A Shropshire Lad XXXV: On the idle hill of summer

By A. E. Housman 1859–1936
On the idle hill of summer,
      Sleepy with the flow of streams,
Far I hear the steady drummer
      Drumming like a noise in dreams.

Far and near and low and louder
      On the roads of earth go by,
Dear to friends and food for powder,
      Soldiers marching, all to die.

East and west on fields forgotten
      Bleach the bones of comrades slain,
Lovely lads and dead and rotten;
      None that go return again.

Far the calling bugles hollo,
      High the screaming fife replies,
Gay the files of scarlet follow:
      Woman bore me, I will rise.

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Poet A. E. Housman 1859–1936

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Living, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Death

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 A. E. Housman

Biography

At first glance nothing seems more unlikely than that the poet of the enormously popular A Shropshire Lad should be the classical scholar A. E. Housman. This Cambridge University professor of Latin left no doubt as to his priorities: the emendation of classical texts was both an intellectual search for the truth and his life's work; poetry was an emotional and physiological experience that began with a sensation in the pit of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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