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When Smoke Stood Up From Ludlow

Alfred Edward Housman 1859 – 1936



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 trampling 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."

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Alfred Edward Housman

Alfred Edward Housman, usually known as A. E. Housman, was an English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad.  more…

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    "When Smoke Stood Up From Ludlow" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 27 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/943/when-smoke-stood-up-from-ludlow>.

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