Poem Hunter
Dulce Et Decorum Est
(1893-1918 / Shropshire / England)

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Poem By Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned out 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 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.

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Comments (65)

i hate war now its so shoking
this is a poem I think
Its a great poem i enjoyed by poem thanks
This poem made me a pacifist. We studied it as part of O-Level English Lit and I'd never been so shocked and moved by an account of wartime.
Brilliant poem. Crap Latin. Wilfred Owen appears to be unaware of the double elision which Horace employs here I have not yet heard a reading where the reader is aware of this. This is a great shame.