A. E. Housman quotes

  • The mortal sickness of a mind too unhappy to be kind.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Happiness #Joy #Mind

  • That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, the happy highways where I went and cannot come again.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Land #Shining #Nostalgia

  • All knowledge is precious whether or not it serves the slightest human use.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Use #Humans

  • Three minutes thought would suffice to find this out; but thought is irksome and three minutes is a long time.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Ignorance #Long #Three

  • The house of delusions is cheap to build but drafty to live in.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Integrity #Hypocrisy #House

  • Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose, But young men think it is, and we were young.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Life #Men #Thinking

  • Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink for fellows whom it hurts to think.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Hurt #Beer #Men

  • Now, of my threescore years and ten, Twenty will not come again.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Years #Twenties

  • You smile upon your friend to-day, To-day his ills are over; You hearken to the lover's say, And happy is the lover. 'Tis late to hearken, late to smile, But better late than never: I shall have lived a little while Before I die for ever.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Over You #Littles #Lovers

  • Stars, I have seen them fall, But when they drop and die No star is lost at all From all the star-sown sky. The toil of all that be Helps not the primal fault; It rains into the sea And still the sea is salt.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Stars #Rain #Fall

  • Because I liked you better Than suits a man to say, It irked you, and I promised I'd throw the thought away. To put the world between us We parted stiff and dry: 'Farewell,' said you, 'forget me.' 'Fare well, I will,' said I. If e'er, where clover whitens The dead man's knoll, you pass, And no tall flower to meet you Starts in the trefoiled grass, Halt by the headstone shading The heart you have not stirred, And say the lad that loved you Was one that kept his word.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Flower #Farewell #Heart

  • Could man be drunk for ever       With liquor, love, or fights, Lief should I rouse at morning       And lief lie down of nights. But men at whiles are sober       And think by fits and starts, And if they think, they fasten       Their hands upon their hearts.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Morning #Lying #Heart

  • Wanderers eastward, wanderers west, Know you why you cannot rest? 'Tis that every mother's son Travails with a skeleton. Lie down in the bed of dust; Bear the fruit that bear you must; Bring the eternal seed to light, And morn is all the same as night.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Mother #Lying #Son

  • White in the moon the long road lies, The moon stands blank above; White in the moon the long road lies That leads me from my love. Still hangs the hedge without a gust, Still, still the shadows stay: My feet upon the moonlit dust Pursue the ceaseless way. The world is round, so travellers tell, And straight through reach the track, Trudge on, trudge on, 'twill all be well, The way will guide one back. But ere the circle homeward hies Far, far must it remove: White in the moon the long road lies That leads me from my love.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Lying #Moon #Dust

  • Oh when I was in love with you, Then I was clean and brave, And miles around the wonder grew How well did I behave. And now the fancy passes by, And nothing will remain, And miles around they'll say that I Am quite myself again.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Life #Love You #Brave

  • Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out . . .. Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Perfect #Poetry #Understanding

  • Poems very seldom consist of poetry and nothing else; and pleasure can be derived also from their other ingredients. I am convinced that most readers, when they think they are admiring poetry, are deceived by inability to analyse their sensations, and that they are really admiring, not the poetry of the passage before them, but something else in it, which they like better than poetry.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Art #Thinking #Poetry

  • Good religious poetry... is likely to be most justly appreciated and most discriminately relished by the undevout.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Religious #Appreciated #Poetry Is

  • I could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Poetry #Rats

  • Stone, steel, dominions pass, Faith too, no wonder; So leave alone the grass That I am under.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Steel #Stones #Dominion

  • Nature, not content with denying him the ability to think, has endowed him with the ability to write.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Sarcastic #Writing #Thinking

  • I find Cambridge an asylum, in every sense of the word.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Asylums #Cambridge

  • Here dead lie we because we did not choose to live and shame the land from which we sprung. Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose; but young men think it is, and we were young.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Life #War #Lying

  • Into my hear an air that kills through yon far country blows what are those blue remembered hills what spires,what farms are those? that is the land of lost content I can see it shining plain the happy highways where I went and cannot come again.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Country #Blow #Land

  • How clear, how lovely bright, How beautiful to sight Those beams of morning play; How heaven laughs out with glee Where, like a bird set free, Up from the eastern sea Soars the delightful day. To-day I shall be strong, No more shall yield to wrong, Shall squander life no more; Days lost, I know not how, I shall retrieve them now; Now I shall keep the vow I never kept before. Ensanguining the skies How heavily it dies Into the west away; Past touch and sight and sound Not further to be found, How hopeless under ground Falls the remorseful day.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Beautiful #Strong #Morning

  • Give me a land of boughs in leaf A land of trees that stand; Where trees are fallen there is grief; I love no leafless land.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Grief #Land #Giving

  • I do not choose the right word, I get rid of the wrong one.
    -- A. E. Housman

  • Therefore, since the world has still Much good, but much less good than ill, And while the sun and moon endure Luck's a chance, but trouble's sure, I'd face it as a wise man would, And train for ill and not for good.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Wise #Moon #Men

