Tag Archives: classical scholars

When I Watch the Living Meet by Alfred Edward Housman

On Sunday 1 August, I took down my copy of A E Housman’s A Shropshire Lad. Whilst I am an admirer of Housman’s work, as with all poets and authors, certain of his writings resonate with me more so than do others. One such poem is “When I Watch the Living Meet”, which appears in A Shropshire Lad and is reproduced below. For more about Alfred Edward Housman please visit https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/a-e-housman. For the free ebook of A Shropshire Lad please see https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5720.

When I watch the living meet,
And the moving pageant file
Warm and breathing through the street
Where I lodge a little while,

If the heats of hate and lust
In the house of flesh are strong,
Let me mind the house of dust
Where my sojourn shall be long.

In the nation that is not
Nothing stands that stood before;
There revenges are forgot,
And the hater hates no more;

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