Classical Poet. He is best known for his cycle of poems "A Shropshire Lad." Born at Fockbury, near Broomsgrove in Worcestershire, England, he was the oldest of seven children. He received his education at King Edward's School in Birmingham, England, then at Bromsgrove School where achieved academically and won prizes for his poetry. In 1877 he received a scholarship to Saint John's College, Oxford, England where he studied classics. He became enamored with one of his roommates, Moses Jackson, who did not return the same feelings to him. He failed to obtain a degree due to a variety of reasons which left him with a deep sense of humiliation. Through Jackson's help, he acquired a job as a clerk at the Patent Office in London, England. He continued pursuing classical studies independently and published articles on such authors as Horace, Propertius, Ovid, Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles, and soon acquired such a high reputation that in 1892 he accepted an offer of a professorship of Latin at University College in London. It was at this time that he wrote his "A Shropshire Lad," a cycle of 63 poems, which he published in 1896 at his own expense and is still in print. It soon became a lasting success and its appeal to English musicians, who adapted many of the poems to music, helped to make it widely known prior to World War I, when its themes struck a powerful chord with the English readers. Although his responsibilities as professor included both Latin and Greek, he soon focused is energy on Latin poetry. From 1903 to 1930 he published his critical edition of Roman poet Marcus Manilius's "Astronomicon" in five volumes. In 1911 he took the Kennedy Professorship of Latin at Trinity College in Cambridge, England where he remained for the rest of his life. His other collection of poems, "Last Poems," were his only other works published before his death. He died in Cambridge at the age of 77. After his death, his brother, Laurence Houseman published more of his works which appeared in "More Poems" (1936) and "Collected Poems" (1939).
Bio by: William Bjornstad