IV. Illic Jacet

Oh hard is the bed they have made him,
   And common the blanket and cheap;
But there he will lie as they laid him:
   Where else could you trust him to sleep?

To sleep when the bugle is crying
   And cravens have heard and are brave,
When mothers and sweethearts are sighing
   And lads are in love with the grave.

Oh dark is the chamber and lonely,
   And lights and companions depart;
But lief will he lose them and only
   Behold the desire of his heart.

And low is the roof, but it covers
   A sleeper content to repose;
And far from his friends and his lovers
   He lies with the sweetheart he chose.

A.E. Housman, Last Poems

Public domain: first published in 1922.

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