The Author A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad - IV - Reveille


Reveille 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.
    Wake: the silver dusk returning
    Up the beach of darkness brims,
    And the ship of sunrise burning
    Strands upon the eastern rims.

    Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters,
    Trampled to the floor it spanned,
    And the tent of night in tatters
    Straws the sky-pavilioned land.

    Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying:
    Hear the drums of morning play;
    Hark, the empty highways crying
    "Who'll beyond the hills away?"

    Towns and countries woo together,
    Forelands beacon, belfries call;
    Never lad that trod on leather
    Lived to feast his heart with all.

    Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber
    Sunlit pallets never thrive;
    Morns abed and daylight slumber
    Were not meant for man alive.

    Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;
    Breath's a ware that will not keep
    Up, lad: when the journey's over
    There'll be time enough to sleep.


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