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- A Shropshire Lad - 5/10 -


Fred keeps the house all kinds of weather, And clay's the house he keeps; When Rose and I walk out together Stock-still lies Fred and sleeps.

XXVI

Along the fields as we came by A year ago, my love and I, The aspen over stile and stone Was talking to itself alone. "Oh who are these that kiss and pass? A country lover and his lass; Two lovers looking to be wed; And time shall put them both to bed, But she shall lie with earth above, And he beside another love."

And sure enough beneath the tree There walks another love with me, And overhead the aspen heaves Its rainy-sounding silver leaves; And I spell nothing in their stir, But now perhaps they speak to her, And plain for her to understand They talk about a time at hand When I shall sleep with clover clad, And she beside another lad.

XXVII

"Is my team ploughing, That I was used to drive And hear the harness jingle When I was man alive?"

Ay, the horses trample, The harness jingles now; No change though you lie under The land you used to plough.

"Is football playing Along the river shore, With lads to chase the leather, Now I stand up no more?"

Ay, the ball is flying, The lads play heart and soul; The goal stands up, the keeper Stands up to keep the goal.

"Is my girl happy, That I thought hard to leave, And has she tired of weeping As she lies down at eve?"

Ay, she lies down lightly, She lies not down to weep: Your girl is well contented. Be still, my lad, and sleep.

"Is my friend hearty, Now I am thin and pine, And has he found to sleep in A better bed than mine?"

Yes, lad, I lie easy, I lie as lads would choose; I cheer a dead man's sweetheart, Never ask me whose.

XXVIII

THE WELSH MARCHES

High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam Islanded in Severn stream; The bridges from the steepled crest Cross the water east and west.

The flag of morn in conqueror's state Enters at the English gate: The vanquished eve, as night prevails, Bleeds upon the road to Wales.

Ages since the vanquished bled Round my mother's marriage-bed; There the ravens feasted far About the open house of war:

When Severn down to Buildwas ran Coloured with the death of man, Couched upon her brother's grave The Saxon got me on the slave.

The sound of fight is silent long That began the ancient wrong; Long the voice of tears is still That wept of old the endless ill.

In my heart it has not died, The war that sleeps on Severn side; They cease not fighting, east and west, On the marches of my breast.

Here the truceless armies yet Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; They kill and kill and never die; And I think that each is I.

None will part us, none undo The knot that makes one flesh of two, Sick with hatred, sick with pain, Strangling-When shall we be slain?

When shall I be dead and rid Of the wrong my father did? How long, how long, till spade and hearse Put to sleep my mother's curse?

XXIX

THE LENT LILY

'Tis spring; come out to ramble The hilly brakes around, For under thorn and bramble About the hollow ground The primroses are found.

And there's the windflower chilly With all the winds at play, And there's the Lenten lily That has not long to stay And dies on Easter day.

And since till girls go maying You find the primrose still, And find the windflower playing With every wind at will, But not the daffodil,

Bring baskets now, and sally Upon the spring's array, And bear from hill and valley The daffodil away That dies on Easter day.

XXX

Others, I am not the first, Have willed more mischief than they durst: If in the breathless night I too Shiver now, 'tis nothing new.

More than I, if truth were told, Have stood and sweated hot and cold, And through their reins in ice and fire Fear contended with desire.

Agued once like me were they, But I like them shall win my way Lastly to the bed of mould Where there's neither heat nor cold.

But from my grave across my brow Plays no wind of healing now, And fire and ice within me fight Beneath the suffocating night.

XXXI

On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble; His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves; The gale, it plies the saplings double, And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger When Uricon the city stood: 'Tis the old wind in the old anger, But then it threshed another wood.

Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman At yonder heaving hill would stare: The blood that warms an English yeoman, The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.


A Shropshire Lad - 5/10

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