The Author A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad - I - 1887


1887 was published in Housman's collection of 63 poems in A Shropshire Lad (1896). Housman self-published the book after being turned down by several publishers. Themes tend to focus on unrequited love, pastoral beauty, fleeting youth, grief, death, and patriotism.
    From Clee to heaven the beacon burns,
    The shires have seen it plain,
    From north and south the sign returns
    And beacons burn again.

    Look left, look right, the hills are bright,
    The dales are light between,
    Because 'tis fifty years to-night
    That God has saved the Queen.

    Now, when the flame they watch not towers
    About the soil they trod,
    Lads, we'll remember friends of ours
    Who shared the work with God.

    To skies that knit their heartstrings right,
    To fields that bred them brave,
    The saviours come not home to-night:
    Themselves they could not save.

    It dawns in Asia, tombstones show
    And Shropshire names are read;
    And the Nile spills his overflow
    Beside the Severn's dead.

    We pledge in peace by farm and town
    The Queen they served in war,
    And fire the beacons up and down
    The land they perished for.

    "God Save the Queen" we living sing,
    From height to height 'tis heard;
    And with the rest your voices ring,
    Lads of the Fifty-third.

    Oh, God will save her, fear you not:
    Be you the men you've been,
    Get you the sons your fathers got,
    And God will Save the Queen.


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