This magical and poignant evocation of coming of age in the countryside describes lovers in secluded lanes, cricket and church bells, cherry trees hung with snow and woods full of bluebells. Yet in "A Shropshire Lad" the fields and hills are also places of loss and sorrow, where men die young or are sent far away to fight in foreign wars. Aching ...
This magical and poignant evocation of coming of age in the countryside describes lovers in secluded lanes, cricket and church bells, cherry trees hung with snow and woods full of bluebells. Yet in "A Shropshire Lad" the fields and hills are also places of loss and sorrow, where men die young or are sent far away to fight in foreign wars. Aching with longing for a vanished world, these exquisite verses are a meditation on the fleeting nature of love, youth and happiness. Generations of inhabitants have helped shape the English countryside - but it has profoundly shaped us too. It has provoked a huge variety of responses from artists, writers, musicians and people who live and work on the land - as well as those who are travelling through it.English Journeys celebrates this long tradition with a series of twenty books on all aspects of the countryside, from stargazey pie and country churches, to man's relationship with nature and songs celebrating the patterns of the countryside (as well as ghosts and love-struck soldiers).
Houseman's work remains the indispensable guide to the personal growth of a young man in the world that existed before the tragedy of the First World War.
This growth is seen to have its vital parallel in the relentless onward march of the seasons, with their peculiar and inexorable duties and demands on those who worked the soil.
"Life goes on" is the fierce motto of the work; perhaps this message is most starkly manifest in "Is My Team A-Ploughing?": the subject of the poem is the spirit of the recently-dead young man whose plough-team must continue tilling the ground if people are to eat, but, more brutally, his spirit is compelled to witness to his bereaved beloved lying down - not to weep but to make love - in the necessary process of building a new life for herself.
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