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Loveliest of Trees Analysis



Author: Poetry of Alfred Edward Housman Type: Poetry Views: 3848







Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.



Now of my threescore years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.



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.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

Although the poem’s theme can be understood as carpe diem, meaning that the speaker is urging himself to get out and enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms while he can, the poem actually goes beyond the limitation of the philosophy of merely “seizing the day.”
No matter how tightly one grasps or “seizes” the day, that day will still vanish, because one cannot add one hour to a day’s length of time. But this speaker reveals a way that he can actually double his enjoyment of beauty.
First Stanza
In the first stanza, the speaker describes a beautiful scene that he is obviously enjoying as he speaks. He is riding through a wooded area and observes that the beauty of the blossoms on the cherry trees makes them the “Loveliest of trees.” The time of the year is spring; the speaker says describing the blossoms that they are “Wearing white for Eastertide.”
Second Stanza
In the second stanza, the speaker reveals that he is twenty years old as he calculates, according to the biblical claim that a lifespan is “threescore years and ten,” that he has only fifty more years to enjoy such beauty in spring. The speaker’s emphasis throughout the poem is on the intensity of the beauty and brevity of the time he will have to enjoy that beauty.
Third Stanza
In the third stanza, the speaker claims that because fifty more opportunities to enjoy these lovely trees with their luscious blossoms is not enough, he will go observe the same trees also in winter, when they are “hung with snow.” That way the speaker doubles his opportunities to enjoy the cheery trees “wearing white.”
More than Carpe Diem
While a strict carpe diem reading is not impossible, it seems unlikely for two main reasons: First, the speaker is already out enjoying the blooms so he is already seizing the day. It makes little sense to implore someone to seize the day, while the person is, in fact, already in the process of seizing it.
Second, the speaker has made it clear that he thinks experiencing this beauty only fifty more times is not enough, “And since to look at things in bloom, / Fifty springs are little room.” If fifty springs are not enough, simply suggesting to himself that should get looking would not change that fact in the least, especially since he is in the process of looking already.
Snow is Literal not Metaphorical
The carpe diem reading results from interpreting “snow” in the last line to be a metaphor for the cherry blossoms. And while that interpretation is not impossible, the poem’s achievement is greater if “snow” is taken literally. Thus, the speaker solves a problem: instead of just having fifty more times to look at the cherry wearing white, he doubles his opportunities.

| Posted on 2013-03-24 | by a guest


.: :.

> ...a cherry blossom, every cherry blossom, is pink.
Not so. There are a lot of white-flowering cherry trees, including Prunus avium and Prunus padus. Both are wild species, common in English woodland, so either could be Housman\'s cherry.

| Posted on 2013-03-23 | by a guest


.: :.

First, for those of us old enough to have actually seen a cherry tree or two, a cherry blossom, every cherry blossom, is pink.
For the poet to refer to a cherry hung in white, then, is to speak of an unusual occurrence. Most [dainty]people would not venture out in Easter garb, in the snow, simply to see a cherry tree, preferring to wait for the snow to melt.
The poet, realizing his time to see any blooming tree is limited, says that he will brave the cold and view the beautiful blossoms.

| Posted on 2013-03-07 | by a guest


.: :.

this is an amazing poem
by a. e houseman
guys u should really read this poem and go through its summary

| Posted on 2013-01-14 | by a guest


.: :.

Why the poet have to use biblical claim to count his age why couldn\'t he just express his age directly and he didn\'t have to do anything with his age in this page

| Posted on 2012-04-30 | by a guest


.: :.

Wow. Object lesson in how not to get poetry. Glad I don\'t live the arid life you lot are doomed to.

| Posted on 2012-04-01 | by a guest


.: :.

