poet Alfred Edward Housman

Alfred Edward Housman

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Diffugere Nives

<i>Horace, Odes, iv, 7</i>

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 leafves Pirithous in the chain
The love of comrades cannot take away.

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003
Poem Edited: Friday, September 26, 2014

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Comments about Diffugere Nives by Alfred Edward Housman

  • Juliet LanguedocJuliet Languedoc (7/4/2020 11:49:00 PM)

    The poem awakens combinations of descriptions wanting more.

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  • Morgan Michaels (7/4/2020 10:46:00 PM)

    I'm sorry. The original says " Gratiae nuda'. This is not 'unapparelled Graces three.' Can we get past English sterility? I like Houseman, but- -really!

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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (7/4/2020 3:47:00 PM)

    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.
    A very fine poem. to ny

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  • Ratnakar Mandlik (7/4/2020 9:12:00 AM)

    " The love of comrades can not take away" . Great classical poem hy the master craftsman.

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  • Ruta MohapatraRuta Mohapatra (7/4/2020 8:54:00 AM)

    we are dust and dreams.....Apt!

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  • Ratnakar Mandlik (5/27/2017 5:16:00 AM)

    Moon upon moon rebuilds it with her beams
    Great conceptualization.

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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (5/27/2017 3:38:00 AM)

    Wintertide! ! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (5/27/2017 1:44:00 AM)

    Back to wintertide..... thanks for posting.....

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