The Death Of An Athlete Dying Young By. Housman

Decent Essays

“To an Athlete Dying Young”, by A.E. Housman, is a thought provoking elegy. The poem is about the early demise of an accomplished runner. Surely, it is sad when someone dies too soon especially when there is so much to look forward to. One may ask, “Is there an advantage of dying young?” Well, there is! In this poem, Housman shows the silver lining to dying young during the height of one’s success. The first stanza of the poem starts off in a happy mood. Housman use imagery to establish the fame and glory of a young athlete. The speaker reminisces about the time when the young athlete was coming home after he won a race. It also establishes the relationship between the athlete and the people in his town. On his way home, people gather around the market-place to watch and cheer for him. To the people, he is not merely an athlete. He is their hometown hero. He is the glory of the town. The young athlete relishes in the fame as the people carry him high up on their shoulders and parade him home. But the happiness quickly changes in the second stanza. The second stanza begins with a time shift from reminiscing of the past to the present. The mood of the poem also makes a dramatic shift from happy to solemn. “Today, the road all runners come/ Shoulder-high we bring you home.” (“Housman” 5-6). Even though it is not clearly stated that the young runner died, the title of the poem makes it obvious. The “road” is a metaphor for death. It is a path that we are all going down. The

Get Access