30 Day Book Challenge · Books · Poetry

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Seven


A Book You Can Quote/Recite

I mentioned in a previous post that I know Hairy Maclairy and Where’s My Teddy word for word so I feel I should come up with something different now.

I can’t recite the whole of this book, but I can recite some of it and it contains some of my favourite verse. I also love it because it’s written using where I live as an influence so it has a nice fluffy sentimentality factor too: A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman

The part I can quote best in this beautiful poetry collection is this:

Into my heart an air that kills

from yon far country blows.

What are those blue remembered hills?

What spires, what farms are those?


It is the land of lost content,

I see it shining plain –

The happy highways where I went

and cannot come again.

I originally learned these two haunting verses when I was studying A-Level drama and performed Dennis Potter’s Blue Remembered Hills. Something about them made me want to know more and so I did a bit of research and discovered who it was by. I then whined at Liberty until she bought me a copy for my birthday (it cost a whole pound – I am an expensive friend). I loved it and it is now one of my favourite poetry collections of all time, despite it not being wildly cheerful (but then, having read the history behind it, it’s not surprising that it’s tinged with sadness throughout.)

Summary (from Wikipedia)

A Shropshire Lad is a cycle of sixty-three poems by the English poet Alfred Edward Housman(26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936). Some of the better-known poems in the book are “To an Athlete Dying Young”, “Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now” and “When I Was One-and-Twenty”.

The collection was published in 1896 (see 1896 in poetry). Housman originally titled the book The Poems of Terence Hearsay, referring to a character in the volume, but changed the title at the suggestion of his publisher.

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