The Author A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad - XLI


    In my own shire, if I was sad
    Homely comforters I had:
    The earth, because my heart was sore,
    Sorrowed for the son she bore;
    And standing hills, long to remain,
    Shared their short-lived comrade's pain.
    And bound for the same bourn as I,
    On every road I wandered by,
    Trod beside me, close and dear,
    The beautiful and death-struck year:
    Whether in the woodland brown
    I heard the beechnut rustle down,
    And saw the purple crocus pale
    Flower about the autumn dale;
    Or littering far the fields of May
    Lady-smocks a-bleaching lay,
    And like a skylit water stood
    The bluebells in the azured wood.

    Yonder, lightening other loads,
    The seasons range the country roads,
    But here in London streets I ken
    No such helpmates, only men;
    And these are not in plight to bear,
    If they would, another's care.
    They have enough as 'tis: I see
    In many an eye that measures me
    The mortal sickness of a mind
    Too unhappy to be kind.
    Undone with misery, all they can
    Is to hate their fellow man;
    And till they drop they needs must still
    Look at you and wish you ill.


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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.