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A Shropshire Lad
A.E. Housman
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A Shropshire Lad

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,981 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Designed to appeal to the book lover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautifully bound pocket-sized gift editions of much loved classic titles. Bound in real cloth, printed on high quality paper, and featuring ribbon markers and gilt edges, Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.

Evocative of 'the blue remembered hills' of his youth,
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Macmillan Collector's Library (first published 1896)
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,981 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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Bill  Kerwin
Nov 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The much-anthologized lyrics everyone remembers from this slim volume are memorable for their delicate music and Attic restraint, but many of the sixty-three poems contained herein are pretty forgettable; reiterating the familiar themes of youthful beauty and early death without deepening or enriching them, they often veer dangerously close to self-parody. Still . . . "Loveliest of trees, the cherry now," "To an Athlete Dying Young," "Bredon Hill," "With rue may heart is laden," "Is my team plou
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys poetry
I was first introduced to the exquisite poetry of A.E. Housman in my grade ten English class (where we covered British literature from Beowulf to the early 20th century, and oh, how I enjoyed that class). I started to appreciate Housman's poetry then, but I started to really love his poetry when I listened to George Butterworth's lovely and evocative song-cycle rendition of A Shropshire Lad and realisesd that Housman's poems are not just meant to be read, but really and truly are meant to be sun ...more

Picked this up today because I am grieving Endeavour Morse who used to quote from this collection often through the course of his career.

Sixty-three tiny poems urging us to seize the day, not let life just run out without giving all.

Wake: the silver dusk returning
Up the beach of darkness brims,
And the ship of sunrise burning
Strands upon the eastern rims.

Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters,
Trampled to the floor it spanned,
And the tent of
Once I got through the rather dismal first 15 or 20 poems, I quite enjoyed this classic collection. From dreary images of murders, hangings, and suicides, there was a gradual shift to a more lighthearted - if somewhat cynical - tone which was underscored by the rhythmic lilt of the verse.

I began to read these poems in an effort to locate the one poem which purportedly inspired the title of the award-winning novel Earth and High Heaven (by Canadian author Gwethalyn Graham). The exact phrase is fo
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Be forewarned: this review is less about this book than maybe any review on this site has EVER not been about a book (exaggeration is my thing, as of late.) I read this short collection of poems, and I wanted to really turn your heads around in circles with my insightful analysis of its varying components. To tell you all about who Housman was, what he intended to tell you, how/why you should read these poems, and maybe even how you should feel about them. Straight-up-deep-dopeshit. This I canno ...more
Steve Hjerrild
I think I never want to see
Another stanza by A.E.
I pity now the friends of Terence,
And eke his siblings, pets and parents.

For oh, good Lord the verse he made--
Too grim and too much in the shade:
The doomstruck lad, the Severn missed,
The Ludlow fair where he got pissed,

The London blues, the snow-hung orchard,
Young life cut short in syntax tortured,
And favorite of all his themes,
The Shropshire schoolboy's martial dreams.

Brave verse to stop a soldier shirking
By one whose work was patent-clerking.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
As a lad I was very fond of one of Housman's poems, Reveille, because it was upbeat and inspirational:

" Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber
Sunlit pallets never thrive;
Morns abed and daylight slumber
Were not meant for man alive.

So when I received my copy of the Folio edition of this book, I expected more of the same. Boy, was I right out to lunch! What utter doom and gloom! Death is present in real or allegorical form in just about every poem. I had never read anything like it from the pen of
Andrea Zuvich
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice poetry, though not my favourite kind. 'Tis a shame I didn't read it when I lived in Clungunford, Shropshire (mentioned in this work). It is a very short read, and can be done in one sitting.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you have avoided reading a particular poet for 35 years because you assumed his work was going to be a prissy sniffy bag of starched shirt collars, and then you read it by chance and discover that it's utterly brilliant rhythmically and thematically, and rugged and ironical and exceptional in every way. And you think, damn those presuppositions of mine!
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
8/2012 I come to Housman when I'm hollow, when I'm lost, when I'm confused. I come here when I need to come here, and he takes me in, he comforts me with snark, with acute observation, with hilarity and bottomless woe. There's nobody, nobody at all like Housman. I have entire swaths of this by heart, and generally read a poem or two at need. Today I read it cover to cover and was, once again, entirely blown away.

