Alfred Edward Housman

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Rating: 5

Alfred Edward Housman Biography

Usually known as A. E. Housman, was an English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems were mostly written before 1900. Their wistful evocation of doomed youth in the English countryside, in spare language and distinctive imagery, appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th century English composers (beginning with Arthur Somervell) both before and after the First World War. Through its song-setting the poetry became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself.

Housman was counted one of the foremost classicists of his age, and has been ranked as one of the greatest scholars of all time. He established his reputation publis ...

Alfred Edward Housman Comments

Mark Adams 09 January 2012

From a biography I read on Housman (I sorry I don't recall the title or author) , Housman was believed to have possibly been homosexual, and was suspected by some family members as being so. If this was truly the case, I believe it may put different light on the point of few of some of his poems.

9 43 Reply
Maria Gough 26 September 2006

Thank you for your daily poem!

22 14 Reply
Richard Stivelman 17 June 2006

Thanks for all the Housman. I believe, however, that you have a 'typo' in the poem 'Look Not In my Eyes'. I believe it shoud read '...for fear they (not 'thy') mirror true...' Best Dick Stivelman

4 20 Reply
Artie Thayer 04 October 2003

Thank you for making this poem available. In the movie, Out of Africa, Karen Blitzen reads from a book of poems. The title is partially obliterated, but I could see Hous... and assumed Houseman. I was able to find it on your site. What a fine poem. Thanks again. - artie

5 4 Reply
ur boi camercorn 05 March 2019

love dis guy amazin really cool person

0 1 Reply
Ted G 24 June 2018

Not a poetry related question, but possibly someone here can help me. I seem to remember reading a short bit by Housman about seeing tears in his father's eyes for the first time upon seeing the black bordered newspaper the day Queen Victoria died. Am I attributing my memory to the wrong author?

1 0 Reply
Ian K 23 July 2017

The master of melancholy! Housman was in fact a rather embittered but brilliant academic and a homosexual at a time when it was not only illegal but something that had for most to remain repressed. I suppose therefore that this informs all his work and is fairly obvious, in hindsight, in some of the poems at least.

1 0 Reply
Jeanann Kerr 13 August 2013

Does anyone know the title of Housman's poem cited in The Walkabout? It is a lovely poem but I can't find it in Bartlett's. Thanks. Ms. Kerr

14 17 Reply
Sankaran Ayya 02 February 2012

poetry should appeal to emotions rather than to the intellect Housman's golden words, poetry writers should appreciate and follow as cardinal principle --KAVIN CHARALAN

23 18 Reply

The Best Poem Of Alfred Edward 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.

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Alfred Edward Housman Quotes

26 April 2016

“The heart from out the bosom Was never given in vain But bought with sighs aplenty And sold for endless rue And now I am two and twenty And oh tis true, tis true”

26 April 2016

“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.”

26 April 2016

“Give me a land of boughs in leaf A land of trees that stand; Where trees are fallen there is grief; I love no leafless land.”

26 April 2016

“The sum of things to be known is inexhaustible, and however long we read, we shall never come to the end of our story-book." (Introductory lecture as professor of Latin at University College, London, 3 October 1892)”

26 April 2016

“All knots that lovers tie Are tied to sever. Here shall your sweetheart lie, Untrue for ever.”

26 April 2016

“Could man be drunk for ever With liquor, love, or fights, Lief should I rouse at morning And lief lie down of nights. But men at whiles are sober And think by fits and starts, And if they think, they fasten Their hands upon their hearts.”

26 April 2016

“The thoughts of others Were light and fleeting, Of lovers meeting Or luck or fame. Mine were of trouble, And mine were steady; So I was ready When trouble came.”

26 April 2016

“Therefore, since the world has still Much good, but much less good than ill, And while the sun and moon endure Lucks a chance, but troubles sure, Id face it as a wise man would, And train for ill and not for good.”

26 April 2016

“Who made the world I cannot tell; Tis made, and here I am in hell.”

26 April 2016

“Now hollow fires burn out to black, And lights are fluttering low: Square your shoulders, lift your pack And leave your friends and go. O never fear, lads, naught’s to dread, Look not left nor right: In all the endless road you tread There’s nothing but the night.”

26 April 2016

“Good creatures, do you love your lives And have you ears for sense? Here is a knife like other knives, That cost me eighteen pence. I need but stick it in my heart And down will come the sky, And earths foundations will depart And all you folk will die.”

26 April 2016

“I, a stranger and afraid In a world I never made.”

26 April 2016

“Into my heart an air that kills From yon far country blows: What are those blue remembered hills, What spires, what farms are those? That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, The happy highways where I went And cannot come again.”

26 April 2016

“Existence is not itself a good thing, that we should spend a lifetime securing its necessaries: a life spent, however victoriously, in securing the necessaries of life is no more than an elaborate furnishing and decoration of apartments for the reception of a guest who is never to come. Our business here is not to live, but to live happily.”

26 April 2016

“The stars have not dealt me the worst they could do: My pleasures are plenty, my troubles are two. But oh, my two troubles they reave me of rest, The brains in my head and the heart in my breast. Oh, grant me the ease that is granted so free, The birthright of multitudes, give it to me, That relish their victuals and rest on their bed With flint in the bosom and guts in the head.”

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