Wednesday, March 01, 2006

To an Athlete Dying Young

by A.E. Housman

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

* * *

For those who haven't heard, Fiddleback has had its final thread snipped by Atropos. It has shuffled off its mortal coil. It is, in the words of my Greek professor, tethnêkoton. (Did I get that right?) Its metabolic processes are of value only to historians. It has ceased to be! The mortal remains are still available for viewing at its old address, but all vital functions have ceased.

To all Fiddlers and Fiddleback fans: it was fun. Thanks everyone -- it was Fiddleback that introduced me to the blogosphere at all, and I had a wonderful experience blogging with all of you. A year and a half is far too short a time to blog with such excellent and admirable hobbits. Let's not be strangers.

Still it's like in this poem. No one wanted Fiddleback to wear its honours out. Fr. Sibley described ending a blog as like ending a good TV series before it gets boring. Nearly all of the Fiddlers had their own blogs and were slowing down in posting, and when we did post we were running out of new things to say. The Cow Pope had grazed out all the laughs he could, and talking breakfast could only last so long.

Meanwhile, Fiddleback's esteemed administrator has moved on to greener pastures. No, he's not dead, nor dropped off the face of the blogosphere: he has moved to his own blog, This Red Rock (an Eliot reference, of course). Go check it out.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Ah, my roomate showed me that poem. I think it was because he wanted me to exercise more.