When I Was One and Twenty

Topics: Poetry, Shropshire, A Shropshire Lad Pages: 4 (1127 words) Published: September 29, 2014
Kendall Owen Mr. Clevenger
12 English
2 December 2013
An Analysis on “When I was One-And-Twenty” by A.E Housman "When I was One-And-Twenty" by A.E. Housman, is a poem about one young man's growth, from twenty-one to twenty two. He is given the advice, that the greatest gift a person can give to another is love. However at the age of twenty-one, money is a much better gift to give. Saving yourself heartache, and having a lack of money is not as hard to fix as having a broken heart. Housman shows this in his poem by using imagery in his words. A.E Housman’s gifts as a poet seem to be much like his gifts as a scholar: narrow, profound, isolated, brooding, and ferocious. It was the same with his poems, most of which seem to stem from an emotional wound in his youth which he could hardly bring himself to mention except through the obliquities of his apparently stark and simple verse. Housman was not a rural writer; instead, he based a personal mythology (of country lads betrayed in love, drinking themselves into oblivion, committing suicide, being hanged for nameless crimes) on a rediscovered pastoral tradition (Thwaite). Mr. A.E Housman is easily our most surprising poet. His first surprise was The Shropshire Lad itself, one of the most astonishing volumes in a very astonishing literature. A time went on it seemed to us that he had said what he had to say in a clear, unfaltering voice, and then, having eased his heart, had passed on in silence (Priestley). Housman’s poems repeat again and again that love is fleeting, lovers fickle, youth decays into age, and that death is final. The characteristics that Housman assigned to great poetry in his lecture “The Name and Nature of Poetry” are the characteristics of his own poetry; chiefly, that it strikes to the pit of the emotions and by-passes “thought” (Thwaite)....
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