To An Athlete Dying Young

665 Words3 Pages
"To An Athlete Dying Young" is a poem in A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad . It is characterized as a lyric poem and also a elegy. It is perhaps one of the most well-known poems pertaining to early death; in this case, that of a young man at the height of his physical power. No one remembers the victorious moments that he lived and the glory of his success vanishes with age. The poem challenges the traditional idea of living a long life and disapproves that it is tragic to die young. A young athletic champion’s death being mourned at his funeral where the poet realizes that this early death is indeed his luck. He feels that if he had lived longer, his laurels would only have withered away. By dying in his youth, he will be fondly remembered by everyone for his youthful accomplishments. A…show more content…
Each stanza of this poem tell an important part to the story and if you are not reading carefully you may miss the meaning behind everything. In stanza one the speaker remembers when the young man represented his town in a foot race. When he was victorious, people celebrated by carrying the athlete on their shoulders to his home. Then in stanza two the author says: “The road all runners come” refers to death. Death awaits at the end of our “race” . Race is referring to life. Some of the same men who cheered the young man in the race now bring him “home” to the grave on their shoulders, as pallbearers at the funeral. The athlete is now a “townsman of a stiller town” . Which means the cemetery is still and quiet, in adjacent position to the noisy crowds that attended the boys’ races. In stanza three the speaker tells the athlete he was wise to die early, while he was still famous. The “laurel” in line three refers to

More about To An Athlete Dying Young

Open Document