Wilfred Owen
Dulce Et Decorum Est (1917)

1

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

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Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

3

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

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And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

5

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,

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But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;

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Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

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Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

 

 

9

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!--An ecstasy of fumbling,

10

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

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But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

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and floundíring like a man in fire or lime.

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Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,

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As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

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In all my dreams before my helpless sight

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He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

 

 

17

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace

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Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

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And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

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His hanging face, like a devilís sick of sin,

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If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

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Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs

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Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

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Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--

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My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

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To children ardent for some desperate glory,

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The old lie: Dulce et decorum est

28

Pro patria mori.