Every 1 is wr0ng the poet says in the 1st stanza that \"cherry is the on of the m0st beutiful flowers it seems more beutiful when all its branches are laden with white flowers and it is growing around the broad path for horse-riders.Easter is a christian festival remembering the death of christ and his return back to life.It falls on sunday in march or april.Christians wear white clothes on easter.This plant(cherry)also wears white in order to celebrate the easter.
Stanza 2:-the poet says that an old testament says that seventy years in length of life that man can expect to live on earth.I am twenty years old and if twenty is taken from seventy,only fifty is left.This means that i can expect to live at the m0st fifty years more.
Stanza 3:-the cherry tree seems to0 beutiful,and fifty springs are little time to see it the snow is falling on it in springs and seems like the feather of a young the poet says that i will go deep in w00ds to see this scene

| Posted on 2012-03-21 | by a guest


.: :.

nice evryone but i think that he says twenty won\'t come again as the frist twenty years of a persons life are spent in much confusion with no actual understanding of life so thcse twenty are gone and propbably won\'t be coming back so he wants to enjoy such splendor of nature for the rest of the fifity years but thinks even they are not enough to enjoy just a single beauty of nature so he wants to absorb the beauty as much as he could in whatever short time he has. And by the way i thnink we should keep it simple so just keep it to natural beauty and don\'t mix it up with death, time and life.

| Posted on 2012-03-19 | by a guest


.: :.

Theme of this poem:
The beauty of the nature, especially of cherry is captivating. But life is too short to relish it. Even fifty years are not enough time ti enjoy it fully. The Poet says that one should not miss any chances of enjoying the bloom of the \"loveliest of the trees\" the cherry, in the woods in all seasons

| Posted on 2010-12-01 | by a guest


.: :.

Journal Entry about “Loveliest of Trees” a poem by A. E. Housman (1859)
Pre-Discussion:
For the A. E. Housman the cherry tree holds a very special significance in his life because he creates a parallel with the tree and his personal journey. Actually the author personalizes the tree as a memory for his entire life. “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now, is hung with bloom along the bough, and stands about the woodland ride, wearing white for Eastertide” for the author the woodland is a place to rest, meditate about life and to comeback continuously for more soul search for answers. The tree that can be self stands wearing “white” for the feast a celebration of summer or spring inside the woodland for Eastertide.
As searching for more words definitions in I understand that Eastertide is the “fifty days between Easter and Whitsuntide.” What exactly is Whitsuntide? It relates to one of the greatest summer “pagan festivals that pre-dated Christianity celebrated in most parts of England,” the author is the one dress on white waiting for someone to celebrate Easter. And he creates a simile or parallel between the tree and his life.
As time ticks and life moves fast like in a ride, the author innocently keeps score against time, “now, of my threescore years and ten, twenty will not come again, and take from seventy springs a score, it only leaves me fifty more” since twenty cannot be recuperated is left now fifty, only if there is a tangible life span for him to enjoy so many years observing the cherry tree.
The circle of life or “threescore” like in Greek mythology is completed with one more term that of death “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” where the author will go to rest and observe the tree for eternity there at the woodland is a tree cover with x poem brought some awareness that I had not observed in my life time a cherry tree. If not for the class and the internet that helps to see more than one analytical point of view it would be for me very difficult to understand all the material I read. Therefore, I would love to include an engine like Squidoo populated with images from different parts of the world about cherry trees. The photos are magnificent and a good inspiration to journey to a place where the trees live as the woodlands.
One of the guest student at mention that the poem is about a biblical believe I did not even knew “that a person is promised to live about seventy years of age” 2010-02-21 sign and dated. Another student guest shares the opinion that the poem is about “youth and mortality” 2010-04-17 sign and dated. Another interesting opinion is that the poem truly is about “death, life and time” as a powerful existential circle of life.
In-Conclusion:
The poem is open-ended for multiple interpretations since yes so many possibilities are available as the poem brought to me a visual from my imagination that the author one time in his life waited under that cherry tree for a love one to join the festival and celebrated Easter. Maybe he lost his innocence around the tree and therefore he always came back to the same spot for more personal understanding about life.

Liliana Prina

| Posted on 2010-05-29 | by a guest


.: :.

