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By A. E. Housman

“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.

Poet Bio

Born in Worcestershire, England, A(lfred) E(dward) Housman was profoundly affected by his mother’s death when he was 12. Housman lived mostly as a recluse. He was a brilliant classicist, first appointed Professor of Latin at University College, London, then Trinity College, Cambridge. During his lifetime he only published two volumes of poetry: A Shropshire Lad and Poems.

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