2010: What's to say of Housman? His words are like strange wine that changes one ut
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, war, literature
My expectations for this poem cycle were confounded. I'd got it into my head that A Shropshire Lad was a rural idyll about bucolic farm boys, milk maids and nostalgic reveries about "blue remembered hills". As there is practically none of that ("blue remembered hills" notwithstanding), I'd obviously constructed this false image myself based on nothing more than the title of the collection.

Now, that's a bit of a shame as I was in the mood for (had a need for, in fact) a bit of idylic escapism to
Erik Graff
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: poetry
It has been claimed that this collection was that most popularly carried by British troops into WWI. Housman, according to Wikipedia, declined royalties in order to make it available in cheap, compact editions. It is certainly a work focused on youth, on love, on war and the transience of life.

I read the poems aloud with the owner of Heirloom Books in Chicago over a period of several days, alternating from one to the next, occasionally discussing the content, especially when it was obscure to on
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been slowly working through A.E. Housman’s poetry collection, A Shropshire Lad, and am finishing it up this morning, which is kind of perfect since it’s World Poetry Day! I loved A Shropshire Lad—it’s written simply but with an underlying darkness of death and the beauty of a boy’s memories of home.
Sara Jesus
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poesia
Mais uma belissimo livro da coleção Macmillan.
Um poeta que desconheci mas me agradou pela sua forma simples de descrever os sentimentos, a natureza, o mar e a sociedade Londrina
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books, audio
Many of these poems were rather sad so I could only listen to the audio version of this book in small increments. It was an excellent collection!
Ronald Wise
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This cycle of 63 short poems at first seems to wander from topic to topic with frequent visits to the grave, but in the end I was left with the impression of it as a masterful collective whole. The first poem had me fearing I would have to struggle through archaic phrases, regionalisms, or poetic abstractions. But with the Oxford English Dictionary loaded on my computer, I soon found myself enjoying Housman's verse for his unusual vocabulary and its creative (or was it old-fashioned) use.

His foc
Nov 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Two of my favorites:

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free."
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
"The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue."
And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

Now hollows fires burn out to black,
And lights are gu
May 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely wonderful. A slim poetry collection about death and loss that ranks among the best I have read in a long time. Some call it pathetic, I call it genius.
Eugenea Pollock
I cannot “rate” this classic adequately. Nothing I could say would even come close to an informed evaluation of its significance. I read it in an attempt to understand why my late father brought it back from England after WWII and kept it for over 65 years. Having just finished it, I still don’t know for sure. It seems to be about male friendship/camaraderie, death/dying in war, grief and loss—not to mention scenes of execution, suicide... . Maybe that is the point. Poetry about happiness, flowe ...more
It seems a little otherworldly to read a book of highly formal, good-quality poetry that was a runaway bestseller appealing most strongly to young men. Worth reading if only for the shock of realizing how much influence it had on twentieth century popular literature. Bracingly morbid, but then Mithridates died old, and by gum A.E. Housman made it to 77 himself.
The poetry was not bad, Housman knows how
to vary the tempo and style to set the mood. In contrast to the crap that Emily Dickinson as thrown on paper.

But what makes this book work is the stunning photography.

Definately a book to spend a few hours with. It was worth putting a hold on my current reading.

Arrived and read on the same day.

Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A great series of poems, but linger overlong on the grave I think.

Worth it if only for XL:

INTO my heart on 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, 5
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
Deceptively simplistic, this collection ranges along the varied experiences and nuances of life itself. Love, death, defeat, fleeting victory, eventual demise and a general feeling of transience--A.E. Housman reminds us continually that we are but a page in a book we can never see entirely. Housman's Shropshire, in all its pastoral idyllic beauty, never existed any more than Margaret Mitchell's romanticized South, or even Hardy's Wessex. No matter. His themes are universal and readily accessible ...more
This wasn't at all what I was expecting. I think I vaguely knew that there was a lot of beautiful golden youth, dead before their time. I also vaguely knew - or thought I knew - that A Shropshire Lad had been packed into the rucksack of every WWI Tommy, a reminder of the arcadia they were defending in the hell of the trenches. I'm a 'Shropshire Lad' myself, and this is very much the image you pick up from the book's footprint on local culture:


There's very little that's comforting in these poems
Richard Smith
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hadn’t realised that A Shropshire Lad is a whole series of poems. I knew well “those blue remembered hills…the land of lost content” and “loveliest of trees, the cherry now/Is hung with bloom along the bough, but I didn’t know the other 61 poems, although I must have bumped up against some of them.