Housman speaks of the simple and pastoral beauty of cherry blossoms in the springtime, and highlights the fact that this event occurs only once each year and is therefore serves as a sort of clock by which one can measure their life...a clock which will continue to tick after we are gone.
To take a moment to observe and participate in this brief and beautiful event (the blossoming of cherry trees) is to take a moment a away from the pain and existential melancholy that haunts his world, and is echoed in other pieces of his work ("smart lad to slip betimes away....")
The themes of mortality, savoring moments of beauty which are each unique and brief in duration, the change in perspective that age brings when viewing such things, and the relief of angst by stepping away from the inevitable and internal clock of fading youth that is uniquely personal to live for a moment connected to a universe which will continue to exist and bloom long after he is gone...these are all elegantly expressed without direct reference and are themes that run through much of his writing.

| Posted on 2010-05-08 | by a guest


.: :.

everyone has it wrong! IT's about youth and mortality! it's like nothing gold can stay by robert frost! How transietn life really is! And realizing that! UGH..it's that public school education at work.. TRY PAROCHIAL.

| Posted on 2010-04-17 | by a guest


.: :.

obviously no one seems to understand this poem. In the first stanza, Housman talks about the beauty of the cherry trees in spring (notice he says they're white for Eastertide, which is in April). In the second stanza, he says that he is twenty years old, out of three score and ten (seventy), which is based of the biblical belief that one is promised to live seventy years of age. In the third stanza he says that he will not have enough time to admire the beauty of the cherry trees in just 50 springs, so he decides to also observe them in the winter, therefore doubling his time.
this poem is about moving on in life, and living life to its fullest (if you know this man's background you understand). Its about enjoying the beauty of everything while one still can, and despite the past, being optomistic about the future.

| Posted on 2010-02-21 | by a guest


.: :.

What the hell? I guess he's twenty years old, and realizes that he wil only see 50 more springs, which seems shorter to him than fifty years of life. The reference too easter hints at the springing up of new life, which directly contradicts the tone of the poem, as teh author sees his life as winding down. He will search, nonetheless to discover trees that exist in this easter state of existance, so that he can continue to stay young throughout his remaining years.the persona want to say that as long as we still young,,we have to do something good,,and see how Gods create our beautiful world,,bcos the time will come that when we are all older or maybe more than 70 yrs old,, i think we are all disability or mentally retarded,

| Posted on 2010-02-21 | by a guest


.: :.

THIS POEM by A.E HOUSMAN is really good and awesome,i really like this poem and hope u will also.this is a poem about a person's love for nature.
the poet has tried to make us attentive towards all the beautiful things that are around us and we sometimes never even notice these.He says that even seventy years are not enough for me to cherish a sight as lovely as of a cherry tree when it is covered with white flowers.

| Posted on 2010-02-21 | by a guest


.: :.

an wonderful poem
actually, we should think about the nature and we should think over how is it beautiful.
this poem msde me calm down

| Posted on 2009-12-26 | by a guest


.: :.

No one can interpret this poem only A.e. hOusman... SO shut up Guys...

| Posted on 2009-12-09 | by a guest


.: :.

this is a poem about a person's love for nature.
the poet has tried to make us attentive towards all the beautiful things that are around us and we sometimes never even notice these.He says that even seventy years are not enough for me to cherish a sight as lovely as of a cherry tree when it is covered with white flowers.

| Posted on 2009-11-04 | by a guest


.: :.

the persona want to say that as long as we still young,,we have to do something good,,and see how Gods create our beautiful world,,bcos the time will come that when we are all older or maybe more than 70 yrs old,, i think we are all disability or mentally retarded,,
friendster
09083969709 my cp #

| Posted on 2009-10-19 | by a guest


.: :.

the persona want to say that as long as we still young,,we have to do something good,,and see how Gods create our beautiful world,,bcos the time will come that when we are all older or maybe more than 70 yrs old,, i think we are all disability or mentally retarded,,
friendster
09083969709 my cp #

| Posted on 2009-10-19 | by a guest


.: :.

no comment ,but i believe in all of you,,love u mwaahhh

| Posted on 2009-10-19 | by a guest


.: :.

