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To an Athlete Dying Young Analysis

Author: Poetry of Alfred Edward Housman Type: Poetry Views: 3834

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The time you won your town the race

We chaired you through the market-place;

Man and boy stood cheering by,

And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,

Shoulder-high we bring you home,

And set you at your threshold down,

Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away

From fields were glory does not stay

And early though the laurel grows

It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut

Cannot see the record cut,

And silence sounds no worse than cheers

After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout

Of lads that wore their honours out,

Runners whom renown outran

And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,

The fleet foot on the sill of shade,

And hold to the low lintel up

The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head

Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,

And find unwithered on its curls

The garland briefer than a girl's.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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This is my first month using OH. I am already benhid due to out of state family visiting us and I am not sure that I will get caught up. I like the idea of OH, but could really use some suggestions for all of the read-alouds. How does everyone else get all of the reading done without losing their kids' attention spans? Also, what are we supposed to be discussing after reading the stories? I have been having difficulty with this part of it and I do not want to miss the point of why we are reading the stories we are reading. I feel a little lost, but am hoping that as time progresses that things will fall into place and I will get the hang of using OH.

| Posted on 2013-11-15 | by a guest

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Children's ages: 12, 9, 6, 4, 2, 1, and one on the way. The 9 year old (boy) has some learning difeuciltifs and does not know how to read yet and we have been focusing on that being more important and not focused as much on teaching the 6 year old (also boy) to read yet, so he knows some, but also is not a full reader yet. We have not started any type of formal school with the 4 and 2 year old (both girls) but they sit in with what they are capable of doing and the 12 year old (girl) likes to do school with them. I am very overwhelmed with trying to get it all done with any other curriculum we have used, which is what attracted me most to OH.

| Posted on 2013-11-13 | by a guest

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A secret nook in a pnalseat land,Whose groves the frolic fairies planned;Where arches green, the livelong day,Echo the blackbird's roundelay,And vulgar feet have never trodA spot that is sacred to thought and God. - Emerson

| Posted on 2013-11-12 | by a guest

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Someone advising to a renowned athlete not to be consumed over fleeting fame. The athlete is nevertheless advised to still have confidence and pride in himself for dying young

| Posted on 2012-07-02 | by a guest

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Soldiers who die in battle are honered much more than the veterans who die 50 years later, this is the oppinion housman is getting across.

| Posted on 2012-05-16 | by a guest

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This poem brings a new perspective to people\'s opinions about death. To most people, death is the end of life. But in this poem, Housman describes life as a journey that everyone must travel on and death is simply the beginning of another. The athlete is a \'smart lad, for he passed away at the peak of his fame, therefore his glory outliving him.

| Posted on 2012-02-11 | by a guest

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Houseman speaks of having sexual intercorsde with his little brother who is an athelete who then gets aids and dies. He feels remorse over this particular event due to the fact that his brother has the tightest bung hole hes ever penetrated. RPM

| Posted on 2011-10-28 | by a guest

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This poem reveals Housman\'s sexual taste. His crush, eventually, was his friend\'s brother, who died young. So don\'t go too deep with the general meaning of the poem. It\'s just an old man\'s confess about his mushy-gushy feeling about this other random guy.

| Posted on 2011-04-20 | by a guest

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This poem reveals Housman\'s sexual taste. His crush, eventually, was his friend\'s brother, who died young. So don\'t go too deep with the general meaning of the poem. It\'s just an old man\'s confess about his mushy-gushy feeling about this other random guy.

| Posted on 2011-04-20 | by a guest

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I believe this poem to be trying to show how short-lived glory is, and while it may feel fantastic to revel in it, its garland is \"briefer than a girls,\" referring to the garlands young girls make out of flowers. This is a very dark poem discussing the problem that youths have with believing that glory is more important than life, that glory will get you nowhere, and names are easily forgotten.

| Posted on 2011-04-11 | by a guest

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In this poem, housman describes raping a goat in vivid detail.

| Posted on 2011-02-07 | by a guest

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This poem has a profound meaning and unless you are lacking in understanding you would not understand what Housman is trying to say

| Posted on 2010-10-19 | by a guest

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what is particular about this poem is the housemanship and the belief that the dying young are doing all the right things . . . come chat wiv a fit bloke danniel.king.great at gmail fit bloke from england . . . u need to be fit though . . . bah who cares meh

| Posted on 2010-06-09 | by a guest

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I see this poem as sarcastic. Housman (through the speaker), is ridiculing the famous. He did not welcome the fame from his own poems.

| Posted on 2010-05-10 | by a guest

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its an amazing poem!..it informs the readers that glory and fame are important but
there are other things more important in life that are worth living for.

