by Alfred Edward Housman (1859 - 1936)

When smoke stood up from Ludlow
Language: English 
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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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 30
Word count: 162