The Author A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad - XXXIV - The New Mistress


The New Mistress 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.
     "Oh, sick I am to see you, will you never let me be?
    You may be good for something, but you are not good for me.
    Oh, go where you are wanted, for you are not wanted here." 
    And that was all the farewell when I parted from my dear.

    "I will go where I am wanted, to a lady born and bred
    Who will dress me free for nothing in a uniform of red;
    She will not be sick to see me if I only keep it clean:
    I will go where I am wanted for a soldier of the Queen."

    "I will go where I am wanted, for the sergeant does not mind;
    He may be sick to see me but he treats me very kind:
    He gives me beer and breakfast and a ribbon for my cap,
    And I never knew a sweetheart spend her money on a chap."

    "I will go where I am wanted, where there's room for one or two,
    And the men are none too many for the work there is to do;
    Where the standing line wears thinner and the dropping dead lie thick;
    And the enemies of England they shall see me and be sick."


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