Into my heart on air that kills

A Shropshire Lad

Into my heart an air that kills Q
From yon far country blows:
V What are those blue remembered hills, Q
V What spires, what farms are those? Q
That is the land of lost content, 5
I see it shining plain,
V The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again. Q
Key: V: Textual Variation. C: Commentary. Q: Question. Glossary


ASL XL “Into my heart an air that kills”

Top ▲ Glossary

Line Word Glossary
2 yon Short for yonder, ie that or those over there (regional)


Top ▲ Commentary

Line Commentary
Date: 1886
meter Four line stanzas of alternating eight and six syllables, (iambic quatrameter / trimeter) rhymed alternately


Top ▲ Variations

Line Text Textual variation
3 blue remembered] \ <faint bewildered> dissolving /
4 spires] <towns> \ <fields> / \ <farms> / \ <towns> /

farms] <shires> \ <paths> /

7 highways] <footpaths> \ <wayside> /


Top ▲ Questions

Line Question
1 Explore the paradox of “an air that kills”. Might also there be a suggestion of the secondary meaning of the word “air”, ie
“a melody or tune, especially a light or cheerful one”, making this once again a comment on poetry?
3 blue remembered hills” is one of the most famous lines from Housman; in what ways is it superior to the draft versions, “faint bewildering hills” or “dissolving hills“?
4 Why are “spires” and “farms” chosen from the other types of places listed in the drafts: “towns“, “fields” and “paths“?
8 Why do you think this poem has achieved such popularity? What is its mood?