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When I Was One-and-Twenty -- A E Housman

...back in action after a much-needed vacation...
(Poem #86) When I Was One-and-Twenty
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
There are some poems which should not be analysed to death, just read
out loud for the sheer joy of reading. This is one of them. Critics over
the years have had a field day with Housman's work, often going
completely off the deep end about his morbidity, his sexual orientation,
his atheism, his fragile psychological makeup and so on, but for me his
poems can stand alone on the strength of their beauty and simplicity.

If you *really* want to read more about Housman's work in general and
this poem in particular, you can visit


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