The Author A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad - XXXVII


    As through the wild green hills of Wyre
    The train ran, changing sky and shire,
    And far behind, a fading crest,
    Low in the forsaken west
    Sank the high-reared head of Clee,
    My hand lay empty on my knee.
    Aching on my knee it lay:
    That morning half a shire away
    So many an honest fellow's fist
    Had well-nigh wrung it from the wrist.
    Hand, said I, since now we part
    From fields and men we know by heart,
    From strangers' faces, strangers' lands,-
    Hand, you have held true fellows' hands.
    Be clean then; rot before you do
    A thing they'd not believe of you.
    You and I must keep from shame
    In London streets the Shropshire name;
    On banks of Thames they must not say
    Severn breeds worse men than they;
    And friends abroad must bear in mind
    Friends at home they leave behind.
    Oh, I shall be stiff and cold
    When I forget you, hearts of gold;
    The land where I shall mind you not
    Is the land where all's forgot.
    And if my foot returns no more
    To Teme nor Corve nor Severn shore,
    Luck, my lads, be with you still
    By falling stream and standing hill,
    By chiming tower and whispering tree,
    Men that made a man of me.
    About your work in town and farm
    Still you'll keep my head from harm,
    Still you'll help me, hands that gave
    A grasp to friend me to the grave.


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