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A Shropshire By A. E. Housman

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About the Book
A Shropshire Lad / with an introduction by William Stanley Braithwaite

The method of the poems in A Shropshire Lad illustrates better than any theory how poetry may assume the attire of reality, and yet in speech of the simplest, become in spirit the sheer quality of loveliness. For, in these unobtrusive pages, there is nothing shunned which makes the spectacle of life parade its dark and painful, its ironic and cynical burdens, as well as those images with happy and exquisite aspects. With a broader and deeper background of experience and environment, which by some divine special privilege belongs to the poetic imagination, it is easier to set apart and contrast these opposing words and sympathies in a poet; but here we find them evoked in a restricted locale — an English county — where the rich, cool tranquil landscape gives a solid texture to the human show. What, I think, impresses one, thrills, like ecstatic, half-smothered strains of music, floating from unperceived instruments, in Mr. Housman’s poems, is the encounter his spirit constantly endures with life. It is, this encounter, what you feel in the Greeks, and as in the Greeks, it is a spiritual waging of miraculous forces. There is, too, in Mr. Housman’s poems, the singularly Grecian Quality of a clean and fragrant mental and emotional temper, vibrating equally whether the theme dealt with is ruin or defeat, or some great tragic crisis of spirit, or with moods and ardours of pure enjoyment and simplicities of feeling. Scarcely has any modern book of poems shown so sure a touch of genius in this respect: the magic, in a continuous glow saturating the substance of every picture and motive with its own peculiar essence.

About the Author
A.E.Housman, 1859-1936

Alfred Edward Housman was an English poet and classical scholar best known for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. The poems are pervaded by deep pessimism and preoccupation with death, without religious consolation. Housman wrote most of them while living in Highgate, London, before ever visiting that part of Shropshire which he presented in an idealised pastoral light, as his 'land of lost content'

Housman was counted one of the foremost classicists of his age, and has been ranked as one of the greatest scholars of all time.


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