The Author A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad - LVI - The Day Of Battle


The Day of Battle 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.
    "Far I hear the bugle blow
    To call me where I would not go,
    And the guns begin the song,
    'Soldier, fly or stay for long.'"

    "Comrade, if to turn and fly
    Made a soldier never die,
    Fly I would, for who would not?
    'Tis sure no pleasure to be shot."

    "But since the man that runs away
    Lives to die another day,
    And cowards' funerals, when they come
    Are not wept so well at home."

    "Therefore, though the best is bad,
    Stand and do the best my lad;
    Stand and fight and see your slain,
    And take the bullet in your brain."


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