A Shropshire Lad is A. E. Housman's reflections on love, death, and the eternal uncertainty of the human condition, placed in an idealized world of rural England, unpolluted by the taint of the city, but still a place where love can fail, evil can come to good people, and human beings can find themselves torn deeply by conflicting desires and feelings. Housman had great faith in his work even when he could not find a publisher and had to bring it out himself. His faith was rewarded.
Robert Bethune reads with a kind of histrionic cadence that I found to be out of keeping with Housman's style.
Housman himself knew that his output as a poet would not be large. In his preface to this volume, he wrote, rather touchingly: "I publish these poems, few though they are, because it is not likely that I shall ever be impelled to write much more." He pulled Last Poems together because his life-long friend, Moses Jackson, was dying and Housman wanted Jackson to be able to read these poems before Jackson passed away.