Happy Birthday Housman


An encouragement here to the self-published author.  A.E Housman wrote his book of 63 poems entitled “A Shropshire Lad” but could not find a publisher to print them.  So he took matters into his own hands and part funded the publication.

Housman was born March 26th 1859.  Apart from being a very popular poet he was also a classical scholar, and possibly the most respected classicist in his day.  He shares his birthday with none less than Robert Frost.  Two such titans of Poetry deserve separate birthday posts, so Frost must wait another year.

From a slow start in 1896 the popularity of the book snowballed and it has remained in print ever since.  The poems have appeared in song lyrics and later in film.  There is a funeral oration scene from “Out of Africa” where Meryl Streep reads “To an athlete dying young” , George Emerson carries a copy of “A Shropshire Lad” in “Room With A View”  and this short couple of verses makes an appearance at the very end of the movie “Walkabout”.

XL. Into my heart on air that kills: by A.E. Housman
(from A Shropshire Lad)

Into my heart on air that kills
from yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
what spires, what farms are those?

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