A. E. Housman Quotes

Alfred Edward Housman (/?ha?sm?n/; 26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936), usually known as A. E. Housman, was an English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems wistfully evoke the dooms and disappointments of youth in the English countryside [1]. Their beauty, simplicity and distinctive imagery appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th-century English composers (beginning with Arthur Somervell) both before and after the First World War. Through their song-settings, the poems became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself

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A. E. Housman


Great literature should do some good to the reader: must quicken his perception though dull, and sharpen his discrimination though blunt, and mellow the rawness of his personal opinions.

A. E. Housman


Experience has taught me, when I am shaving of a morning, to keep watch over my thoughts, because, if a line of poetry strays into my memory, my skin bristles so that the razor ceases to act.

A. E. Housman


Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.

A. E. Housman


The troubles of our proud and angry dust are from eternity, and shall not fail. Bear them we can, and if we can we must. Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.

A. E. Housman


The laws of God, the laws of man he may keep that will and can; not I: let God and man decree laws for themselves and not for me.

A. E. Housman


Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrist? And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists? And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air? Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.

A. E. Housman


That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, the happy highways where I went and cannot come again.

A. E. Housman


Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink for fellows whom it hurts to think.

A. E. Housman


In every American there is an air of incorrigible innocence, which seems to conceal a diabolical cunning.

A. E. Housman


And malt does more than Milton can to justify God's ways to man.

A. E. Housman


I find Cambridge an asylum, in every sense of the word.

A. E. Housman


Who made the world I cannot tell; 'Tis made, and here am I in hell. My hand, though now my knuckles bleed, I never soiled with such a deed.

A. E. Housman


They put arsenic in his meat And stared aghast to watch him eat; They poured strychnine in his cup And shook to see him drink it up.

A. E. Housman


Lovers lying two and two Ask not whom they sleep beside, And the bridegroom all night through Never turns him to the bride.

A. E. Housman


Tell me not here, it needs not saying, What tune the enchantress plays In aftermaths of soft September Or under blanching mays, For she and I were long acquainted And I knew all her ways.

A. E. Housman