2012/2013 English 10
The objective for English this year was to deepen my understanding of English literature and to analyse literary texts in greater detail.
In addition to the 20th century literature and poetry, I read medieval works, like Beowulf, the Old English epic poem, and excerpts of other Old English works. Because I have bean learning about the ethymology of the Western Germanic language group, I was able to recognize linguistic elements that are related in other languages.
These are some of the works I read:
Beowulf - Anonymous
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
The poem "The Soldier", that was written about the "Great War", WWI, has pathos and aims to evoke emotions in its readers. Another poet, Charles Hamilton, wrote a poem that is somewhat of a persiflage of "The soldier". It takes away all romance and concentrates on the grim face of death, of the bare and gruesome war. Rupert Booke's "corner of a field will be forever England" and "pulse in the eternal air" against >say only this; "They are dead."<.
'When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead'
When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you'll remember. For you need not so.
Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
Say only this, “They are dead.” Then add thereto,
“Yet many a better one has died before.”
Then, scanning all the o'ercrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all his for evermore.
Charles Hamilton Sorley, 1895–1915