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Alfred Edward Housman

Loitering with a Vacant Eye - Alfred Edward Housman

 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, 
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." 

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 
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. 
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 stept out in flesh and bone 
Manful like the man of stone.