to bed, But she shall lie with earth above, And he beside another love.
And sure enough beneath the tree There walks another love with me, And overhead the aspen heaves Its rainy-sounding silver leaves; And I spell nothing in their stir, But now perhaps they speak to her, And plain for her to understand They talk about a time at hand When I shall sleep with clover clad, And she beside another lad.

Written by A E Housman |

On Moonlit Heath and Lonesome Bank

 On moonlit heath and lonesome bank 
The sheep beside me graze; 
And yon the gallows used to clank 
Fast by the four cross ways.
A careless shepherd once would keep The flocks by moonlight there, * And high amongst the glimmering sheep The dead man stood on air.
They hang us now in Shrewsbury jail: The whistles blow forlorn, And trains all night groan on the rail To men that die at morn.
There sleeps in Shrewsbury jail to-night, Or wakes, as may betide, A better lad, if things went right, Than most that sleep outside.
And naked to the hangman's noose The morning clocks will ring A neck God made for other use Than strangling in a string.
And sharp the link of life will snap, And dead on air will stand Heels that held up as straight a chap As treads upon the land.
So here I'll watch the night and wait To see the morning shine, When he will hear the stroke of eight And not the stroke of nine; And wish my friend as sound a sleep As lads' I did not know, That shepherded the moonlit sheep A hundred years ago.

Written by A E Housman |

Loitering with a Vacant Eye

 Loitering with a vacant eye 
Along the Grecian gallery, 
And brooding on my heavy ill, 
I met a statue standing still.
Still in marble stone stood he, And stedfastly he looked at me.
"Well met," I thought the look would say, "We both were fashioned far away; We neither knew, when we were young, These Londoners we live among.
" Still he stood and eyed me hard, An earnest and a grave regard: "What, lad, drooping with your lot? I too would be where I am not.
I too survey that endless line Of men whose thoughts are not as mine.
Years, ere you stood up from rest, On my neck the collar prest; Years, when you lay down your ill, I shall stand and bear it still.
Courage, lad, 'tis not for long: Stand, quit you like stone, be strong.
" So I thought his look would say; And light on me my trouble lay, And I stept out in flesh and bone Manful like the man of stone.

Written by A E Housman |

Shot? So Quick So Clean an Ending?

 Shot? so quick, so clean an ending? 
Oh that was right, lad, that was brave: 
Yours was not an ill for mending, 
'Twas best to take it to the grave.
Oh you had forethought, you could reason, And saw your road and where it led, And early wise and brave in season Put the pistol to your head.
Oh soon, and better so than later After long disgrace and scorn, You shot dead the household traitor, The soul that should not have been born.
Right you guessed the rising morrow And scorned to tread the mire you must: Dust's your wages, son of sorrow, But men may come to worse than dust.
Souls undone, undoing others,-- Long time since the tale began.
You would not live to wrong your brothers: Oh lad, you died as fits a man.
Now to your grave shall friend and stranger With ruth and some with envy come: Undishonoured, clear of danger, Clean of guilt, pass hence and home.
Turn safe to rest, no dreams, no waking; And here, man, here's the wreath I've made: 'Tis not a gift that's worth the taking, But wear it and it will not fade.

Written by A E Housman |

Oh Stay At Home My Lad

 Oh stay at home, my lad, and plough 
The land and not the sea, 
And leave the soldiers at their drill, 
And all about the idle hill 
Shepherd your sheep with me.
Oh stay with company and mirth And daylight and the air; Too full already is the grave Of fellows that were good and brave And died bacause they were.