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Critical Essay

             Micheal Macklem writes that Housman's devotion toward classics has been thought of as an unfortunate digression from his poetry. Edmund Wilson tried to find a relationship between the poetry and classical scholarship of Housman, but came to a conclusion that the scholarship in Housman's poetry should not deserve any attention. A number of themes in Housman's poetry deal with the central attitude to thecommonplaces of human existence.? Wilson says,his achievement has been merely to state memorably certain melancholy commonplaces of human existence without any real presentation of that existence as we live it through?One can only come the same painful cropper over and over again and draw from it the same painful moral.? Macklem thinks this common theme will lead to an appreciation of the intimate nature of the values of life. For Housman, he thinks it will broaden and deepen the meanings of poetry itself.
             Macklem also finds that Housman's mood throughout many of his poems is one of anguish. He feels this pain is closely connected with a sense of time or a loss for the past. Macklem feels the loss for the past is one of major subjects in Housman's poetry. Macklem discovered that in most of Housman's love poems the theme generally follows the same patter. It follows the pattern of time, decay, and then death, which is usually destroyed by love. Macklem also finds that many of Housman's poems grow out of the feeling that belief in the joy and worth of the moment is an illusion. At times Macklem finds that there is a debate between life and death. He finds Housman has a big emphasis on youth, when the joy in someone's life is most intense. Macklem says, Housman's poetry forms a unit of emotional, not intellectual logic. It begins with a vivid response to the sensuous joy of the moment expressed in the symbols of love, friendship, spring, and above all, youth.? However, he feels it is cut or ended by the loss of love or friendship but most of all by death.

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