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Mon 28th
May 2018
The Housman Society
Appreciating the Life and Works of Alfred Edward Housman

Oh, when I was in love with you

A Shropshire Lad

     XVIII      Q
Oh, when I was in love with you
Then I was clean and brave,
VAnd miles around the wonder grew
How well did I behave.
VAnd now the fancy passes by5
And nothing will remain,
VAnd miles around they'll say that IQ
VAm quite myself again.
Key: V: Textual Variation. C: Commentary. Q: Question. Glossary

ASL XVIII "Oh, when I was in love with you"

Top ▲ Glossary
Line  WordGlossary
5FancyAs a noun:
1. An impulsive desire for something
2. An unfounded belief about something
3. The faculty of using the imagination playfully or inventively
4. Something created by the imagination, especially something of a playful or superficial nature

Top ▲ Commentary
Line Commentary
Date: May 1895 (First Draft) and May-June 1895 (Second Draft)
MetreFour line stanzas, alternately rhymed, with odd numbered lines having eight syllables (iambic quatrameter) and even six syllables (iambic trimeter)

Top ▲ Variations
Line Text Textual variation
3d1And miles around] In town \ farm / and field
3d2\ <In town and field>/
5d1 /
And] \ But /
5d1fancy passes by] <shallow fount is dry> \[?flaring] flash is by/,
5d2fancy \<wonder>/ passes by
7d1And town \ farm / and field will <see> \ see / that I \ the wonder, it will end, and I /
7d2<The wonder, it will end, and I> And miles around they say that I
8d1Am quite myself again \ Shall be myself again /
8d2<Shall be myself again> Am quite myself again

Top ▲ Questions
Line Question
7Consider the repetition of "And" at the beginning of lines 5, 6 and 7: what effect does it have?
Whole poemWhat sort of attitude to romantic love does the poem put forward?
Whole poemWhat is the effect of the regular lines with even numbers of syllables?
Whole poemHow would you describe the overall mood of the poem? What has the poet done to create this mood?