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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?

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 |

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 With every wind at will, But not the daffodil, Bring baskets now, and sally Upon the spring's array, And bear from hill and valley The daffodil away That dies on Easter day.

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 |

Fragment of a Greek Tragedy

 CHORUS: O suitably-attired-in-leather-boots
Head of a traveller, wherefore seeking whom
Whence by what way how purposed art thou come
To this well-nightingaled vicinity?
My object in inquiring is to know.
But if you happen to be deaf and dumb And do not understand a word I say, Then wave your hand, to signify as much.
ALCMAEON: I journeyed hither a Boetian road.
CHORUS: Sailing on horseback, or with feet for oars? ALCMAEON: Plying with speed my partnership of legs.
CHORUS: Beneath a shining or a rainy Zeus? ALCMAEON: Mud's sister, not himself, adorns my shoes.
CHORUS: To learn your name would not displease me much.
ALCMAEON: Not all that men desire do they obtain.
CHORUS: Might I then hear at what thy presence shoots.
ALCMAEON: A shepherd's questioned mouth informed me that-- CHORUS: What? for I know not yet what you will say.
ALCMAEON: Nor will you ever, if you interrupt.
CHORUS: Proceed, and I will hold my speechless tongue.
ALCMAEON: This house was Eriphyle's, no one else's.
CHORUS: Nor did he shame his throat with shameful lies.
ALCMAEON: May I then enter, passing through the door? CHORUS: Go chase into the house a lucky foot.
And, O my son, be, on the one hand, good, And do not, on the other hand, be bad; For that is much the safest plan.
ALCMAEON: I go into the house with heels and speed.
CHORUS Strophe In speculation I would not willingly acquire a name For ill-digested thought; But after pondering much To this conclusion I at last have come: LIFE IS UNCERTAIN.
This truth I have written deep In my reflective midriff On tablets not of wax, Nor with a pen did I inscribe it there, For many reasons: LIFE, I say, IS NOT A STRANGER TO UNCERTAINTY.
Not from the flight of omen-yelling fowls This fact did I discover, Nor did the Delphine tripod bark it out, Nor yet Dodona.
Its native ingunuity sufficed My self-taught diaphragm.
Antistrophe Why should I mention The Inachean daughter, loved of Zeus? Her whom of old the gods, More provident than kind, Provided with four hoofs, two horns, one tail, A gift not asked for, And sent her forth to learn The unfamiliar science Of how to chew the cud.
She therefore, all about the Argive fields, Went cropping pale green grass and nettle-tops, Nor did they disagree with her.
But yet, howe'er nutritious, such repasts I do not hanker after: Never may Cypris for her seat select My dappled liver! Why should I mention Io? Why indeed? I have no notion why.
Epode But now does my boding heart, Unhired, unaccompanied, sing A strain not meet for the dance.
Yes even the palace appears To my yoke of circular eyes (The right, nor omit I the left) Like a slaughterhouse, so to speak, Garnished with woolly deaths And many sphipwrecks of cows.
I therefore in a Cissian strain lament: And to the rapid Loud, linen-tattering thumps upon my chest Resounds in concert The battering of my unlucky head.
ERIPHYLE (within): O, I am smitten with a hatchet's jaw; And that in deed and not in word alone.
CHORUS: I thought I heard a sound within the house Unlike the voice of one that jumps for joy.
ERIPHYLE: He splits my skull, not in a friendly way, Once more: he purposes to kill me dead.
CHORUS: I would not be reputed rash, but yet I doubt if all be gay within the house.
ERIPHYLE: O! O! another stroke! that makes the third.
He stabs me to the heart against my wish.
CHORUS: If that be so, thy state of health is poor; But thine arithmetic is quite correct.

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 |

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 |

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 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 |

Bredon Hill

 In summertime on Bredon
The bells they sound so clear;
Round both the shires they ring them
In steeples far and near,
A happy noise to hear.
Here of a Sunday morning My love and I would lie, And see the coloured counties, And hear the larks so high About us in the sky.
The bells would ring to call her In valleys miles away: 'Come all to church, good people; Good people, come and pray.
But here my love would stay.
And I would turn and answer Among the springing thyme, 'Oh, peal upon our wedding, And we will hear the chime, And come to church in time.
But when the snows at Christmas On Bredon top were strewn, My love rose up so early And stole out unbeknown And went to church alone.
They tolled the one bell only, Groom there was none to see, The mourners followed after, And so to church went she, And would not wait for me.
The bells they sound on Bredon, And still the steeples hum.
'Come all to church, good people,' - Oh, noisy bells, be dumb; I hear you, I will come.

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?