| Posted on 2010-04-25 | by a guest

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This poem was written during the Boer Wars, but it was NOT meant to inspire nationalism. Housman is being sarcastic. He's not saying that it is good to die in a blaze of glory, rather that a life defined by a solitary outstanding achievement is completely meaningless. This is an anti-war poem. Soldiers that fought in WW1 had a romantic notion of war, and were promised glory and fame if they went to fight for their country. Housman shows this in the line "runners whom renown outran". They chase after the fame, but the fame eventually outruns them.
Housman is showing the tragedy of the death of an entire generation and, by extension, the pointlessness of war.

| Posted on 2010-04-19 | by a guest

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Literally, the poem illustrates the story of an athlete loved and admired by all, famous throughout the village. However, it then goes on to describe the fleeting nature of fame and talent itself, as the "silence sounds no worse that cheers/ after earth has stopped the ears." This would imply that the people who once admired him are no longer cheering- his period of fame has expired, as it does for everyone once in the limelight. Their names died before the man, in that their fame has faded as they grow old and their talent disappears- their names will never be remembered once they are gone. "Runners whom renown outran" is a personification of the word "renown," a noun meaning fame or reverence. This would imply that he is constantly running to catch up with this fame, but in the end, "renown" outruns him. Now, in the fourth stanza, the author explains that the only way to avoid this emptiness is to quit while you're ahead, so to speak. "So set, before its echoes fade," in that one must accept that he or she will not be famous forever. For those who do this, the laurel around one's head will be unwithered- his pride is preserved. This contrasts with "early though the laurel grows, it withers quicker than the rose." As laurels are a symbol of victory and championship, but are also temporary by nature, the poem enforces the fact that those who "die young," or quit while they are ahead, do not have to go through the indignity of fading away.

| Posted on 2010-03-25 | by a guest

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| Posted on 2009-12-05 | by a guest

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Notice Housman says, "Smart lad..." and he speaks very well of the athlete's past accomplishments. That being said, one gets the feeling Housman is just trying to make the most of a horrible tradgey (a young death). I never felt like Housman was suggesting we should all die young. He is doing what most poets do to console others and (mostly) ourselves, and he does it brilliantly.
Teresa K

| Posted on 2009-11-18 | by a guest

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I agree, this poem is a wonderfull text and i have now devoted a room in my house to it. brilliant.
Matthew Bottom,
Deputy Head of SNHS

| Posted on 2009-10-01 | by a guest

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this poem really got to my heart. housman is a great writer and his peices are too.
Oliver M

| Posted on 2009-09-30 | by a guest

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This is my favorite poem for reasons that are too numerous to mention. Some of these become apparent when the poem is read aloud as one can hear the cadence as well as the manner in which he groups similar sounds. The perspective of this poem, and one that most comments have missed, is that of irony. Housman is not advocating an early death but rather denigrating those who lives are lived only as memories of earlier successes. It is a reminder that all fame is fleeting. His use of irony, then, in the apparent advocacy of the hero's early death, is intended to shock us into a realization of the meaningless of a life defined only but a single exemplary moment.

| Posted on 2009-06-19 | by a guest

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can i get a full analysis please of the whole poem, i have to do it for an exam

| Posted on 2009-04-14 | by a guest

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He makes a point very well, and that makes him a good writer. However, it does not make him a wise person. Dying young even in a blaze of glory is not a good thing if the young person does not know where that young person will spend eternity. It is better to live out the 120 years which the bible says man is appointed even if that person is totally unknown to his/her companions and peers. The only exception would be for people who know where they are going and are not afraid because they know Who holds their hand along life's way. (Jesus Christ) I watched my father die, and it was good for him to have time to repent of his sins. I thank God for letting him go like that: on a sick bed wasting away until after he was ready to go.

| Posted on 2009-04-11 | by a guest

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Well i love this poem so much because i understand what the speaker is saying,its bad to die young but come on its good to die young being remembered, and successfull on what your dreams was. i rather die knowing that i did something in my life at least.dont spent most of your young life not doing anything ,do something that would make you and your love one's happy.because you never know when that time of death will come for you

| Posted on 2009-04-07 | by a guest

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I definitely think the poem is pretty good. I mean, I am not saying that I am for "young death" but I mean, the author does a good job on explaining why it is a good thing. The poem is about an athlete who dies at a young age after his victory and how it is good that he did due to the fact that everyone will remember him, rather than him living and seeing others beat his records and be forgotten while still alive.

| Posted on 2009-04-01 | by a guest

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Haha, I just want to say to the person who said, "Don't call him a bum, try and write one yourself" ....I wrote a poem and got it published my freshman year and the poem I wrote was in my sixth grade english class! :]

| Posted on 2009-03-31 | by a guest

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its abour a young athelete obviously and he dies when the race is over, but he wins first place, so he made a record and everyone clapped and he won therefore he died knowing triumph and he died being victorious and he will not live to see someone else beat his record.

| Posted on 2009-03-24 | by a guest

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