  • Existence is not itself a good thing, that we should spend a lifetime securing its necessaries: a life spent, however victoriously, in securing the necessaries of life is no more than an elaborate furnishing and decoration of apartments for the reception of a guest who is never to come. Our business here is not to live, but to live happily.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Guests #Life Is #Lifetime

  • When 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.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Wise #Heart #Men

  • All knots that lovers tie Are tied to sever. Here shall your sweetheart lie, Untrue for ever.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Lying #Ties #Lovers

  • Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Perfect #Understanding #Sometimes

  • The thoughts of others Were light and fleeting, Of lovers' meeting Or luck or fame. Mine were of trouble, And mine were steady; So I was ready When trouble came.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Light #Luck #Fleeting

  • Look not in my eyes, for fear They mirror true the sight I see, And there you find your face too clear And love it and be lost like me.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Love #Eye #Mirrors

  • And how am I to face the odds Of man's bedevilment and God's? I, a stranger and afraid In a world I never made.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Men #Odds #World

  • There, by the starlit fences The wanderer halts and hears My soul that lingers sighing About the glimmering weirs.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Soul #Fence #Halt

  • There, like the wind through woods in riot, Through him the gale of life blew high; The tree of man was never quiet: Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Change #Men #Wind

  • Earth and high heaven are fixed of old and founded strong.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Strong #Heaven #Earth

  • Good night; ensured release, Imperishable peace, Have these for yours. * While sky and sea and land And earth's foundations stand And heaven endures. *These three lines are on the tablet over Housman's grave in the parish church at Ludlow, Shropshire, England
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Good Night #Sea #Land

  • But men at whiles are sober And think by fits and starts. And if they think, they fasten Their hands upon their hearts
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Heart #Men #Thinking

  • Tomorrow, more's the pity, Away we both must hie, To air the ditty and to earth I.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Air #Earth #Tomorrow

  • Great literature should do some good to the reader: must quicken his perception though dull, and sharpen his discrimination though blunt, and mellow the rawness of his personal opinions.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Perception #Literature #Dull

  • The rainy Pleiads wester Orion plunges prone, And midnight strikes and hastens, And I lie down alone.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Lying #Midnight #Orion

  • Lovers lying two and two Ask not whom they sleep beside, And the bridegroom all night through Never turns him to the bride.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Lying #Sleep #Night

  • We now to peace and darkness And earth and thee restore Thy creature that thou madest And wilt cast forth no more.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Peace #Darkness #Earth

  • Tell me not here, it needs not saying, What tune the enchantress plays In aftermaths of soft September Or under blanching mays, For she and I were long acquainted And I knew all her ways.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Play #Long #Tunes

  • I sought them far and found them, The sure, the straight, the brave, The hearts I lost my own to, The souls I could not save They braced their belts about them, They crossed in ships the sea, They sought and found six feet of ground, And there they died for me.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Heart #Sea #Feet

  • They put arsenic in his meat And stared aghast to watch him eat; They poured strychnine in his cup And shook to see him drink it up.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Meat #Arsenic #Watches

  • They carry back bright to the coiner the mintage of man,The lads that will die in their glory and never be old.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Men #Glory #Lad

  • Housman is one of my heroes and always has been. He was a detestable and miserable man. Arrogant, unspeakably lonely, cruel, and so on, but and absolutely marvellous minor poet, I think, and a great scholar.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Lonely #Hero #Men

  • Who made the world I cannot tell; 'Tis made, and here am I in hell. My hand, though now my knuckles bleed, I never soiled with such a deed.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Humorous #Hands #World

  • This is for all ill-treated fellows Unborn and unbegot, For them to read when they're in trouble And I am not.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Humorous #Trouble #Ill

  • Terence, this is stupid stuff: You eat your victuals fast enough; There can't be much amiss, 'tis clear, To see the rate you drink your beer. But oh, good Lord, the verse you make, It gives a chap the belly-ache. The cow, the old cow, she is dead; It sleeps well the horned head: We poor lads, 'tis our turn now To hear such tunes as killed the cow. Pretty friendship 'tis to rhyme Your friends to death before their time. Moping, melancholy mad: Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Stupid #Humorous #Sleep

  • Ten thousand times I've done my best and all's to do again.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Excellence #Done #Thousand

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

    #Wind #Snow #Plies

  • To justify God's ways to man.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Drinking #Men #Way

  • On occasions, after drinking a pint of beer at luncheon, there would be a flow into my mind with sudden and unaccountable emotion, sometimes a line or two of verse, sometimes a whole stanza, accompanied, not preceded by a vague notion of the poem which they were destined to form a part of.... I say bubble up because, so far as I could make out, the source of the suggestions thus proffered to the brain was the pit of the stomach.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Drinking #Beer #Two

  • Luck's a chance, but trouble's sure.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Luck #Chance #Trouble

  • To be a textual critic requires aptitude for thinking and willingness to think; and though it also requires other things, those things are supplements and cannot be substitutes. Knowledge is good, method is good, but one thing beyond all others is necessary; and that is to have a head, not a pumpkin, on your shoulders and brains, not pudding, in your head.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Thinking #Brain #Aptitude

