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Poem by Alfred Edward Housman


More Poems. 5. Diffugere Nives


Horace, Odes, iv, 7

The snows are fled away, leaves on the shaws
        And grasses in the mead renew their birth,
The river to the river-bed withdraws,
        And altered is the fashion of the earth.

The Nymphs and Graces three put off their fear
        And unapparelled in the woodland play.
The swift hour and the brief prime of the year
        Say to the soul, Thou wast not born for aye.

Thaw follows frost; hard on the heel of spring
        Treads summer sure to die, for hard on hers
Comes autumn, with his apples scattering;
        Then back to wintertide, when nothing stirs.

But oh, whateer the sky-led seasons mar,
        Moon upon moon rebuilds it with her beams:
Come we where Tullus and where Ancus are,
        And good Aeneas, we are dust and dreams.

Torquatus, if the gods in heaven shall add
        The morrow to the day, what tongue has told?
Feast then thy heart, for what thy heart has had
        The fingers of no heir will ever hold.

When thou descendest once the shades among,
        The stern assize and equal judgment oer,
Not thy long lineage nor thy golden tongue,
        No, nor thy righteousness, shall friend thee more.

Night holds Hippolytus the pure of stain,
        Diana steads him nothing, he must stay;
And Theseus leaves Pirithous in the chain
        The love of comrades cannot take away.



Alfred Edward Housman


Alfred Edward Housman's other poems:
  1. Last Poems. 20. The Night Is Freezing Fast
  2. More Poems. 11. The Rainy Pleiads Wester
  3. More Poems. 46. The Land of Biscay
  4. More Poems. 14. The Farms of Home Lie Lost in Even
  5. More Poems. 40. Farewell to a Name and a Number


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