These points will be measured in relation to a range of poems across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Variety of poems aim to show how war poetry can be seen then, as now, as a form of propaganda that can stir up patriotism and condemn war. War pottery has all ways been a popular subject as people have strong opinions on war Close study of these poems show us how even though now we face threats of global conflict; the issues of war then still raised the same concerns and worries. “The Drum” by Scott and “The Battle of Blenheim” by Southey both question the purpose of war.
In contrast Tennyson’s poem ” The Charge of the Light Brigade” glorifies war and also praises bravery Two poems base on the American civil war show how poets from another country and culture had similar concerns. “Come up from the “Field Father ” by Walt Whiteman looks at how war affects families left behind, whilst “what the Bullet Sang ” by Bret Harte looks in detail at a weapon used increasing during this time The period 1798-1865 was a time of upheaval and unrest in both Europe and America.
In Europe napoleon led revolutionary France into battles all over Europe in order to expand its empire, causing fear and unrest amongst the political leaders of Europe. This period saw the start of “total” war, involving large organised armies and inevitably leading to huge numbers of casualties and deaths. Low levels of literacy had previously meant few first hand accounts of war. Most soldiers had been unable to read or write. This was changing. For the first time journalists were corresponding from the front line. Factual accounts gave those at home the opportunity to develop a more informed opinion about events.
In them days soldiers were expected to die in battle. It was considers a great honour to die for your county. Battles in them days would be fought by huge armies; usually on large fields or plains is where the battles would commence. Although the tactics of war were important, ultimately men expected to engage in physical combat. The nature of this of fighting inevitably resulted in a lot of confusion and noise for many solider the experience of the battlefield would have been one of being surrounded by chaos and dying colleagues, a terrifying experience.
Also if you would have been one of the lucky ones to survive what was extremely rare you would be mentally scared for life. Today wars have changed and usually fought with combatants being at a distance from one another, mainly as a result of developments in weapons technologies. “The Drum” by John Scott was written in 1782, and was reprinted during the Napoleonic wars of 1792-1815 and used to campaign against the war and death. Scott was a Quaker (A religious group for peace). Scott was anti-war and anti violence.
A drum in those days was a symbol of war and was used to recruit men. A recruitment officer would travel around banging the drum to attract the interest and attention would-be soldiers. “I hate that drum’s discordant sound, Parading round, and round, and round” This line was repeated in the poem this use of repetition is to drum in the message and keep the rhythm going in the poem. Scott’s attitude to war was clearly anti-war being a Quaker also he was anti-violence. Scott describes the scene of war with the repetition of four lines with the word “and”.
These four lines describe the destruction of war And burning towns, and ruined swains, And mangled limbs, and dying groans,” Showing the affects of the war across the land. “The Battle of Blenheim” by Robert Southey was written in 1798 and recalls the Battle of Blenheim where the English and Austrians troops fought against the French and Bavarians near a small town names Blenheim in German. There were 42,000 casualties. When Southey wrote the poem England was at war with France. In contrast, during the battle of Blenheim, England and France were allies, showing how unsettled Europe had become.
This poem is war poem showing how destructive war is. It considers war from another perspective, that of German narrator and his grandchild. Southey starts the poem off by describing the peacefulness and how the setting is perfect ” It was a summer evening, Old Kaspar’s work was done… ” The first stanza is not written like a war poem. We only start to realise it is a war poem until his grand child meets him and shows the grandfather something ” large and round” this unearths discussions of the battle what had taken place there.
We find out what the ” large and round ” thing is in stanza three where the young child gave it to his grandfather ” ‘Tis some poor fellow’s skull; said he” The grandfather started to tell the young child about the brutal battle what happened and how there are thousand of bones and skulls in the ground. “I find them in the garden, fir there’s many here about; and often when I go plough”. Southey projects his views to the audience through Old Kaspar and the children. ” Why twas a very wicked thing!
Said little Whilhelmine”. When the grandfather tells them about the battle they say it is a wicked thing war is this is how Southey gets his views across. ” The Charge of the Light brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson was written in 1854 at the start of the Crimean war what took place from 1854-1856. Britain and France fought against the Russians in Crimea, southern Russia. In 1854 W H R reports for ” The Times” from the front line. Alfred, Lord Tennyson writes this poem in response to his report.
The Crimean war has long since been regarded a series of blunders on the part of both sides, resulting in a high number of fatalities. The most famous of these was during the battle of Balaclava and the infamous “Charge of the Light Brigade” The commanding officer was in conflict. Instead of directing his men to retake the guns held by the Russians, the British cavalry commander ordered his troops straight into the heavily armed Russians front line “Cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them, cannon in front of them volleyed and thundered” this shows how they were going “into the mouth of hell”
Although Tennyson was poet Laureate and wrote the poem to celebrate the heroism of the men, it has long been seen as an example of the stupidity of war. Tennyson’s attitude to war was pro war he does not like war but he admire the solider bravery. “While horse and hero fell, they that had fought so well came through the jaws of death,” This shows you how brave they were and what Tennyson thought of them. “Come up from the Fields Father” by Walt Whiteman was written for the ferocious war between the northern union states and the southern confederacy began in June 1861.
The North, led by president Lincoln. Wished to end slavery; the south resisted fiercely And decided to leave the union. The northern victory in the bloody battle of Gettysburg, in July 1863, was turning point that led to the final defeat of the south in 1865. Walt Whiteman lost his early enthusiasm for the war. He worked as a wound dresser (medic) and wrote about the horror and suffering that he saw in the primitive camp hospitals. This primitive was in Ohio and this were the poet talks about “Cool and sweeten Ohio’s villages with leaves fluttering… ”
Whitman describes the landscapes and setting beautiful so he could contrast it with what’s going to happen soon. This poem is about a family whose son is in the war they have received a letter “Fast as she can she hurries, something ominous, her steps trembling” Whitman uses a lot of short sentences in the poem this gives the piece rhythm and rhythm and. This helps the pace of the poem “What the Bullet Sang” by Bret Harte is written about a weapon what was increasing be used at this time. The civil war cost the lives of more than half a million men on the two sides.
Harte was a journalist and the short story writer, he analysed these deaths by focusing on part of the weaponry of a war. Harte made this poem like a love song because it contrasts well with death. The bullet is soon identified as a symbol of death “I shall find my love, – the one born for me” Showing for every person there is the bullet what will kill him or her The bullet is set out to achieve the death of some one. All the poem talk about the huge number of casualties in modern warfare there are a smaller number of casualties and less wars then in them times.
We are more educated now then and literacy levels have rose greatly. Now their freedom of speech and people can say and protest if they want. All people opions are taken into account and anti war campaigner are generally supported. Every were In the wild u can get up to date news and this has effect us more propaganda has became more of a weapon to use for many country and governments. This poems ahs not affect my views that much war may have to happen some times but it is not right to kill innocent people.