Many people misconceive the concept of this poet, this is not very much about trees but more of death, life, and time. Break the poem down by stanza, "Loveliest of trees, the cherry is now". Trees represent us and humans and we are at our fullest of life. "Is hung with bloom along the bough", We are hung with beauty and joy on our branches of life."And stands about the woodland ride". Everyone in the woodlands are at their potential. "Wearing white for Eastertide. " Wearing innocence and purity for the Eastertide, rebirth. (please use discretion to Eastertide). "Now of my threescore years and ten". A score is twenty years and his life is slipping away."Twenty will not come again". His youth, he cannot regain nor his innocence."And take from seventy springs a score It only leaves me fifty more.". His life is shortening by 20 less so he has 50 more springs left. "And since to look at things in bloom". Admiring the others who have they childhood ahead. "Fifty springs are little room". 50 years seem short in comparison. "About the woodlands I will go". About the people I will travel. "To see the cherry hung with snow". To see death hung with snow (white, purity, innocence).
Michael Choi

| Posted on 2009-10-11 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem is great. The poet (A. E. Housman) realizes the characteristics of time. This poes may not be fit to be called a pessimistic one because no sad ideas have been presented. The poet only poured his realization about how valueable time becomes once it passes away. Nature has been used to decorate his feelings. Too bad I've my poetry exam tomorrow. Subash Rai.KMC.

| Posted on 2009-07-27 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is about the Authors love for a cherry tree - that blooms with brilliant white flowers. However, the author is saddened by the fact that he is already twenty years old and might only see this tree in fully beauty fifty more times. So rather than only see the tree hung with white flowers, he will go in the winter time to see the cherry tree hung with white snow - an attempt to make the best of his remaining 50 years left of life.

| Posted on 2009-06-18 | by a guest


.: :.

this is a beautiful poem, i'm singing it for my grade 8 classical singing examination, it's been set to music i'm not sure if it's by colin ross or if that's who wrote the poem but it's truly beautiful.

| Posted on 2009-05-06 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem is an amazing blend of pain and pleasure, excitement and regret, freshness of nature and brief span of human life. It also tells us about the deep love of the poet for the snow capped cherry tree. The poet has been animating his vision by this lovely sight for the last fifty years. But this flame of passion for the cherry seems increasing with every passing year. He's twenty years old, and he finds that he can only live for fifty years more (which means he can only see 50 more springs) as the life span is seventy years old according to Bible. He's sad that he will only see fifty more springs (in the second stanza)
In the last stanza, the last line, the word 'snow' can mean winter, literally. He wants to see springs instead of winter time.

| Posted on 2009-04-17 | by a guest


.: :.

Don't over analise - it's a beautiful wine, savour it! Enjoy it's beauty - why ask the magician how he creates his allusions?

| Posted on 2009-04-15 | by a guest


.: :.

The tree is actually referring to a lovely girl who is so pure which is represented by the white colour and at the end of the poem snow represents death or in other words loss of virginity.

| Posted on 2009-03-08 | by a guest


.: :.

The tone in this poem, employs some sort of a pessimistic outlook on life, since he wants to live longer. Also, the speaker believes he will not reside on earth long enough.

| Posted on 2009-02-11 | by a guest


.: :.

The title tells how beautiful the nature is.
He's twenty years old, and he finds that he can only live for fifty years more (which means he can only see 50 more springs) as the life span is seventy years old according to Bible. He's sad that he will only see fifty more springs (in the second stanza)
In the last stanza, the last line, the word 'snow' can mean winter, literally. He wants to see springs instead of winter time. In metaphorically it can mean that the colour of blossoms are white.

| Posted on 2009-01-09 | by a guest


.: :.

he is actually just 20!
he assumes he will live for 70 years.
20 will not come again, because it has passed.
he's saying even the 50 years he has left is perhaps not enough to take in the cherry trees.

| Posted on 2008-11-02 | by a guest


.: :.

