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A Shropshire Lad

- By A. E. Housman
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Alfred Edward Housman (/ˈhaʊsmən/; 26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936), usually known as A. E. Housman, was an English classical scholar and poet. His cycle of poems, A Shropshire Lad wistfully evoke the dooms and disappointments of youth in the English countryside.[1] Their simplicity and distinctive imagery appealed strongly to Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th-century English composers both before and after the First World War. Through their song-settings, the poems became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself. Housman was one of the foremost classicists of his age and has been ranked as one of the greatest scholars who ever lived.[2][3] He established his reputation publishing as a private scholar and, on the strength and quality of his work, was appointed Professor of Latin at University College London and then at the University of Cambridge. His editions of Juvenal, Manilius and Lucan are still considered authoritative.
A SHROPSHIRE LAD I
1887
From Clee to heaven the beacon burns, The shires have seen it plain, From north and south the sign returns And beacons burn again.
Look left, look right, the hills are bright, The dales are light between, Because 'tis fifty years to-night That God has saved the Queen.
Now, when the flame they watch not towers About the soil they trod, Lads, we'll remember friends of ours Who shared the work with God.
To skies that knit their heartstrings right, To fields that bred them brave, The saviours come not home to-night: Themselves they could not save.
It dawns in Asia, tombstones show And Shropshire names are read; And the Nile spills his overflow Beside the Severn's dead.
We pledge in peace by farm and town The Queen they served in war, And fire the beacons up and down The land they perished for.
"God Save the Queen" we living sing, From height to height 'tis heard; And with the rest your voices ring, Lads of the Fifty-third.
Oh, God will save her, fear you not: Be you the men you've been, Get you the sons your fathers got, And God will Save the Queen.
II 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.
III 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.
IV REVEILLE
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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Word Lists:

Beacon : a fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration

Pallet : a straw mattress.

Trump : (in bridge, whist, and similar card games) a playing card of the suit chosen to rank above the others, which can win a trick where a card of a different suit has been led.

Tower : a tall, narrow building, either freestanding or forming part of a building such as a church or castle

Bloom : a flower, especially one cultivated for its beauty

Woo : seek the favor, support, or custom of

Clay : a stiff, sticky fine-grained earth, typically yellow, red, or bluish-gray in color and often forming an impermeable layer in the soil. It can be molded when wet, and is dried and baked to make bricks, pottery, and ceramics.

Thrive : (of a child, animal, or plant) grow or develop well or vigorously

Mill : a building equipped with machinery for grinding grain into flour.

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Additional Information:

Rating: B

Words: 576

Unique Words : 295

Sentences : 31

Reading Time : 2:33

Noun : 214

Conjunction : 58

Adverb : 40

Interjection : 4

Adjective : 21

Pronoun : 47

Verb : 80

Preposition : 61

Letter Count : 2,425

Sentiment : Positive

Tone : Neutral

Difficult Words : 120

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