War, and the Pity of War
1918: Only a week before the Armistice, Wilfred Owen (Anthem for Doomed Youth) was killed in France at age 25. He has defined his subject as War, and the Pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity. Siegfried Sassoon, poet-friend with whom he had a brief and intense affair, edited his poems following his death.
Yeats excluded Owens Anthem from The Oxford Book of Modern Verse as unworthy of the poets corner of a country newspaper. Now Owen is considered the greatest of World War I poets.
Dulce Et Decorum Est
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling,
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
Wilfred Owen, 1918
* It is sweet and meet (fitting) to die for ones country.