Study Guide

To an Athlete Dying Young Calling Card

By A.E. Housman

Calling Card

Death, Rhyme, and more Death

Housman didn't mess around with free verse. He was a form guy and he liked his rhymes. He also liked to keep things pretty plainspoken in the diction department. Housman usually went with simple and direct over complicated and subtle.

It seems like A.E. had a list of favorite themes, and he wasn't afraid to draw from the list again and again. A couple of his favorites were Time and the inescapability of Death.

So, if you come across a rhyming poem about death or the ravages of Time that doesn't have you scratching your head and running for your dictionary every other line, it may very well be a poem by our pal A.E.

For more classic Housman, checkout "Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree," "With Rue My Heart is Laden," and "Is My Team Ploughing." And then take yourself out for an ice-cream cone. You might need some cheering up.

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