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Comparison of Pre 20th Century Poetry.

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Comparison of Pre 20th Century Poetry The Boer War took place between 1899-1902. In this period around 28,000 British soldiers lost their lives in the South of Africa. This horrific war was the consequence of British miners lured to Africa after the discovery of gold deposits. The inhabitants loathed the new settlers, and to show their appreciation they taxed them heavily and denied them voting writes. Eventually the friction between both sides built until the settlers lead a revolt in Johannesburg against the Government. This essay focuses on the anti-war poetry written as a result of the Boer War, which portrays the true colours of war. The first poem, which I will be analysing, was written by the world famous poet Thomas Hardy. This Poem reflects the anxiety and sleepless nights, which thousands of wives and families, would have had to endure, over the three years in which the war took place. The poem is named "A Wife in London" "She sits in the tawny vapour" The wife is possibly sitting in the early-morning mist or fog, after a restless night thinking of her husband, she may also be outside, as she feels that she can become closer to her distant husband this way, as she stares out into the horizon. Also her husband would not have the luxury of such a shelter as a home, in the war, he would be in the "tawny vapour" where he is vulnerable. ...read more.


The "Waterproof cover" would most likely be the roof of the tent, which kept them out of the worst of the weather. "Nought" this is slang in some Northern dialects for "nothing". The soldier is a mess from the enemy bullet he received "The limp mangled work of a gun" Wallace once again uses a metaphor for the soldier's life, he links the flickering light within the tent to the soldier's soul, the light flickers in a similar fashion to the street lamp in the poem "A wife in London". The flickering may show that the flame is dying and as the flame dies so does the soldier, "The flickering light of a soul. The wounded man is described as "The Wreck" The surgeon orders the orderly to hold the patients hand, this may be because the surgeon knows that he is going to die and feels that it would be more humane if he were to die with the comfort of someone being beside him, even if it is a complete stranger. The surgeon uses chloroform to put the patient out, "A sigh as the chloroform drips" The soldier slowly dies. "Bluer and bluer the lips" The soldier is totally dehumanised by the surgeon, which shows the harsh reality, as the surgeons must have no sentimental attachments, "Orderly, take It out" The orderly prepares for the next patient, they have no idea who it will be or what the case ...read more.


defile the dead man's name- That is reserved for his kind" This is obviously an anti-war poem, it is mainly directed at the generals and superiors who are so careless with the lives of the soldiers. The poem in which I found the most impressive was definitely "A Wife in London" by Thomas hardy. This is due to the strong atmosphere in the poem and the mystery, which surrounds the plot. I also find it intriguing, as the poem goes much deeper beneath the face value, when it is subjected to further analysis. I find it interesting the way that the lives of the soldiers are contrasted to flames, and the way in which the mystery of her husband's whereabouts is reflected in the weather conditions around her. I find it sadly ironic that a letter of such hope and passion should follow the arrival of a letter of tragedy, it is as if the victim is being tortured further, for a crime in which she did not commit. The poem deals with an aspect of war, which many friends and families would have had to face, and recovery would have taken decades, and they would have been permanently scared for a lifetime. Very few war poems focus on this type of trauma, most poems were set in distant places in the bloody battlefields, however this poem is set much closer to home, which is more understandable for the average person. ...read more.

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