A Shropshire Lad 2

By A.E Housman

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Poem

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.


Now, of my threescore years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy spring a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.


And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room,

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.

About the Author

Alfred Edward Housman, or A.E. for short, lived in England most of his life. He was affected by has mother's death when he was 12 and never fully recovered from it. This is why the themes in his poems written are of beauty, love, fleeting youth, grief, death and the patriotism of soldiers. He worked as a Latin professor for Trinity College, Cambridge. He did write two poems which were A Shropshire Lad and Last Poems which were published during his lifetime (1859-1936) but they weren't exactly popular until after his death. Even though he worked as a successful professor, he lived most of his life as a recluse.

http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/e-housman

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Interpretation of key lines from the poem

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.


So this sounds as if A.E Housman is going down this woodland path that he walks or rides down all the time and he sees all these cherry trees in bloom but covered in snow. It could also mean that the trees aren't as fully bloomed as they do after Easter.



Now, of my threescore years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.


Threescore ears and ten is a Bible reference to Psalm 90-10 that states "As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away." This actually directly relates to what is happening in Housman's life. The poem explains that he is twenty years old and he only has 50 more years before the bible says he will die. It also says "pride is but labor and sorrow" and he worked as a professor for Latin and didn't really have much of a life outside of that so he could have been depressed. It also says seventy springs so he must really like the cherry trees in blooming season and could have had a bad event that happened in his life during the spring.



And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room,


This part was talking about his life. He is saying that fifty more years is not that much time left and he feels that his life just slipped past his fingertips.



About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.


This part is really interesting because he basically says that as he's walking/riding on the woodland path and his favorite loveliest tree is all covered in snow. It uses the word hung which is a very depressing description of the snow. This could mean lots of things but it sounds as if he is truly missing someone or something in his life and as he keeps walking down his own path in life, everything great that he comes across has been messed with so that those great things in his life are not so good anymore.

Theme of the Poem

This poem's theme is very clear. It sounds as if he is grieving over some death or thing in his life and he is depressed about it. He uses the word hung as a descriptive word of the snow which is interesting to use so it could be referring to himself; always hanging onto good moments but they could melt as spring comes along.
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