The people (that seem to be) living in these poems have exactly opposite thoughts and mood. The soldiers that Spring Offensive talks about are worried, despondent and blank, while the ones in Into Battle are singing, as if they are going to a picnic, behaving like the enemies are the ants which are trying to steal their food. Both of them include death, but in Into Battle, death is emphasized as if it is an honor to die. The poet in the Into Battle talks about life in a pleasant manner. He sees life something colorful and worthwhile to live. On the contrary, in Spring Offensive death is something that all of the soldiers are afraid of and trying to get away from it as fast as they could. Unlike to Julian Grenfell, Wilfred Owen views life as something pessimistic and full of agony. Furthermore, in Spring Offensive, the soldiers have sacrificed their youth and were trying to fight with the nature which acts as an obstacle for preventing them to go to war. This can be interpreted as a kind of suicide (either dying during fighting with nature or while fighting with an enemy) which the soldiers are committed to.
The idea of ‘battle’ in the Spring Offensive is described as something compulsory to attend but in Into Battle, soldiers are willing to attend and die. Therefore, once again we as readers can see the contradictory ideas in between the two poets. Julian Grenfell supports the idea of battle as an honorable act whereas for Wilfred Owen, it is something painful and regretful.
Moreover, if we look at the poets’ use of language, we can see a few similarities. Both of them use metaphors, simile, imagery` and personification in a different way. The images that are used in the poem Spring Offensive are mostly religious e.g. “Some say God caught them even before they fell” , the similes describe pain or grief e.g. “Sudden cups” used to describe the effects of the sudden bullets on the soldiers’ bodies. This signifies the fact that war is merciless. Also personification is used in a way to explain the negative feelings and objects of war on human beings. For example, from the phrase “The whole sky burned with fury against them…” shows the anger of nature towards soldiers. Here the sky is personified like a human being. The usage of oxymoronic words “superhuman inhumanities” reflects and increases the effect of pain on the soldiers during the war. Similarly, in the poem of Into Battle Julian Grenfell usually uses aural imagery such as “Death moans and sings”. He also used similes about stars like “The Dog-Star” to express the comradeship between the soldiers. Metaphor is used to describe the position of the soldiers as shown in the phrase of “The woodland trees that stand together”.
Structure wise, Spring Offensive is divided into verses and each of them has a different part of the theme. However, Julian Grenfell also divided the poem into verses but explained the same theme (how beautiful war is) in every stanza. Both of them set the scene before getting into the main theme. For example, in the first lines Wilfred Owen explained the location of war before actually setting the main theme, while Julian Grenfell by using the environment explained the optimistic side of war.
I prefer Spring Offensive as it is more attractive than Into Battle because, it talks about the reality rather than the thoughts of an insane man who loves killing people. In addition, Spring Offensive is more convincing than Into Battle in a sense that it encourages people not to go and fight in war, with a strong emphasis by the use of language e.g. “and instantly the whole sky burned…”.
Both of the poems are good examples of war poems. However, personally I enjoyed reading and analyzing Spring Offensive as it talks about the reality of being a soldier and life at war.