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Housman was born in Burton-On-Trent England in 1865 just as the US Civil War was ending As a young child he was disturbed by the news of slaughter from the former British colonies and was affected deeply This turned him into a brooding introverted teenager and a misanthropic pessimistic adult This outlook on life shows clearly in his poetry Housman believed that people were generally evil and that life conspired against mankind This is evident not only in his poetry but also in his short stories For example his story The Child of Lancashire published in 1893 in The London Gazette is about an child who travels to London where his parents die and he becomes a street urchin There are veiled implications that the child is a homosexual as was Housman most probably and he becomes mixed up with a gang of similar youths attacking affluent pedestrians and stealing their watches and gold coins Eventually he leaves the gang and becomes wealthy but is attacked by the same gang who dont recognize him and is thrown off London Bridge into the Thames which is unfortunately frozen over and is killed on the hard ice below Housmans poetry is similarly pessimistic In fully half the poems the speaker is dead In others he is about to die or wants to die or his girlfriend is dead Death is a really important stage of life to Housman without death Housman would probably not have been able to be a poet Housman himself died in 1937 A few of his poems show an uncharacteristic optimism and love of beauty however For example in his poem Trees he begins Loveliest of trees
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