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Sun 29th
Nov 2015
The Housman Society
Appreciating the Life and Works of Alfred Edward Housman

With rue my heart is laden

A Shropshire Lad

     LIV      Q
With rue my heart is laden
For golden friends I had,C
For many a rose-lipt maidenC
And many a lightfoot lad.C
By brooks too broad for leaping5
The lightfoot boys are laid;Q
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
In fields where roses fade.Q
Key: V: Textual Variation. C: Commentary. Q: Question. Glossary

ASL LIV "With rue my heart is laden"

Top ▲ Glossary
Line  WordGlossary
4lightfootElision of "light-of-foot"?

Top ▲ Commentary
Line Commentary
Date: Aug 1893
2golden: echoes of the "Golden Age" of Classical mythology
3The youth, innocence and beauty of the girls are all caught in "rose-lipt"
4Once again, carefree youth seems to be caught in the phrase "lightfoot lad", reinforced by the alliteration
meterFour line stanzas with alternating lines of seven and six syllables, rhymed alternately.

Top ▲ Questions
Line Question
6Why does the poet change "maiden" and "lad" in the first stanza to "boys" and "girls" in the second?
8Compare the idea here with the "unwithered…garland" of the athlete in ASL XIX (ll.27-8).
Whole poemExamine the use of alliteration throughout the poem.
Whole poemWhat does the poem add to our overall sense of how untimely death of youth is presented throughout the collection?