Housman Remembered His Declensions

“This Dartmoor shepherd knew the faces of all his sheep. Housman ruefully admitted that he did not. “But then,” he said, “if I had remembered all your faces, I might have forgotten more important things” – not, he hastened to explain, things more important in themselves, but more important to him; had he burdened his memory by the distinction between Miss Jones and Miss Robinson, he might have forgotten that between the second and fourth declension.”

-A.S.F. Gow, A.E. Housman: A Sketch (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press) p.18

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