Study Guide

To an Athlete Dying Young Stanza 1

By A.E. Housman

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Stanza 1

Lines 1-4

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

  • Enjoy these four lines, Shmoopers. This is the happy part.
  • The poem starts with the speaker remembering when the athlete won a big race and the townspeople carried the athlete "through the market-place" in celebration. They even carried him home. What nice folks.
  • You probably noticed something about the end words in stanza 1: "race" and "place," "by" and "high." That's right—they rhyme.
  • The stanzas follow an AABB rhyme scheme throughout the poem. The rhyme scheme gives the poem a kind of rhythmic feeling, almost like a nursery rhyme.
  • That nursery rhyme vibe doesn't seem to fit with a poem about death… or does it? Stay tuned. (Or, if you are the impatient type, jump to the "Sound Check" for more.)

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