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- A Shropshire Lad - 4/10 -

And nothing will remain, And miles around they'll say that I Am quite myself again.



The time you won your town the race We chaired you through the market-place; Man and boy stood cheering by, And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come, Shoulder-high we bring you home, And set you at your threshold down, Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away From fields where glory does not stay And early though the laurel grows It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut Cannot see the record cut, And silence sounds no worse than cheers After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout Of lads that wore their honours out, Runners whom renown outran And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade, The fleet foot on the sill of shade, And hold to the low lintel up The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead, And find unwithered on its curls The garland briefer than a girl's.


Oh fair enough are sky and plain, But I know fairer far: Those are as beautiful again That in the water are;

The pools and rivers wash so clean The trees and clouds and air, The like on earth was never seen, And oh that I were there.

These are the thoughts I often think As I stand gazing down In act upon the cressy brink To strip and dive and drown;

But in the golden-sanded brooks And azure meres I spy A silly lad that longs and looks And wishes he were I.



In summertime on Bredon The bells they sound so clear; Round both the shires they ring them In steeples far and near, A happy noise to hear.

Here of a Sunday morning My love and I would lie And see the coloured counties, And hear the larks so high About us in the sky.

The bells would ring to call her In valleys miles away: "Come all to church, good people; Good people, come and pray." But here my love would stay.

And I would turn and answer Among the springing thyme, "Oh, peal upon our wedding, And we will hear the chime, And come to church in time."

But when the snows at Christmas On Bredon top were strown, My love rose up so early And stole out unbeknown And went to church alone.

They tolled the one bell only, Groom there was none to see, The mourners followed after, And so to church went she, And would not wait for me.

The bells they sound on Bredon, And still the steeples hum. "Come all to church, good people,"- Oh, noisy bells, be dumb; I hear you, I will come.

[1] Pronounced Breedon.


The street sounds to the soldiers' tread, And out we troop to see: A single redcoat turns his head, He turns and looks at me.

My man, from sky to sky's so far, We never crossed before; Such leagues apart the world's ends are, We're like to meet no more;

What thoughts at heart have you and I We cannot stop to tell; But dead or living, drunk or dry, Soldier, I wish you well.


The lads in their hundreds to Ludlow come in for the fair, There's men from the barn and the forge and the mill and the fold, The lads for the girls and the lads for the liquor are there, And there with the rest are the lads that will never be old.

There's chaps from the town and the field and the till and the cart, And many to count are the stalwart, and many the brave, And many the handsome of face and the handsome of heart, And few that will carry their looks or their truth to the grave.

I wish one could know them, I wish there were tokens to tell The fortunate fellows that now you can never discern; And then one could talk with them friendly and wish them farewell And watch them depart on the way that they will not return.

But now you may stare as you like and there's nothing to scan; And brushing your elbow unguessed-at and not to be told They carry back bright to the coiner the mintage of man, The lads that will die in their glory and never be old.


Say, lad, have you things to do? Quick then, while your day's at prime. Quick, and if 'tis work for two, Here am I, man: now's your time.

Send me now, and I shall go; Call me, I shall hear you call; Use me ere they lay me low Where a man's no use at all;

Ere the wholesome flesh decay, And the willing nerve be numb, And the lips lack breath to say, "No, my lad, I cannot come."


This time of year a twelvemonth past, When Fred and I would meet, We needs must jangle, till at last We fought and I was beat.

So then the summer fields about, Till rainy days began, Rose Harland on her Sundays out Walked with the better man.

The better man she walks with still, Though now 'tis not with Fred: A lad that lives and has his will Is worth a dozen dead.

A Shropshire Lad - 4/10

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