And I associated them with the First World War, imagining that they were written after the war and were filled with nostalgia for a world that was gone. They are filled with nostalgia for a world tha
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Shropshire Lad
(8.3k words; 1.5 hours; Wikisource edition) A.E. Housman's first collection of 63 poems. I enjoy his terse, rhyming style of very short lines, which he somehow makes look easy and almost conversational, particularly poems II, IV, XXIII, XXX, XXXIII, XLIV, XLIX, LXII, LXIII; it's particularly impressive how completely consistent they all are with each other. This consistency meant that when I read the parodies quoted on Wikipedia, I found them very funny.

It is short enough that th
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This was a cursory visit of Housman's 63 poems over 200 days, but I lingered over Gareth B. Thomas's photos as long as I did the poems. There are scenes of the south Shropshire hills - where I live - which are as beautiful as any I have seen, yet few can be captured on the day you are amongst them as Thomas has. Housman's poems are wistful of exactly these images, as well as deeply melancholic of lost friends through wartime and wanton worseness. Although the two prevalent themes - loss, and lov ...more
Cooper Renner
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember if I first encountered Housman's poetry in high school or college. And I've probably read most, if not all, of these poems before, some of them more than once. Reading it straight through now (which I may well have done before). Certainly one's younger self is probably drawn to the melancholy, but the strong usage of the folk/hymnal quatrain is greatly appealing to me as the quatrain is probably my favorite formal stanza.

Not every poem is perfect, but Housman's batting average
Feb 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1890s, poems, victorian
Moping, melancholy, mad ... an anthology of morose poems that lingers far too long on the themes of death and loss, A. E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad (1895) lay nearly forgotten until the outbreak of World War I, when its nostalgia, gloomy imagery, and fatal stoicism suited the tenor of the time. The poems, mostly cast as ballads, are easy to read and reminded me often both of Kipling's ballads and of some of Yeats' early work. But I was disappointed that Housman didn't develop his themes more el ...more
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For poetry month I pulled this copy off my shelf and started reading a few poems each day. I was introduced to Housman in freshman lit in college and have loved his poems ever since. But I found that a lot of time has passed in the 40+ years since I first read about the "cherry trees hung with snow." And I found that I had a different, more melancholy reaction to this poem and to his other poems, most of which deal with death, loss and longing for home. I still love Housman, but in a whole diffe ...more
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  • The Ring and the Book
  • Selected Poems
  • The War Poems
  • The Ballad of Reading Gaol and Other Poems
  • In Memoriam
  • The Waste Land and Other Writings
  • The Wild Swans at Coole
  • The Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne
  • The Selected Poems
  • Edmund Spenser's Poetry
  • Renascence and Other Poems
  • The Collected Poems
  • The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play
  • Complete Poems
  • The Temple: The Poetry of George Herbert
  • Auden: Poems
  • The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen
  • Collected Poems, 1943-2004
Alfred Edward (A.E.) Housman was a noted classical scholar and a poet. To the wider public he is best known for his poem "A Shropshire Lad" (1896), while to his fellow classicists it is his critical editing of Manilius that has earned him enduring fame.

Housman was born on March 26, 1859 in Fockbury, Worcestershire, England, the eldest of seven children. A gifted student Housman won a scholarship t
“Because I liked you better
Than suits a man to say,
It irked you, and I promised
I'd throw the thought away.

To put the world between us
We parted stiff and dry:
'Farewell,' said you, 'forget me.'
'Fare well, I will,' said I.

If e'er, where clover whitens
The dead man's knoll, you pass,
And no tall flower to meet you
Starts in the trefoiled grass,

Halt by the headstone shading
The heart you have not stirred,
And say the lad that loved you
Was one that kept his word.”
“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.”
More quotes…