From "More Poems"
I lay me down and slumber And every morn revive. Whose is the night-long breathing That keeps a man alive? When I was off to dreamland And left my limbs forgot, Who stayed at home to mind them, And breathed when I did not? . . . . . -- I waste my time in talking, No heed at all takes he, My kind and foolish comrade That breathes all night for me.
A SHROPSHIRE LAD: II
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough, And stands about the woodland ride Wearing white for Eastertide. Now of my threescore years and ten, Twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score, It only leaves me fifty more. And since to look at things in bloom Fifty springs are little room, About the woodlands I will go To see the cherry hung with snow
A SHROPSHIRE LAD: LIV
With rue my heart is laden For golden friends I had, For many a rose-lipt maiden And many a lightfoot lad. By brooks too broad for leaping The lightfoot boys are laid; The rose-lipt girls are sleeping In fields where roses fade.
A SHROPSHIRE LAD: LXII
"Terence, this is stupid stuff: You eat your victuals fast enough; There can't be much amiss, 'tis clear, To see the rate you drink your beer. But oh, good Lord, the verse you make, It gives a chap the belly-ache. The cow, the old cow, she is dead; It sleeps well, the horned head: We poor lads, 'tis our turn now To hear such tunes as killed the cow. Pretty friendship 'tis to rhyme Your friends to death before their time Moping melancholy mad: Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad." Why, if 'tis dancing you would be, There's brisker pipes than poetry. Say, for what were hop-yards meant, Or why was Burton built on Trent? Oh many a peer of England brews Livelier liquor than the Muse, And malt does more than Milton can To justify God's ways to man. Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink For fellows whom it hurts to think: Look into the pewter pot To see the world as the world's not. And faith, 'tis pleasant till 'tis past: The mischief is that 'twill not last. Oh I have been to Ludlow fair And left my necktie God knows where, And carried half way home, or near, Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer: Then the world seemed none so bad, And I myself a sterling lad; And down in lovely muck I've lain, Happy till I woke again. Then I saw the morning sky: Heigho, the tale was all a lie; The world, it was the old world yet, I was I, my things were wet, And nothing now remained to do But begin the game anew. Therefore, since the world has still Much good, but much less good than ill, And while the sun and moon endure Luck's a chance, but trouble's sure, I'd face it as a wise man would, And train for ill and not for good. 'Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale Is not so brisk a brew as ale: Out of a stem that scored the hand I wrung it in a weary land. But take it: if the smack is sour The better for the embittered hour; It will do good to heart and head When your soul is in my soul's stead; And I will friend you, if I may, In the dark and cloudy day. There was a king reigned in the East: There, when kings will sit to feast, They get their fill before they think With poisoned meat and poisoned drink. He gathered all that sprang to birth From the many-venomed earth; First a little, thence to more, He sampled all her killing store; And easy, smiling, seasoned sound, Sate the king when healths went round. They put arsenic in his meat And stared aghast to watch him eat; They poured strychnine in his cup And shook to see him drink it up: They shook, they stared as white's their shirt: Them it was their poison hurt. --I tell the tale that I heard told. Mithridates, he died old.
A SHROPSHIRE LAD: XXXVI
White in the moon the long road lies, The moon stands blank above; White in the moon the long road lies That leads me from my love. Still hangs the hedge without a gust, Still, still the shadows stay: My feet upon the moonlit dust Pursue the ceaseless way. The world is round, so travellers tell, And straight though reach the track, Trudge on, trudge on, 'twill all be well, The way will guide one back. But ere the circle homeward hies Far, far must it remove: White in the moon the long road lies That leads me from my love.
THE laws of God, the laws of man, He may keep that will and can; Not I: let God and man decree Laws for themselves and not for me; And if my ways are not as theirs Let them mind their own affairs. Their deeds I judge and much condemn, Yet when did I make laws for them? Please yourselves, say I , and they Need only look the other way. But no, they will not; they must still Wrest their neighbour to their will, And make me dance as they desire With jail and gallows and hell-fire. And how am I to face the odds Of man's bedevilment and God's? I, a stranger and afraid In a world I never made. They will be master, right or wrong; Though both are foolish, both are strong. And since, my soul, we cannot fly To Saturn nor to Mercury, Keep we must, if keep we can, These foreign laws of God and man.
A SHROPSHIRE LAD: XLIX
Think no more, lad; laugh, be jolly: Why should men make haste to die? Empty heads and tongues a-talking Make the rough road easy walking, And the feather pate of folly Bears the falling sky. Oh, 'tis jesting, dancing, drinking Spins the heavy world around. If young hearts were not so clever, Oh, they would be young for ever: Think no more; 'tis only thinking Lays lads underground.
It is no gift I tender, A loan is all I can; But do not scorn the lender; Man gets no more from man. Oh, mortal man may borrow What mortal man can lend; And 'twill not end to-morrow, Though sure enough 'twill end. If death and time are stronger, A love may yet be strong; The world will last for longer, But this will last for long.
From "More Poems"
Shake hands, we shall never be friends, all's over; I only vex you the more I try. All's wrong that ever I've done or said, And nought to help it in this dull head: Shake hands, here's luck, good-bye. But if you come to a road where danger Or guilt or anguish or shame's to share, Be good to the lad that loves you true And the soul that was born to die for you, And whistle and I'll be there.
From "More Poems"
Because I liked you better Than suits a man to say, It irked you, and I promised To throw the thought away. To put the world between us We parted, stiff and dry; 'Good-bye,' said you, `forget me.' 'I will, no fear', said I. If here, where clover whitens The dead man's knoll, you pass, And no tall flower to meet you Starts in the trefoiled grass, Halt by the headstone naming The heart no longer stirred, And say the lad that loved you Was one that kept his word.