Friday Poems: “When I was one-and-twenty” by A. E. Housman

I grew up knowing the poems of A.E. Housman (1859-1936), largely through their musical settings by British composers George Butterworth (1885-1916) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). Here is one of his most famous poems from his collection A Shropshire Lad. The photo gives you an idea of the lovely countryside in this part of England that abuts the Welsh Marches:

ShropshireWhen 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.

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