Dulce Et Decorum Est
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
The poem Ducle Et Decorum Est written by Wilfred Owen is a poem describing the horrors of war in World War 1 from a soldiers points of view, going from not so violent to very violent towards the end of the poem.
In the first line in stanza 1, “like old beggars under sacks” beggars used to carry all their items in a sack over their shoulder, bent over and in pain from the weight, the soldiers are like beggars. In this stanza its talking about the soldiers retreating to base camp, tired, in pain and can barley walk anymore.
Stanza 2, a gas bomb hit a group of men, with one man struggling to put on his gas mask. “Floundering like a man on fire” the man was panicking, fumbling to get his gas mask on. The poet describes the gas bomb attack “under a green sea”
In stanza 3, it describes a helpless man dying from the gas. ‘my helpless sight” meaning he wanted to help but he couldn’t. it then described the man chocking and slowly dying from the gas.
Stanza 4 is talking and showing through imagery about the affects the gas has on the man. “Come gargling form the froth-corrupt lungs” this line has a very powerful imagery effect to the reader. At the end of the stanza it says “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.” Which means It is sweet and proper to die for one's country.
The theme of this poem is the horror and reality of war. Explaining in detail and with imagery of how dangerous, pointless, real and horrific war is.
This poem was written by Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born 18 March 1893 in Oswestry, Shropshire and died on the 4 November 1918 (aged 25), Sambre-Oise Canal, France. He served in the several wars having WWI the most important. After experiencing heavy fighting, he was diagnosed with shellshock.
Many poetic devices were used to make the poem more complex and interesting by having several poetic devises such as;
Metaphor: e.g. “green sea”
“drunk with fatigue”
Verbs: e.g. “guttering”
Imagery: e.g. “Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs”
Hyperbole: e.g. “bent double”
Alliteration: e.g. “Knock-kneed”
“Coughing like hags”