A line-by-line analysis helps to determine the purpose of the poem. The first stanza of the poem tells of the athlete's triumph and his glory filled parade through the town in which the crowd loves and cheers for him. As Bobby Joe Leggett defines at this point, the athlete is "carried of the shoulders of his friends after a winning race" (54). In Housman's words: The time you won your town the race We chaired you through the market place; Man and boy stood cheering by, And home we brought you shoulder-high. (Housman 967).
Stanza two describes a much more somber procession. The athlete is being carried to his grave. In Leggett's opinion, "The parallels between this procession and the former triumph are carefully drawn" (54). The reader should see that Housman makes another reference to "shoulders" as an allusion to connect the first ... ... middle of paper ... ... oem because the athlete lived a short choppy life, yet, be it for only a moment, he lived elaborately.
Bache, William. "Housman's To an Athlete Dying Young. " The Explicator, 1951. 185)
Henry, Nat. "Housman's To an Athlete Dying Young. " The Explicator, 1954. (188-189)
Housman, A. E.. "To an Athlete Dying Young. " The Bedford Introduction To Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford Books Of St. Martin's Press, 1993. (967)
Leggett, Bobby Joe. Land of Lost Content. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1970. Leggett, Bobby Joe. The Poetic Art of A. E. Housman. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978.
Ricks, Christopher ed.. A. E. Housman. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1968. John S. Ward