The Author A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad - XXI - Bredon Hill


Bredon Hill 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.
    In summertime on Bredon
    The bells they sound so clear;
    Round both the shires they ring them
    In steeples far and near,
    A happy noise to hear.

    Here of a Sunday morning
    My love and I would lie
    And see the coloured counties,
    And hear the larks so high
    About us in the sky.

    The bells would ring to call her
    In valleys miles away:
    "Come all to church, good people;
    Good people, come and pray."
    But here my love would stay.

    And I would turn and answer
    Among the springing thyme,
    "Oh, peal upon our wedding,
    And we will hear the chime,
    And come to church in time."

    But when the snows at Christmas
    On Bredon top were strown,
    My love rose up so early
    And stole out unbeknown
    And went to church alone.

    They tolled the one bell only,
    Groom there was none to see,
    The mourners followed after,
    And so to church went she,
    And would not wait for me.

    The bells they sound on Bredon,
    And still the steeples hum.
    "Come all to church, good people,"-
    Oh, noisy bells, be dumb;
    I hear you, I will come.


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