Let me consider the author of A Shropshire Lad,
who didn’t come from Shropshire.
No, he came from Worcestershire, adjacent to
another county which might well have been
Still, AEH made quite a number out of names like
Wenlock, Ludlow, the Wrekin and Uricon,
Which impresses this Amuricon.
Among his jolly themes are suicide, dead soldiers,
the gallows and general unrequitedness,
So his country of the mind is brimming over
Even if slightly relieved by his tendency to notice
chestnut, may and cherry blossom,
Unlike that other eminent contemporary and
gloom-merchant, Old Possum.
While some have sought to compare him with
the Wizard of Wessex, a writer rather more
Others belittle his plangent stanzas as Hardy-gurdy.
But, as verse goes, he definitely entered the realms
Although hardly in the bedside reading league
occupied by Agatha and Ellery
Or another wordsmith familiar with similar parts of
the sceptered isle, PGW,
Who is a lot more fun and less likely to trouble you.
Strangely, for someone who used ‘lad ’so much
in his lines, AEH was more donnish than laddish –
As well as classically saddish.