A Shropshire Lad XXI (Bredon Hill)
Words by A.E. Housman, set to a tune by David Harley. All rights reserved.
Probably the first of my settings of Housman’s verse, from the 1970s, though the recording is much more recent. This is from ‘A Shropshire Lad’.
Not to be picky, but though this is from ‘A Shropshire Lad’, Bredon Hill is actually in Worcestershire. Housman himself was from that county, so was no doubt fully aware of that fact.You can find the words to this one on the Housman Society’s page, but this version of the words here is from Martin Hardcastle’s site.
XXI – BREDON HILL*
In summertime on Bredon The bells they sound so clear; Round both the shires they ring them In steeples far and near, A happy noise to hear. Here of a Sunday morning My love and I would lie, And see the coloured counties, And hear the larks so high About us in the sky. The bells would ring to call her In valleys miles away: "Come all to church, good people; Good people, come and pray." But here my love would stay. And I would turn and answer Among the springing thyme, "Oh, peal upon our wedding, And we will hear the chime, And come to church in time." But when the snows at Christmas On Bredon top were strown, My love rose up so early And stole out unbeknown And went to church alone. They tolled the one bell only, Groom there was none to see, The mourners followed after, And so to church went she, And would not wait for me. The bells they sound on Bredon And still the steeples hum. "Come all to church, good people,"-- Oh, noisy bells, be dumb; I hear you, I will come. * Pronounced Breedon.