The poet want to describe the beauty of the cherry tree that it is the beautiful scene to see a cherry tree hung with blooming flowers, covering itz branches. He thinks that the tree is in full bloom to welcome the spring and the coming Easter.
.. The poet is seventy and realise that he'll never be twenty again. He thinks that he started taking notice of the beauty of nature after the age of 20 b'caz he was not mature enough and never had time to think about the nature's beauty "And since to look at things in bloom".
...he says since 50 yrz he use to see and appreciate the beauty of the cherry tree but still he thinks it is a very small period of time to he wants to come back here to see the cherry tree hung with snow which is actually the flowers covering the tree and looking like snow..

| Posted on 2008-09-12 | by a guest


.: :.

the most telling and poignant feature of this poem is the last line..."to see the cherry hung with snow. Before this line the author only speaks of Spring and blossoms, and now this stark image, a cherry tree hung with snow, somehow speaks to our limited mortality, 50 years is indeed little time to see the beauties of the world. But what the hell do I know?

| Posted on 2008-05-07 | by a guest


.: :.

The slight irony of the poem appears when Houseman says "And since to look at things in bloom/fifty springs leaves little room." Fifty years is ordinarily thought of as a very very long time, and it would a lot of "room" to do most things in life. But the trees are so magnificent that even fifty years "leaves little room" to do them justice.

| Posted on 2008-04-01 | by a guest


.: twenty :.

the poet thinks of his lifespan as seventy years, twenty will not come again since he is twenty. he realizes that seeing only the cherry tree in bloom shortens his life, he will extend it by seeing the cherry tree laden with snow. he will learn to appreciate the beauty of all the seasons in all he is given.

| Posted on 2008-03-10 | by a guest


.: :.

I thought that the allusion to Easter was the fact that his way of thinking was being "reborn". He is realizing that he has little time left to live so he needs to improve his take on life and what God has given him. This is why he's going to spend his remaining fifty years appreciating nature's beauty.

| Posted on 2008-02-14 | by a guest


.: vincent :.

The poem takes place in the spring. The "Wearing white for Eastertide" are the cherry trees have blossomed. The writer is marveling at the cherry blossoms and comes to think about life. Every year the trees blossom in the spring. He figures out that of his lifespan (the threescore and ten) he has lived away twenty that "will not come again". By subtraction he figures out that he has about 50 more years to live. Since things in bloom do not stay in bloom very long fifty springs is actually ver

| Posted on 2008-02-02 | by a guest


.: GUMBY's ANALYSIS :.

The poem takes place in the spring. The "Wearing white for Eastertide" are the cherry trees have blossomed. The writer is marveling at the cherry blossoms and comes to think about life. Every year the trees blossom in the spring. He figures out that of his lifespan (the threescore and ten) he has lived away twenty that "will not come again". By subtraction he figures out that he has about 50 more years to live. Since things in bloom do not stay in bloom very long fifty springs is actually ver

| Posted on 2007-12-12 | by a guest


.: :.

Houseman observes the cherry tree at its most beautiful, in spring, and in full bloom. But then he is reminded of Easter, and thus of death. He calculates his remaining years, and realises that life is far too precious to savour only the best things in life. He knows that from now on he must look for the special beauty and meaning that exists in all seasons, in all things, in every situation, and in everybody.

J. A . Mann

| Posted on 2007-08-10 | by a guest


.: My analysis :.

In his poem he writes “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough, And stands about the woodland ride Wearing white for Eastertide.” The cherry wearing white signifies the nearness of death (Stevenson 184). Housman wants us to see that death is inevitable in this young man’s life and that he starting to understand it. However Easter is not expressed as suffering, but brief beauty then sudden death (Stevenson 200). I believe Housman was trying to create an image of enjoying life before death. Since the 1st stanza of the poem recognizes the color of the cherry and the significance of what Easter represents, we can find it obvious that the second stanza is based on his recognition of his own destiny to die. The speaker in the poem is described to have 50 years left, when he says “Now of my threescore years and ten, twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score, It only leaves me fifty more.”, and he has anxiety over the loss of life. The young man is frustrated when he knows his youth won’t come again and Housman made sure that we all realized this when reading the poem. The speaker continues to express to us his sadness about not having as much time as he would like in life. However the speaker makes sure that we know that he will continually return to see the “cherry hung with snow” as long his life permits.

| Posted on 2007-03-26 | by a guest




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