[Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle]

- 1859-1936

Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle, 
   Earth and high heaven are fixt of old and founded strong. 
Think rather,—call to thought, if now you grieve a little, 
   The days when we had rest, O soul, for they were long. 

Men loved unkindness then, but lightless in the quarry 
   I slept and saw not; tears fell down, I did not mourn; 
Sweat ran and blood sprang out and I was never sorry: 
   Then it was well with me, in days ere I was born. 

Now, and I muse for why and never find the reason, 
   I pace the earth, and drink the air, and feel the sun. 
Be still, be still, my soul; it is but for a season: 
   Let us endure an hour and see injustice done. 

Ay, look: high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation; 
   All thoughts to rive the heart are here, and all are vain: 
Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation—
   Oh why did I awake? when shall I sleep again? 

 

More by A. E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad XL

Into my heart on air that kills  
  From yon far country blows:  
What are those blue remembered hills,  
  What spires, what farms are those?  
  
That is the land of lost content,
  I see it shining plain,  
The happy highways where I went  
  And cannot come again.

A Shropshire Lad, XIII

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
  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,
‘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,
  And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

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.