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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.


  • Activities
  • Living
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

A. E. Housman
Born in Worcestershire, England, A(lfred) E(dward) Housman was profoundly affected by his mother’s death when he was 12. Housman lived a quiet life as a scholar. 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 Last Poems. Housman died in 1936 in Cambridge. A posthumous collection, called More Poems, was edited by his brother Laurence Housman.

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