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When Smoke Stood Up From Ludlow




When Smoke Stood Up From Ludlow - Alfred Edward Housman

 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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