A Shropshire Lad 31: On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble

By A. E. Housman 1859–1936
On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble;
      His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
      And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
      When Uricon the city stood:
'Tis the old wind in the old anger,
      But then it threshed another wood.

Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman
      At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
      The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,
      Through him the gale of life blew high;
The tree of man was never quiet:
      Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.

The gale, it plies the saplings double,
      It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone:
To-day the Roman and his trouble
      Are ashes under Uricon.

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Poet A. E. Housman 1859–1936

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Living, Landscapes & Pastorals, Time & Brevity, Nature

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, Landscapes & Pastorals, Time & Brevity, Nature

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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