Family Life Alfred Edward Housman was born at Valley House, Fockbury in Worcestershire in 1859. His father was an adviser Laurence Housman, a famous novelist and dramatist was one of his younger brothers. He attended the finest of school, going to King Edwards School, then Bromsgrove, which is 10 miles outside of his city, and then to St. Johns College. He then attended Oxford where he failed this final examinations, his entire family was humiliated and shamed by him.
Education He attended the finest of school, attending to: King Edwards School Bromsgrove, (10 miles outside of his city) St. Johns College. He then attended Oxford where he failed this final examinations, his entire family was humiliated and shamed by him.
Life After School From 1882-1892 he worked at an office in London. During his spare time devoted it to classical studies. He wanted to establish himself as a scholar to regain his pride. In 1892, he was appointed as Professor of Latin at University City in London, because of his brilliant articles on classics in journals which gained him a high reputation in the community.
Teaching Life To his students, he was a very dry and quiet man He shocked all when he released his first collection of poems A Shropshire Lad in 1896. The poems, held a shark contrast between the romanticism of the poems and the outward severity of the Professor
What is a Shropshire Lad? A Shropshire Lad is a cycle of poems which tells of the central character, Terence Hearsay He moves to London, in exile as it were from his native country. They are very personal poems that contain a lot of Housmans own emotion and feelings. It is the best known literary testament in the country.
Fame and Fortune As his poems became better known, Housman was surprised to see the number of literary pilgrimages to see the places that he had made famous. Many of the pilgrimages were surprised to know that Housman used the name of other places, to describe a different place. Everywhere we traveled, people screamed his name in the streets, and chased after him, hoping to hear him speak one of his greatest verses.
His Last Years In 1911, Housman was named Kennedy Professor of Latin at Cambridge His reputation as a classic scholar continued to grow. Wrote further Shropshire poems that were published in 1922, in his Last Poems
His Death He died at Cambridge, but his ashes were brought back and buried, where all of his fame began, in Shropshire near St. Laurences Church. He was buried beneath a tablet bearing some of his most famous lines of poetry.
WHEN I was one-and-twenty I heard a wise man say, Give crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies 5 But keep your fancy free. But I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me. When I was one-and-twenty I heard him say again, 10 The heart out of the bosom Was never given in vain; Tis paid with sighs a plenty And sold for endless rue. And I am two-and-twenty, 15 And oh, tis true, tis true.
WHEN I was one-and-twenty A I heard a wise man say, B Give crowns and pounds and guineas C But not your heart away; B Give pearls away and rubies A But keep your fancy free. B But I was one-and-twenty, C No use to talk to me. B When I was one-and-twenty A I heard him say again, B The heart out of the bosom C Was never given in vain; B Tis paid with sighs a plenty A And sold for endless rue. B And I am two-and-twenty, C And oh, tis true, tis true. B
When I was One-and-Twenty uses a particular rhythm, which in this case is called iambic trimeter. This form of rhythm exaggerates the stresses and has three stressed syllables in each line. Ex:
When I was One-and-Twenty by A.E. Housman is considered to be a lyrical poem because of it strong rhythm and has many different forms of literary devices, including: Give crowns and pounds and guineas (line 3)- assonance But keep your fancy free (line 6)- alliteration
This poem speaks about a man who recounts, in his younger years, a man giving him advice about love. The man tells him to give all other things away before he gives away his heart because nothing is harder than giving away ones heart and no love is without its trials, but being naive and young, the boy shrugs off the wise mans words thinking that he knows better. The man, thinking about this encounter when he was young now realizes that the advice given was completely true, but having heard it when he was young caused him to believe he knew better at the time. This poem comments on the nature of love and furthermore, Housmans idea of love.
Housman, A.E. A Shropshire Lad. London: K. Paul, Trench, Treubner, 1896; Bartleby.com, 1999.