Guest poem submitted by Vikram Doctor:
(Poem #703) On Wenlock Edge The Wood's In Trouble
On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble; His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves; The gale, it plies the saplings double, And thick on Severn snow the leaves. 'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger When Uricon the city stood; 'Tis the old wind in the old anger, But then it threshed another wood. Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman At yonder heaving hill would stare; The blood that warms an English yeoman, The thoughts that hurt him, they were there. There, like the wind through woods in riot, Through him the gale of life blew high; The tree of man was never quiet: Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I. The gale, it plies the saplings double, It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone: Today the Roman and his trouble Are ashes under Uricon.
Poem XXXI from "A Shropshire Lad", 1896. While I was typing out the Masefield I suddenly thought of this, realising the similarity in what the poet is doing in both. It seems a continuous tradition in English poetry, the contemplation of the ruins of Roman Britain to make one think of the past - a tradition that goes all the way back to that fragment of Anglo-Saxon verse I think Thomas posted on the list sometime back. Vikram. PS. This poem, by the way, has also given the title to a very fine book: Patrick White's The Tree Of Man, the Australian epic which was one of the books mentioned in his Nobel Prize citation. PPS. Uricon was the Roman city also known as Virconium. [Minstrels Links] The Masefield referred to is yesterday's poem, "Night is on the Downland": poem #702 We've posted lots of 'fragments of Anglo-Saxon verse' on the list; check out [broken link] http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/index_poet.html and search for 'Anon' in the list of poets. Other Minstrels poems about ancient Rome: Poem #296, "Footsteps", Constantine Cavafy. Poem #489, "Horatius", Thomas Babbington Macaulay. Poem #491, "Roman Wall Blues", W. H. Auden. Poem #493, "A Pict Song", Rudyard Kipling. Poem #494, "The Fall of Rome", W. H. Auden. Poem #499, "Lay of Ancient Rome", Thomas Ybarra. Poem #519, "The Roman Road", Thomas Hardy. Other Minstrels poems by A. E. Housman: Poem #33, "White in the Moon the Long Road Lies", A Shropshire Lad, XXXVI. Poem #86, "When I Was One-and-Twenty", A Shropshire Lad, XIII. Poem #377, "Loveliest of trees, the cherry now", A Shropshire Lad, II. Poem #439, "Look not in my eyes, for fear", A Shropshire Lad, XV. Poem #588, "Terence, this is stupid stuff", A Shropshire Lad, LXII. Poem #539, "Yonder see the morning blink", Last Poems, XI. The first and third of these have Housman biographies attached.