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(26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936 / Worcestershire)

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Here Dead We Lie

Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

Submitted: Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Read poems about / on: life, lost, spring

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Comments about this poem (From Far, From Eve and Morning by Alfred Edward Housman )

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  • Claude H Oliver Ii (2/2/2014 10:25:00 AM)

    It is a poem of its time. Was death for the greater good or a personal need to be a man? Interesting question.

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Claude H Oliver Ii (2/2/2014 10:19:00 AM)

    An acceptance of tribal, ethnic or national devotion which overrides devotion to humanity. It is a poem of its time. When seen from our perspective, one senses that some of us see choosing life and embracing it may be a positive evolution.

  • Michael Morgan (2/2/2014 10:07:00 AM)

    Nice, from an academic who never went to war. The poem is pure posture, and full of empty bravado, though well phrased. Houseman would never have gone to ANY war. MM

  • Ramesh Rai (2/2/2014 8:37:00 AM)

    Life without any good deed is like a dead and shameful to the land.
    Youth have so much to do and to ensure that they may say what about the youth. A provoking write.

  • Ebuka Prince Okoroafor (2/2/2014 2:16:00 AM)

    In my own candid opinion, i'd say this is a great poem, two stanzas and explcit.

    In the first stanza he trys to tell us what it means to die with dignity, to die fighting with little hope for a cause.he prefares to die than 'shame the land' from which he sprung.this is real patriotism

    in the second stanza housman tries to explain a young man's view of life. Youth is a stage where young men think less before action...most times in the eyes of an exuberent youth, life is seen as 'nothing much to loose.. This is so true(have you withnessed university students on rampage before?)

    its never right to rate a poem low when you've not understood the subject matter from the writer's viewpoint.

  • * Sunprincess * (2/2/2014 1:33:00 AM) second reading and I find the poem says
    our men of the military chose not to shame their country
    so they accepted their duty and some now lie dead...

  • * Sunprincess * (2/2/2013 8:10:00 AM)

    sure he was thinking of how some men
    dishonor women and he chose not to..
    ~To live and shame the land
    From which we sprung.~

  • Gajanan Mishra (2/2/2013 5:09:00 AM)

    great poet. nothing much to loss.

  • Carlos Echeverria (2/2/2012 1:25:00 PM)

    It's great poem because it's open to interpretation. The first line, taken literally, means the dead are not telling the truth about the ravages of war.If that first were to rhyme, it would be inversion; but it's not-its meaning is exact. To me, this poem protests war.

  • Mohammad Akmal Nazir (2/2/2011 8:17:00 PM)

    Outstanding poetry. The young soldiers preferred to die in the battle field than to bring disgrace to their country.
    They didn't want to come to their own country as losers.
    Excellent poem!

Read all 22 comments »

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