A Shropshire Lad

by A. E. Housman

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The enduring appeal of A. E. Housman’s lyrical English poem, A Shropshire Lad, first published in 1896, lies perhaps in its gentle accessibility and in its universal theme of loss, of love and the passage of time. Certainly its popularity today appears undiminished as it continues to console and delight.

The timeless quality of the Shropshire countryside, from the bucolic Clun valley to the bleak hills of Caer Caradoc, is captured by one of Shropshire’s finest wildlife and landscape photographers, Gareth Thomas.

Christopher Ricks, Professor of Poetry at Oxford University and President of the Housman Society, has written a thought-provoking introduction to this edition, touching on some of the reasons for the poem’s lasting popularity, including its unusual combination of classical fortitude and romantic yearning.

The biographical sketch of Housman by Ludlow historian David Lloyd sets the poem in context.


91 Colour photographs


Mar 26, 2009


About the Author:

Born in 1859 in the village of Fockbury in Worcestershire, Alfred Edward Housman was the eldest of seven children.

He was educated at Bromsgrove School and later read Classics at
St. John’s College, Oxford. His poem A Shropshire Lad was published in 1896.

After a period as a Clerk in the Patent Office in London he returned to academia becoming Professor of Latin at Cambridge University.

He died in 1936 and his ashes are interred in the shadow of the walls of St Laurence's church, Ludlow.

Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, Gareth Thomas lives in Ludlow, Shropshire.

His striking local landscapes, and his images of wildlife, reflect his intimate knowledge of the area and its natural history: he had earlier practised as a local vet for 24 years before devoting himself full-time to photography.

His photographic images appear in countless books and journals and, as prints, hang in many houses worldwide.

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