The lyrically presented images contain the irony that the same crowd of townspeople who once carried the runner on their shoulders after he had won a race now carry him to his place of final rest. Housman was born in in Fockbury, Worcestershire, England. Though successful academically, Housman was a small and frail boy who did not easily form friendships. Housman earned a scholarship to St. He immersed himself in the study of classical languages, particularly Latin and Greek, and he also helped to found Ye Round Table , an undergraduate magazine featuring humorous verse and satire a skill in which he excelled, though critics would later condemn his poetry for being stark and humorless. While at college, Housman established a friendship with a classmate, Moses Jackson, that would have an enormous impact upon his life.
Poetry Out Loud
LITERATURE CLASS: To an Athlete Dying Young
To An Athlete Dying Young
The time you won your town the race We chaired you through the market-place; Man and boy stood cheering by, And home we brought you shoulder-high. Today, the road all runners come, Shoulder-high we bring you home, And set you at your threshold down, Townsman of a stiller town. Smart lad, to slip betimes away From fields where glory does not stay, And early though the laurel grows It withers quicker than the rose.
To an Athlete Dying Young , poem by A. Housman , published in the collection A Shropshire Lad. In seven melancholy stanzas, the poet reflects upon a young athlete brought home to be buried, musing that he was lucky to die at the peak of his glory since he will now never experience the fading of that glory.