A Shropshire Lad 2: Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

By A. E. Housman

    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.


Graduated high school in '13, and the only thing I ever memorized like that was the preamble in early elementary school, and the pledge of allegiance of course. Although I can still recite them to this day, I never understood the purpose beyond patriotic indoctrination.

As for memorizing things the author describes, I imagine there are good intentions but I still have my doubts.

I think there's a difference between casually recalling something (as the author says, 'misplacing my phone'), and consciously memorizing something (i.e. memorizing literature).

I think long-form memorization just for memorization own sake is kind of a waste of valuable school time, when students could instead be taught various critical thinking skills.

Unless practicing forced memorization actually improves casual recall? According to the article, it seems the only advantage is reciting poetry as a cute parlor trick, and more appreciation and understanding of literature - of which there are much more effective and multipurposed ways of instilling.

posted 490 days ago