Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
Raised in Worcestershire and finding myself eventually settled in Cambridge, I do share some geographical space with the ghost of A. E. Housman, even if I otherwise find his morbid nostalgia a bit too much to take as seriously as perhaps it needs.
Still, reading A Shropshire Lad gives you something in common with the generation who fought the First World War, when, naturally, morbidity and nostalgia must have been very important forces indeed.
“I was born in Worcestershire, not Shropshire, where I have never spent much time. I had a sentimental feeling for Shropshire because its hills were on our Western horizon.” – A.E. Housman, from private correspondence