dulce et decorum est pro patria mori love

dulce et decorum est pro patria mori


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  • 'It is good and proper to die for the fatherland.'

    December 5, 2006

  • 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 gas-shells dropping softly 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 flound'ring 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 gurgling 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


    Wilfred Owen (1893 -- 1918) died fighting for England in World War I, just one week before the armistice was signed and the war ended.

    July 11, 2008

  • Thank you for posting this, sionnach. I have always loved this poem.

    a minor note--I thought it was "bitter as the cud," not bitten.

    July 11, 2008

  • You are right, c_b. - thanks! I've corrected it, and also added the "obscene as cancer" part which had somehow vanished.

    (Or, if you prefer, "gone missing").

    July 11, 2008

  • It's the only one of those Obligatory School Poems that a) set me on my knees; b) inspired me to do some writing itself, and c) I can remember any sizeable part of.

    The saddest part is the so many wars have taken place since, yet I still salute Wilfred Owen.

    July 11, 2008

  • Bilby, you might like Macfarlane's The Danger Tree, if you haven't already read it. (Kind of tenuous connection, except for the WWI part, but a great book.)

    July 11, 2008