Poetry became my passion after I fell in love v Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English course circa 1962.

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Introduction and also Text the "When i was one-and-twenty"

A. E. Housman's lyric, "When i was one-and-twenty," shows up as #XIII in Housman's repertoire titled, A Shropshire Lad, along with "To an athlete dice young," which offers a watch point about death. In Housman's "When ns was one-and-twenty," the speaker at age twenty-two reports the reality of sage advice he received at age twenty-one around falling in love.

This lyric, "When i was one-and-twenty," consists of two rimed stanzas of eight lines each. The rime plan is ABCBCDAD in the first stanza and ABCBADAD in the 2nd stanza. The "heart" is employed together a price of love, if "crowns and also pounds and also guineas" along with "pearls" and "rubies" space symbolic the earthly possessions.

(Please note: The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English through Dr. Samuel Johnson v an raw error. For my explanation because that using only the initial form, please watch "Rime vs Rhyme: An unfortunate Error.")

When ns was one-and-twenty

When ns was one-and-twenty ns heard a wise guy say, ‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas however not her heart away; give pearls away and also rubies however keep your an elaborate free.’ but I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me.

When i was one-and-twenty ns heard him to speak again, ‘The heart the end of the bosom to be never provided in vain; ’Tis paid through sighs a lot of and sold for unlimited rue.’ and also I to be two-and-twenty, and oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

Reading the "When ns was one-and-twenty"


In Housman's "When ns was one-and-twenty," the speak at age twenty-two reports the reality of sage advice he got at period twenty-one about falling in love.

First Stanza: offer All but the Heart

WhenI to be one-and-twenty i heard a wise man say, ‘Give crowns and also pounds and also guineas but not your heart away; offer pearls away and rubies yet keep your an intricate free.’ yet I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me.

The speaker, a young male only twenty-one year old, beginning his reportage through a quotation the he says he heard spoken likely by a lot older man; according to the speaker, he "heard a wise man say." The way man's words were meant to provide advice concerning the issue of falling in love. Because the older male is speak to a young male (or possibly a group of young men), the addresses an issue that would most likely be quite relevant come young civilization of that age group.

The sage advises the the younger men should never ever "give heart away"—that is, they must guard versus falling in love. He tells them it is fine to provide away points such as money but that they should at all costs keep their hearts. The young speak of the poem has actually either heard the advice straight or indirect from the so-called "wise man." That very same wise man likewise advised the giving presents to a prospective paramour to be fine as lengthy as the giver maintained his wits around him and was no tricked right into losing his own great judgment.

The older, wiser man makes it clean to the those younger and less competent that keeping one's emotional and mental well being is of great importance. He really hopes to make the younger ones understand that they have to never permit another person to invade and possess their lives. The young speak however also makes it well-known that he did no follow the sage advice. He was like many young world who space head-strong, believing they recognize best, not enabling older people to influence them. This younger speaker just disdains the larger man's advice, taking his opportunities with the future.

Second Stanza: Sage Advice

When ns was one-and-twenty i heard him speak again, ‘The heart the end of the bosom to be never offered in vain; ’Tis paid with sighs a many and sold for countless rue.’ and I to be two-and-twenty, and oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

The young speak reports further that the larger speaker had actually advised that permitting oneself to autumn in love would have consequences. The younger speaker is currently musing on that advice. The speak recalls the the sage had told him around the sorrow that would be skilled if the young man did no heed the advice of the older.

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Now the speaker has actually aged a year and permitted himself to end up being entangled by offering away his heart. He has end up being a victim of shed love and now realizes the the advice he had been given was correct. By providing his love away, the young speak is now paying the price with pain, sorrow, as he continues to sigh and also cry and muse on the sage advice the he now wishes he had actually followed.