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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 |

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?

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?

More great poems below...

Written by A E Housman |

Loveliest of Trees the Cherry Now

 Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten, Twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score, It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom Fifty springs are little room, About the woodlands I will go To see the cherry hung with snow.

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 |

Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree

 "Farewell to barn and stack and tree, 
Farewell to Severn shore.
Terence, look your last at me, For I come home no more.
"The sun burns on the half-mown hill, By now the blood is dried; And Maurice amongst the hay lies still And my knife is in his side.
"My mother thinks us long away; 'Tis time the field were mown.
She had two sons at rising day, To-night she'll be alone.
"And here's a bloody hand to shake, And oh, man, here's good-bye; We'll sweat no more on scythe and rake, My bloody hands and I.
"I wish you strength to bring you pride, And a love to keep you clean, And I wish you luck, come Lammastide, At racing on the green.
"Long for me the rick will wait, And long will wait the fold, And long will stand the empty plate, And dinner will be cold.
"

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 |

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 |

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 |

The Welsh Marches

 High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam 
Islanded in Severn stream; 
The bridges from the steepled crest 
Cross the water east and west.
The flag of morn in conqueror's state Enters at the English gate: The vanquished eve, as night prevails, Bleeds upon the road to Wales.
Ages since the vanquished bled Round my mother's marriage-bed; There the ravens feasted far About the open house of war: When Severn down to Buildwas ran Coloured with the death of man, Couched upon her brother's grave That Saxon got me on the slave.
The sound of fight is silent long That began the ancient wrong; Long the voice of tears is still That wept of old the endless ill.
In my heart it has not died, The war that sleeps on Severn side; They cease not fighting, east and west, On the marches of my breat.
Here the truceless armies yet Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; They kill and kill and never die; And I think that each is I.
None will part us, none undo The knot that makes one flesh of two, Sick with hatred, sick with pain, Strangling-- When shall we be slain? When shall I be dead and rid Of the wrong my father did? How long, how long, till spade and hearse Puts to sleep my mother's curse?

Written by A E Housman |

Hughley Steeple

 LXI

The vane on Hughley steeple
 Veers bright, a far-known sign,
And there lie Hughley people,
 And there lie friends of mine.
Tall in their midst the tower Divides the shade and sun, And the clock strikes the hour And tells the time to none.
To south the headstones cluster, The sunny mounds lie thick; The dead are more in muster At Hughley than the quick.
North, for a soon-told number, Chill graves the sexton delves, And steeple-shadowed slumber The slayers of themselves.
To north, to south, lie parted, With Hughley tower above, The kind, the single-hearted, The lads I used to love.
And, south or north, 'tis only A choice of friends one knows, And I shall ne'er be lonely Asleep with these or those.

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 |

The Isle Of Portland

 The star-filled seas are smooth tonight
 From France to England strown;
Black towers above Portland light
 The felon-quarried stone.
On yonder island; not to rise, Never to stir forth free, Far from his folk a dead lad lies That once was friends with me.
Lie you easy, dream you light, And sleep you fast for aye; And luckier may you find the night Than you ever found the day.

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 |

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.