"Loveliest of Trees" by A. E. Houseman


A. E. Houseman performed poorly initially while at university. Through his intense dedication, however, he rose to prominence to be one of the most celebrated scholars in history. He was appointed Professor of Latin and University College in London and later at the University of Cambridge. In 1896 he published a collection of sixty-three poems entitled "A Shropshire Lad," a collection that included this poem. 

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the meaning of this poem? 
  2. The ending of the poem seems to circle around to the image the poet presents in the first stanza. What does this decision suggest about the poem's narrator? 
  3. What techniques is the poet employing in this poem? 

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