Alfred Edward Housman

A Shropshire Lad. 42. The Merry Guide

Once in the wind of morning
 I ranged the thymy wold;
The world-wide air was azure
 And all the brooks ran gold.

There through the dews beside me
 Behold a youth that trod,
With feathered cap on forehead,
 And poised a golden rod.

With mien to match the morning
 And gay delightful guise
And friendly brows and laughter
 He looked me in the eyes.

Oh whence, I asked, and whither?
 He smiled and would not say,
And looked at me and beckoned
 And laughed and led the way.

And with kind looks and laughter
 And nought to say beside
We two went on together,
 I and my happy guide.

Across the glittering pastures
 And empty upland still
And solitude of shepherds
 High in the folded hill,

By hanging woods and hamlets
 That gaze through orchards down
On many a windmill turning
 And far-discovered town,

With gay regards of promise
 And sure unslackened stride
And smiles and nothing spoken
 Led on my merry guide.

By blowing realms of woodland
 With sunstruck vanes afield
And cloud-led shadows sailing
 About the windy weald,

By valley-guarded granges
 And silver waters wide,
Content at heart I followed
 With my delightful guide.

And like the cloudy shadows
 Across the country blown
We two face on for ever,
 But not we two alone.

With the great gale we journey
 That breathes from gardens thinned,
Borne in the drift of blossoms
 Whose petals throng the wind;

Buoyed on the heaven-heard whisper
 Of dancing leaflets whirled
From all the woods that autumn
 Bereaves in all the world.

And midst the fluttering legion
 Of all that ever died
I follow, and before us
 Goes the delightful guide,

With lips that brim with laughter
 But never once respond,
And feet that fly on feathers,
 And serpent-circled wand.

English Poetry - E-mail