Friday 19 January 2018

With rue my heart is laden

With Rue My Heart Is Laden

AE Housman

Alfred Edward Housman was a man who was keenly responsive to the death and loss always immanent in things. A feeling of the great promise that pervades early life and the inevitable disappointment it carries with it was very much part of his innermost nature. The early poems are full of it and only their sad, fragile melodies alleviate it to some extent. Much of this awareness sprang from his own experience as a student of Classics at Oxford where his love for his close friend and room-mate, Moses Jackson, was not reciprocated, and when he declared it he himself was rejected.

With rue my heart is laden

For golden friends I had,

For many a rose-lipped maiden

And many a lightfoot lad.

By brooks too broad for leaping

The lightfoot boys are laid;

The rose-lipped girls are sleeping

In fields where roses fade.

Sunday Independent

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