I had a friend, Samuel Lipman, a piano prodigy as a child, a student of the conductor and violinist Pierre Monteux, later a teacher at Juilliard, a powerful music critic, and publisher of the New Criterion , a magazine devoted to the arts. In the realm of culture, Sam was an immitigable, irretrievable highbrow. Once, after a meeting of the Council of the National Endowment for the Arts (of which we were both members), I said to Sam that I noted he rarely mentioned movies or television. "Oh, I consider movies and television," he said, rather casually, "dog shit." Dog shit, I thought at the time, lower in dignity even than the excrement of bulls and horses.
Housman's poetry, especially A Shropshire Lad , was set to music by many British, and in particular English, composers in the first half of the 20th century.  The national, pastoral and traditional elements of his style resonated with similar trends in English music. In 1904 the cycle A Shropshire Lad was set by Arthur Somervell , who had begun to develop the concept of the English song-cycle in his version of Tennyson 's Maud a little previously. Ralph Vaughan Williams produced his well-known settings of six songs, the cycle On Wenlock Edge , for string quartet , tenor and piano in 1909. Between 1909 and 1911 George Butterworth produced settings in two collections, Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad and Bredon Hill and Other Songs . He also wrote the orchestral tone poem A Shropshire Lad , first performed at Leeds Festival in 1912.