A Shropshire Lad XII: When I watch the living meet

By A. E. Housman 1859–1936
When I watch the living meet,
      And the moving pageant file
Warm and breathing through the street
      Where I lodge a little while,

If the heats of hate and lust
      In the house of flesh are strong,
Let me mind the house of dust
      Where my sojourn shall be long.

In the nation that is not
      Nothing stands that stood before;
There revenges are forgot,
      And the hater hates no more;

Lovers lying two and two
      Ask not whom they sleep beside,
And the bridegroom all night through
      Never turns him to the bride.

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Poet A. E. Housman 1859–1936

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Living, 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, 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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