The Shropshire Songs
Auckland's COVID-19 Lockdown of August–September 2021 afforded much time for arts and crafts. During that period i dusted off my long-neglected ukulele and set to music a few poems from A. E. Housman's lilting, lamentful, and generally black-humored collection of 1896 A Shropshire Lad. Here are the results for your listening enjoyment. All music is copyrighted CC BY-NC 4.0 by me, Alex Raichev, and all lyrics lie in the public domain.
You can listen to the songs with the audio player below, which, once started, will continue to the next track on the list. You can also download all the songs as MP3 and download all the songs as FLAC (lossless).
- When I was one-and-twenty · lyrics
- Loveliest of trees, the cherry now · lyrics
- When smoke stood up from Ludlow · lyrics
- I hoed and trenched and weeded · lyrics
I hoed and trenched and weeded
I hoed and trenched and weeded, And took the flowers to fair: I brought them home unheeded; The hue was not the wear. So up and down I sow them For lads like me to find, When I shall lie below them, A dead man out of mind. Some seed the birds devour, And some the season mars, But here and there will flower The solitary stars, And fields will yearly bear them As light-leaved spring comes on, And luckless lads will wear them When I am dead and gone.Top of page
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough, And stands about the woodland ride Wearing white for Eastertide. Now, of my threescore years and ten, Twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score, It only leaves me fifty more. And since to look at things in bloom Fifty springs are little room, About the woodlands I will go To see the cherry hung with snow.Top of page
When I was one-and-twenty
When I was one-and-twenty I heard a wise man say, "Give crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies But keep your fancy free." But I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me. When I was one-and-twenty I heard him say again, "The heart out of the bosom Was never given in vain; 'Tis paid with sighs a plenty And sold for endless rue." And I am two-and-twenty, And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.Top of page
When smoke stood up from Ludlow
When smoke stood up from Ludlow, And mist blew off from Teme, And blithe afield to ploughing Against the morning beam I strode beside my team, The blackbird in the coppice Looked out to see me stride, And hearkened as I whistled The tramping team beside, And fluted and replied: "Lie down, lie down, young yeoman; What use to rise and rise? Rise man a thousand mornings Yet down at last he lies, And then the man is wise." I heard the tune he sang me, And spied his yellow bill; I picked a stone and aimed it And threw it with a will: Then the bird was still. Then my soul within me Took up the blackbird's strain, And still beside the horses Along the dewy lane It Sang the song again: "Lie down, lie down, young yeoman; The sun moves always west; The road one treads to labour Will lead one home to rest, And that will be the best."Top of page