EAGLESWEB.COM AUDIO ANTHOLOGY of LYRICAL POETRY in MODERN ENGLISH recorded by WALTER RUFUS EAGLES

 

 

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Six Lyrical Poems by Alfred Edward (A. E.) Housman
[1859-1936]

 

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             To an Athlete Dying Young

          The time you won your town the race
          We chaired you through the market-place;
          Man and boy stood cheering by,
          And home we brought you shoulder-high.

          Today, the road all runners come,
          Shoulder-high we bring you home,
          And set you at your threshold down,
          Townsman of a stiller town.

          Smart lad, to slip betimes away
          From fields where glory does not stay
          And early though the laurel grows
          It withers quicker than the rose.

          Eyes the shady night has shut
          Cannot see the record cut,
          And silence sounds no worse than cheers
          After earth has stopped the ears:

          Now you will not swell the rout
          Of lads that wore their honors out,
          Runners whom renown outran
          And the name died before the man.

          So set, before its echoes fade,          
          The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
          And hold to the low lintel up
          And still-defended challenge-cup.

          And round that early-laurelled head
          Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
          And find unwithered on its curls
          The garland briefer than a girl's.

 

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