  • Some men are more interesting than their books but my book is more interesting than its man.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Book #Men #Interesting

  • Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrist? And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists? And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air? Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Hair #Fists #Prison

  • But if you ever come to a road where danger; Or guilt or anguish or shame's to share. Be good to the lad who loves you true, And the soul that was born to die for you; And whistle and I'll be there.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Love #Soul #Guilt

  • These, in the day when heaven was falling, The hour when earth's foundations fled, Followed their mercenary calling And took their wages and are dead. The British regulars who made the retreat from Mons, beginning August 24, 1914.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Fall #August #Heaven

  • I, a stranger and afraid, in a world I never made.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #World #Stranger #Made

  • If a man will comprehend the richness and variety of the universe, and inspire his mind with a due measure of wonder and awe, he must contemplate the human intellect not only on its heights of genius but in its abysses of ineptitude...
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Men #Inspire #Mind

  • The fairies break their dances And leave the printed lawn.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Angel #Fairy #Break

  • In every American there is an air of incorrigible innocence, which seems to conceal a diabolical cunning.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Funny #Sarcastic #Air

  • Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Beer #Sky #Ale

  • The troubles of our proud and angry dust are from eternity, and shall not fail. Bear them we can, and if we can we must. Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Beer #Dust #Sky

  • And silence sounds no worse than cheers After earth has stopped the ears.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Cheer #Silence #Sound

  • Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Spring #Tree #Cherries

  • '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.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Easter #Spring #Wind

  • 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 springs 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.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Spring #Years #White

  • Oh I have been to Ludlow fair, and left my necktie God knows where. And carried half way home, or near, pints and quarts of Ludlow beer.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Home #Beer #Half

  • Oh, 'tis jesting, dancing, drinking Spins the heavy world around.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Dance #Drinking #Dancing

  • Clay lies still, but blood's a rover; Breath's aware that will not keep. Up, lad: when the journey's over then there'll be time enough to sleep.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Time #Travel #Lying

  • June suns, you cannot store them To warm the winter's cold, The lad that hopes for heaven Shall fill his mouth with mould.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Winter #June #Heaven

  • Strapped, noosed, nighing his hour, He stood and counted them and cursed his luck; And then the clock collected in the tower Its strength, and struck.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Luck #Towers #Hours

  • Give crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies, But keep your fancy free.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Heart #Giving #Rubies

  • Happy bridegroom, Hesper brings All desired and timely things. All whom morning sends to roam, Hesper loves to lead them home. Home return who him behold, Child to mother, sheep to fold, Bird to nest from wandering wide: Happy bridegroom, seek your bride.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Mother #Morning #Children

  • Now hollow fires burn out to black, And lights are guttering low: Square your shoulders, lift your pack And leave your friends and go.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Friendship #Fire #Squares

  • Mithridates, he died old. Housman's passage is based on the belief of the ancients that Mithridates the Great [c. 135-63 B.C.] had so saturated his body with poisons that none could injure him. When captured by the Romans he tried in vain to poison himself, then ordered a Gallic mercenary to kill him.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Poison #Body #Belief

  • Hope lies to mortals And most believe her, But man's deceiver Was never mine.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Lying #Believe #Men

  • White in the moon the long road lies.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Lying #Moon #White

  • The average man, if he meddles with criticism at all, is a conservative critic.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Men #Average #Criticism

  • When the journey's over/There'll be time enough to sleep.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Sleep #Journey #Enough

  • Experience has taught me, when I am shaving of a morning, to keep watch over my thoughts, because, if a line of poetry strays into my memory, my skin bristles so that the razor ceases to act.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Morning #Memories #Skins

  • I am not a pessimist but a pejorist (as George Eliot said she was not an optimist but a meliorist); and that philosophy is founded on my observation of the world, not on anything so trivial and irrelevant as personal history.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Philosophy #Historical #World

  • His folly has not fellow Beneath the blue of day That gives to man or woman His heart and soul away.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Heart #Men #Blue

  • With rue my heart is laden For golden friends I had, For many a rose-lipped maiden And many a lightfoot lad.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Heart #Rose #Rue

  • 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.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #People #Dumb #Church

  • He would not stay for me, and who can wonder? He would not stay for me to stand and gaze. I shook his hand, and tore my heart in sunder, And went with half my life about my ways.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Heart #Hands #Half

  • They say my verse is sad: no wonder; Its narrow measure spans Tears of eternity, and sorrow, Not mine. but man's.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Men #Sorrow #Tears

  • Why, if 'tis dancing you would be, There's brisker pipes than poetry. Say, for what were hop-yards meant, Or why was Burton built on Trent? Oh many a peer of England brews Livelier liquor than the Muse, And malt does more than Milton can To justify God's ways to man. Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink For fellows whom it hurts to think: Look into the pewter pot To see the world as the world's not.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Hurt #Drinking #Men

  • And malt does more than Milton can to justify God's ways to man.
    -- A. E. Housman

    #Drinking #Book #Beer