Study Guide

When I was One-and-Twenty Love

By A.E. Housman

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Ah, love. Candle-lit suppers and romantic strolls on the beach, right? We've got this theme down. Unless, of course, you happen to think of love as a transaction – sort of like withdrawing money from your checking account. Or ordering carry-out. One order of love, coming up! That's precisely the level of romantic idealism that we find in "When I was One-and-Twenty." Want to find out about all the joys of love? Well, maybe you should find another love poem.

Questions About Love

  1. Do you think that the speaker was ever really in love? How can you tell?
  2. Do you think that the wise man was ever in love? Why or why not?
  3. Why do you think that the word "love" doesn't appear in this poem?
  4. Do you agree with the wise man?

Chew on This

The speaker in this poem never references love, which suggests that he thinks of his "heart" as an object and not an emotion.

The speaker in this poem never references love, which means that he believes it can't really exist.

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