Alfred Edward Housman

(26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936 / Worcestershire)

Here Dead We Lie

Poem by Alfred Edward Housman

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.


Comments about Here Dead We Lie by Alfred Edward Housman

  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (8/7/2019 5:46:00 AM)

    death of young
    regretting tone of life!(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (8/1/2019 9:22:00 PM)

    He speaks for the young men who died in war and regretted losing their lives
    because they were young 'Life, to be sure,
    Is nothing much to lose,
    But young men think it is', . He is right about this.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Isaac (7/31/2019 8:24:00 PM)

    I do not believe this comment holds any truth within its lines.(Report)Reply

    Isaac(7/31/2019 8:26:00 PM)

    This poem does not signify a dignified end but rather the saddening truth in which the ignorant members of the Army, the men who were no different from us, had to face.

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Robert Murray SmithRobert Murray Smith (6/9/2018 12:14:00 AM)

    A wonderful poem about those who died in war.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • jaqualin (12/18/2017 3:24:00 AM)

    poo poo poo poo poo(Report)Reply

    Raymond Farrell(8/4/2019 1:39:00 PM)

    Thanks for expressing you lack of understanding as well as you possibly can.

    1 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (7/6/2014 2:48:00 AM)

    small lines and wonderful poem.Death is the subject.(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Claude H Oliver Ii (2/2/2014 10:25:00 AM)

    It is a poem of its time. Was death for the greater good or a personal need to be a man? Interesting question.(Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Claude H Oliver Ii (2/2/2014 10:19:00 AM)

    An acceptance of tribal, ethnic or national devotion which overrides devotion to humanity. It is a poem of its time. When seen from our perspective, one senses that some of us see choosing life and embracing it may be a positive evolution.(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Michael Morgan (2/2/2014 10:07:00 AM)

    Nice, from an academic who never went to war. The poem is pure posture, and full of empty bravado, though well phrased. Houseman would never have gone to ANY war. MM(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • Ramesh RaiRamesh Rai (2/2/2014 8:37:00 AM)

    Life without any good deed is like a dead and shameful to the land.
    Youth have so much to do and to ensure that they may say what about the youth. A provoking write.(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Ebuka Prince Okoroafor (2/2/2014 2:16:00 AM)

    In my own candid opinion, i'd say this is a great poem, two stanzas and explcit.

    In the first stanza he trys to tell us what it means to die with dignity, to die fighting with little hope for a cause.he prefares to die than 'shame the land' from which he sprung.this is real patriotism

    in the second stanza housman tries to explain a young man's view of life. Youth is a stage where young men think less before action...most times in the eyes of an exuberent youth, life is seen as 'nothing much to loose.. This is so true(have you withnessed university students on rampage before?)

    its never right to rate a poem low when you've not understood the subject matter from the writer's viewpoint.(Report)Reply

    20 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Gajanan MishraGajanan Mishra (2/2/2013 5:09:00 AM)

    great poet. nothing much to loss.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Carlos Echeverria (2/2/2012 1:25:00 PM)

    It's great poem because it's open to interpretation. The first line, taken literally, means the dead are not telling the truth about the ravages of war.If that first were to rhyme, it would be inversion; but it's not-its meaning is exact. To me, this poem protests war.(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • Mohammad Akmal Nazir (2/2/2011 8:17:00 PM)

    Outstanding poetry. The young soldiers preferred to die in the battle field than to bring disgrace to their country.
    They didn't want to come to their own country as losers.
    Excellent poem!(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • Ian Fraser (2/3/2010 6:49:00 AM)

    Few poems as short as this have caused as much controversy As Here Dead We Lie. Many attempts have beeen made to re-interpret it in the light of more 'modern' views of war but I think Houseman is indeed saying that it is preferable to accept the risk of death than the shame of cowardice and that the life of the individual is less significant than that of the good of the whole. This last position begs of course a huge question - how is the good of the whole determined? By the powers that be? Houseman could at times be quite depressive and there does seem to be a kind of death wish here. I don't see this as one of his better poems.(Report)Reply

    12 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • Sylva PortoianSylva Portoian (2/3/2010 6:02:00 AM)

    'Here Dead We Lie'
    The line stanziated as definite end
    However...
    I feel, might can still means,
    'We lie, but still we are alive'.(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • Joey Valenzuela (2/2/2010 11:32:00 PM)

    the second stanza is somewhat saying that man is losing much about life...
    and it soppurted the idea that man did not die in his land-may signify his country, or the place where he was born(read last line) -

    and that is the much a person lost (which is presented in stanza two....(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Joseph Poewhit (2/2/2010 12:45:00 PM)

    Early death is tragic, when one thinks of potentials lost.(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Kevin StrawKevin Straw (2/2/2010 9:59:00 AM)

    This is second-rate poetry.

    The first line contains an unnecessary inversion – why not “Here we lie dead/Because…”

    Also in the first line: “here” and “lie” could be left out (we know the dead “lie” and we know they must lie somewhere, and where else do they “lie” if not “here”? 'We are dead because...' could have been the first line.

    The “to be sure” is smug – and there is nothing “sure” about life being nothing much to lose (Housman here tries to make his own jaundiced view of life a universal belief.) . Nor is it sure that young men think life is nothing much to lose..

    Housman ignores all the positive reasons for which young men fought in WWI (and there were many) for the negative one of not wanting to 'live and shame the land...'.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    30 person did not like.
  • Kayke Stone Elizabeth-Meyers (2/2/2010 3:09:00 AM)

    a very nice poem even thou is short...
    it is very meaningful....
    i agree with you edward!(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: life, lost, spring



Poem Submitted: Wednesday, December 24, 2003