“If death and time are stronger, A love may yet be strong; The world will last for longer, But this will last for long.” From Additional Poems By A.E. Housman

A.E. Housman is the master of compressing a profusion of resonant content in a short line of verse. This poignant, rarely anthologized poem evidences his skill.

Poem IV From Additional Poems
By A.E. Housman

It is no gift I tender,
A loan is all I can;
But do not scorn the lender;
Man gets no more from man.

Oh, mortal man may borrow
What mortal man can lend;
And ’twill not end to-morrow,
Though sure enough ’twill end.

If death and time are stronger,
A love may yet be strong;
The world will last for longer,
But this will last for long.

 

For More From A.E. Housman

A complete collection of Housman’s serious poetry is available online at A. E. Housman. Also available are Housman’s introductory lecture as professor at University College London, his Leslie Stephen lecture, The Name and Nature of Poetry, and the full version of Fragment of a Greek Tragedy.

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