When smoke stood up from Ludlow,
   And mist blew off from Teme,
And blithe afield to ploughing
   Against the morning beam
I strode beside my team,

The blackbird in the coppice
   Looked out to see me stride,
And hearkened as I whistled
   The trampling team beside,
And fluted and replied:

‘Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
   What use to rise and rise?
Rise man a thousand mornings
   Yet down at last he lies,
And then the man is wise.’

I heard the tune he sang me,
   And spied his yellow bill;
I picked a stone and aimed it
   And threw it with a will:
Then the bird was still.

Then my soul within me
   Took up the blackbird’s strain,
And still beside the horses
   Along the dewy lane
It sang the song again:

‘Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
   The sun moves always west;
The road one treads to labour
   Will lead one home to rest,
And that will be the best.’

A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad
previous - next

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.