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- A Shropshire Lad - 3/10 -


And not the stroke of nine;

And wish my friend as sound a sleep As lads' I did not know, That shepherded the moonlit sheep A hundred years ago.

[1] Hanging in chains was called keeping sheep by moonlight.

X

MARCH

The sun at noon to higher air, Unharnessing the silver Pair That late before his chariot swam, Rides on the gold wool of the Ram.

So braver notes the storm-cock sings To start the rusted wheel of things, And brutes in field and brutes in pen Leap that the world goes round again.

The boys are up the woods with day To fetch the daffodils away, And home at noonday from the hills They bring no dearth of daffodils.

Afield for palms the girls repair, And sure enough the palms are there, And each will find by hedge or pond Her waving silver-tufted wand.

In farm and field through all the shire The eye beholds the heart's desire; Ah, let not only mine be vain, For lovers should be loved again.

XI

On your midnight pallet lying Listen, and undo the door: Lads that waste the light in sighing In the dark should sigh no more; Night should ease a lover's sorrow; Therefore, since I go to-morrow; Pity me before.

In the land to which I travel, The far dwelling, let me say- Once, if here the couch is gravel, In a kinder bed I lay, And the breast the darnel smothers Rested once upon another's When it was not clay.

XII

When I watch the living meet, And the moving pageant file Warm and breathing through the street Where I lodge a little while,

If the heats of hate and lust In the house of flesh are strong, Let me mind the house of dust Where my sojourn shall be long.

In the nation that is not Nothing stands that stood before; There revenges are forgot, And the hater hates no more;

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

XIII

When I was one-and-twenty I heard a wise man say, "Give crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies But keep your fancy free." But I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty I heard him say again, "The heart out of the bosom Was never given in vain; 'Tis paid with sighs a plenty And sold for endless rue." And I am two-and-twenty, And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

XIV

There pass the careless people That call their souls their own: Here by the road I loiter, How idle and alone.

Ah, past the plunge of plummet, In seas I cannot sound, My heart and soul and senses, World without end, are drowned.

His folly has not fellow Beneath the blue of day That gives to man or woman His heart and soul away.

There flowers no balm to sain him From east of earth to west That's lost for everlasting The heart out of his breast.

Here by the labouring highway With empty hands I stroll: Sea-deep, till doomsday morning, Lie lost my heart and soul.

XV

Look not in my eyes, for fear They mirror true the sight I see, And there you find your face too clear And love it and be lost like me. One the long nights through must lie Spent in star-defeated sighs, But why should you as well as I Perish? gaze not in my eyes.

A Grecian lad, as I hear tell, One that many loved in vain, Looked into a forest well And never looked away again. There, when the turf in springtime flowers, With downward eye and gazes sad, Stands amid the glancing showers A jonquil, not a Grecian lad.

XVI

It nods and curtseys and recovers When the wind blows above, The nettle on the graves of lovers That hanged themselves for love.

The nettle nods, the wind blows over, The man, he does not move, The lover of the grave, the lover That hanged himself for love.

XVII

Twice a week the winter thorough Here stood I to keep the goal: Football then was fighting sorrow For the young man's soul.

Now in May time to the wicket Out I march with bat and pad: See the son of grief at cricket Trying to be glad.

Try I will; no harm in trying: Wonder 'tis how little mirth Keeps the bones of man from lying On the bed of earth.

XVIII

Oh, when I was in love with you, Then I was clean and brave, And miles around the wonder grew How well did I behave.

And now the fancy passes by,


A Shropshire Lad - 3/10

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