Housman

To an Athlete Dying Young

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. 

Today, the road all runners come, shoulder-high we bring you home, and set at your threshold down, townsmen of a stiller town. 

Smart lad, to slip betimes away from fields where glory does not stay and early though the laurel grows it withers quicker than a rose. 

Now you will not swell the rout of lads that wore their honors out, runners whom renown outran and the name died before the man. 

So set, before its echoes fade, the fleet foot on the sill of shade, and hold the low lintel up the still-defended challenge-cup. 

And round that early-laureled head will flock to gaze the strengthless dead, and find unwithered on its curls the garland briefer than a girl’s. 

A.E. Housman 

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The Masai have reported to the district commissioner that many times at sunrise and sunset, they have seen lions on Finch Hatton’s grave. A lion and a lioness have gone there and stood or lain on the grave for a long time. ...The ground around the grave was leveled out to a sort of terrace. I suppose that the level place makes a good site for the lions. From there they have a view over the plain and the cattle and game. Denys would like that.

Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) from Out of Africa