The Author A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad - III - The Recruit


The Recruit 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.
    Leave your home behind, lad,
    And reach your friends your hand,
    And go, and luck go with you
    While Ludlow tower shall stand.

    Oh, come you home of Sunday
    When Ludlow streets are still
    And Ludlow bells are calling
    To farm and lane and mill,

    Or come you home of Monday
    When Ludlow market hums
    And Ludlow chimes are playing
    "The conquering hero comes,"

    Come you home a hero,
    Or come not home at all,
    The lads you leave will mind you
    Till Ludlow tower shall fall.

    And you will list the bugle
    That blows in lands of morn,
    And make the foes of England
    Be sorry you were born.

    And you till trump of doomsday
    On lands of morn may lie,
    And make the hearts of comrades
    Be heavy where you die.

    Leave your home behind you,
    Your friends by field and town
    Oh, town and field will mind you
    Till Ludlow tower is down.
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