A.E. Housman (1896) poetry : “… the wind’s twelve quarters …”

“… Ere to the wind’s twelve quarters
I take my endless way.”
from a poem (XXXII) by A. E. Housman, from “A Shropshire Lad” , 1896.

I first came across these lines in a collection of science fiction stories, by Ursula K. Le Guin:
“The wind’s twelve quarters: short stories” , a collection of sci fi stories, by Ursula K. Le Guin (c) 1976.

A.E. Housman (1859 – 1936) was an English classical scholar (Professor of Latin at Cambridge University), and poet. His poem is one of a set of 63 poems, in a collection titled “A Shropshire Lad” , originally published in 1896. The poems became very popular in England, as songs, in the early 20th century.

*Poem: XXXII

“From far, from eve and morning
And yon twelve-winded sky,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither: here am I.

Now- for a breath I tarry
Nor yet disperse apart-
Take my hand quick and tell me,
What have you in your heart.

Speak now, and I will answer;
How shall I help you, say;
Ere to the wind’s twelve quarters
I take my endless way.”


Ebook from Project Gutenberg::EBook #5720 (Public Domain)
“A Shropshire Lad” By A. E. Housman.
Introduction by William Stanley Braithwaite, 1919.

*This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

There is also a biography and selected poems of Housman at the Poetry Foundation website:


polar light

Polar Light:  File:Polarlicht 2.jpg
By United States Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons