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As the oldest of seven brothers and sisters, Alfred Edward Housman was born in 1859 in Fockbury, England. On his twelfth birthday, his mother passed away, leading to the pessimism his poetry expresses. In 1877, Housman studied Greek and Roman Classics while attending St. John’s College in Oxford. There he fell in love with his roommate, Moses Jackson, who did not share the same feelings as him. In 1892, he became the Professor of Latin at University College in London and then in 1911 at Trinity College in Cambridge, which he held until his death in 1936. Throughout his life, he only published two works of poetry: A Shropshire Lad in 1896, in which the majority of his poems were written after the death of his friend, Adalbert Jackson, and Last Poems in 1922. In both of these volumes, he centers the poems on common themes like “fleeting youth, grief, and death” (A.E. Housman), which are seen in the poem “To an Athlete Dying Young.”
The title, “To an Athlete Dying Young,” is relevant to the poem and the central theme because the entire poem is about a young athlete who has just passe…
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