A E Housman (1859-1936) – Uricon


Not avoiding A, I, O, or U

Wind on Long Mynd puts woods in anguish;
  On Clun, a sylvan shag rains down.
Caught in that blast, frail saplings languish;
  Sabrina dons a milfoil gown.
Thus did it blow through holt and gully
   Whilst Roman Viroconium stood.
It blows today; its tantrums bully
   A Saxon, not a Roman, wood.
I wasn’t born, as far-flung Roman
  Saw, long ago, that windblown hill.
Such blood still warms a Saxon ploughman,
  As his; such hurtful thoughts, hurt still.
That wind has wildwoods now in labour,
  And through yon Roman it ran high.
Not tranquil is our human arbour!
  It was a Roman; now, ’tis I.
Caught in that blast, frail saplings languish;
  It blows so hard, ’twill pass anon:
What hid that Roman and his anguish?
  Ruin and dust of Uricon.
On Wenlock Edge the wood’s in trouble;
  His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
  And thick on Severn snow the leaves.
‘Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
  When Uricon the city stood:
‘Tis the old wind in the old anger,
  But then it threshed another wood.
Then, ’twas before my time, the Roman
  At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
  The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.
There, like the wind through woods in riot,
  Through him the gale of life blew high;
The tree of man was never quiet:
  Then ’twas the Roman, now ’tis I.
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
  It blows so hard, ’twill soon be gone:
To-day the Roman and his trouble
  Are ashes under Uricon.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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