"About The Woodlands I Will Go"

Context: That man's life is so short and that the world contains so much beauty and wonder are two ideas that frequently occur in Housman's poetry. (Vide "Clay lies still, but blood's a rover.") No man can live long enough to enjoy to the full all that the earth has to offer. In Poem II of A Shropshire Lad Housman depicts the glory of the world in the spring, when, at Eastertide, the cherry trees are hung with canonical white as are the churches. Yet the speaker feels all of man's frustration: though only twenty years old, he knows that the span of his life is limited and that, even should he live to the allotted three score years and ten, he cannot take in all the beauty of the world. He must therefore make the most of what time he has. The poem ends:

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.