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The heart's desire

First line:
The boys are up the woods with day
author of text
final three stanzas of 'March' from 'A Shropshire Lad'

The Heart's Desire is Ireland's 1917 setting of the final three of the five stanzas of A E Housman's poem 'March' from A Shropshire Lad. Housman never liked composers 'tampering' with his verse, so what he made of this blatant truncation is anyone's guess. The rolling, richtoned melody marks this off as one of the most overtly passionate of Ireland's songs. As boys and girls go to the fields in search of daffodils and palms, so should lovers be able to fulfil their hearts' desires … 'lovers should be loved again'—full of meaning for Housman—in his case as a repressed homosexual—and apparently also for Ireland, who repeats the final two lines with great force.

from notes by Andrew Green © 1999


Housman: A Shropshire Lad
CDD220442CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
Ireland: Songs


Track 11 on CDD22044 CD1 [2'27] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
Track 7 on CDA67261/2 CD2 [2'33] 2CDs

Track-specific metadata for CDD22044 disc 1 track 11

Recording date
1 January 1995
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown & Graham Johnson
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. A Shropshire Lad (CDA66471/2)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: May 1995
    Deletion date: November 2001
    2CDs Superseded by CDD22044
  2. Housman: A Shropshire Lad (CDD22044)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: November 2001
    2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
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