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The Chestnut Casts His Flambeaux

The Chestnut Casts His Flambeaux - Alfred Edward Housman

 The chestnut casts his flambeaux, and the flowers 
Stream from the hawthorn on the wind away, 
The doors clap to, the pane is blind with showers. 
Pass me the can, lad; there's an end of May. 

There's one spoilt spring to scant our mortal lot, 
One season ruined of your little store. 
May will be fine next year as like as not: 
But ay, but then we shall be twenty-four. 

We for a certainty are not the first 
Have sat in taverns while the tempest hurled 
Their hopeful plans to emptiness, and cursed 
Whatever brute and blackguard made the world. 

It is in truth iniquity on high 
To cheat our sentenced souls of aught they crave, 
And mar the merriment as you and I 
Fare on our long fool's-errand to the grave. 

Iniquity it is; but pass the can. 
My lad, no pair of kings our mothers bore; 
Our only portion is the estate of man: 
We want the moon, but we shall get no more. 

If here to-day the cloud of thunder lours 
To-morrow it will hie on far behests; 
The flesh will grieve on other bones than ours 
Soon, and the soul will mourn in other breasts. 

The troubles of our proud and angry dust 
Are from eternity, and shall not fail. 
Bear them we can, and if we can we must. 
Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.