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. E. Housman - 1859-1936
A Shropshire Lad, VIII
‘Farewell to barn and stack and tree, Farewell to Severn shore. Terence, look your last at me, For I come home no more. ‘The sun burns on the half-mown hill, By now the blood is dried; And Maurice amongst the hay lies still And my knife is in his side. ‘My mother thinks us long away; ’Tis time the field were mown. She had two sons at rising day, To-night she’ll be alone. ‘And here’s a bloody hand to shake, And oh, man, here’s good-bye; We’ll sweat no more on scythe and rake, My bloody hands and I. ‘I wish you strength to bring you pride, And a love to keep you clean, And I wish you luck, come Lammastide, At racing on the green. ‘Long for me the rick will wait, And long will wait the fold, And long will stand the empty plate, And dinner will be cold.’