The Author A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad - XLVII - The Carpenters Son


The Carpenters Son 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.
    "Here the hangman stops his cart:
    Now the best of friends must part.
    Fare you well, for ill fare I:
    Live, lads, and I will die."

    "Oh, at home had I but stayed
    'Prenticed to my father's trade,
    Had I stuck to plane and adze,
    I had not been lost, my lads."

    "Then I might have built perhaps
    Gallows-trees for other chaps,
    Never dangled on my own,
    Had I but left ill alone."

    "Now, you see, they hang me high,
    And the people passing by
    Stop to shake their fists and curse;
    So 'tis come from ill to worse."

    "Here hang I, and right and left
    Two poor fellows hang for theft:
    All the same's the luck we prove,
    Though the midmost hangs for love."

    "Comrades all, that stand and gaze,
    Walk henceforth in other ways;
    See my neck and save your own:
    Comrades all, leave ill alone."

    "Make some day a decent end,
    Shrewder fellows than your friend.
    Fare you well, for ill fare I:
    Live, lads, and I will die."


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