Verse > A.E. Housman > A Shropshire Lad
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A. E. Housman (1859–1936).  A Shropshire Lad.  1896.
 
LI. Loitering with a vacant eye
 
 
LOITERING with a vacant eye
Along the Grecian gallery,
And brooding on my heavy ill,
I met a statue standing still.
Still in marble stone stood he,        5
And stedfastly he looked at me.
‘Well met,’ I thought the look would say,
‘We both were fashioned far away;
We neither knew, when we were young,
These Londoners we live among.’        10
 
  Still he stood and eyed me hard,
An earnest and a grave regard:
‘What, lad, drooping with your lot?
I too would be where I am not.
I too survey that endless line        15
Of men whose thoughts are not as mine.
Years, ere you stood up from rest,
On my neck the collar prest;
Years, when you lay down your ill,
I shall stand and bear it still.        20
Courage, lad, ’tis not for long:
Stand, quit you like stone, be strong.’
So I thought his look would say;
And light on me my trouble lay,
And I slept out in flesh and bone        25
Manful like the man of stone.
 

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