Suicide In The Trenches By Seigfried Sassoon

Suicide In The Trenches By Siegfried Sassoon | Suicide In The Trenches Analysis

Suicide In The Trenches By Seigfried Sassoon
Suicide In The Trenches By Seigfried Sassoon

Suicide In The Trenches Poem

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.


          Suicide in the Trenches is a poem, composed by Siegfried Sassoon, the great war poet during the first world war (1914-1918). Like most of Sassoon’s poetry, Suicide in The Trenches is inspired by the poet’s personal experiences as a soldier. It was first published in 1918, a collection of poems called ‘Counter-Attack and Other Poems’. The poem is an illustration of the futility of war and the folly of the persons who are engaged in war. After being wounded in action, Sassoon wrote a letter of protest to the war department refusing to fight anymore.

“I believe that this War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.”

About Siegfried Sassoon

            Siegfried Sassoon is remembered for his angry and compassionate poems about World War I. He was an English war poet, writer, and soldier. Sasson’s poetry often criticized and expressed anger towards those whom he believed caused the war. He was the friend of Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen. Siegfried Sassoon also was the mentor of Owen. Among his world-famous war poems included – The Troops, Trench Duty, Break of Day, Before the Battle, I Stood with The Dead, Attack, Counter Attack, The Effect, The Death Bed, The Hero, The Last Meeting, and Banishment.

Form and Structure Of the Poem

            Suicide in The Trenches is written in three quatrains, which means the poem has a total of 12 lines. It is written in iambic tetrameter. The rhyme scheme of each quatrain is – AABB.

Themes Of The Poem

            War is the theme of Suicide in The Trenches. The poet focuses on how the horrors of war impact young soldiers, like the man who chooses to kill himself rather than spend more time in the trenches of World War I. He also focuses on how soldiers are celebrated and quickly forgotten by the public.

About The Title

            The title suggests the suicide of someone in a trench because he seeks solace and is desperate and unhappy with the existing condition of life. The poet stresses the fact that the government should at least improve the conditions of the soldier; the people who are most dedicated to serving society and the nation as a whole.

Suicide In The Trenches Poem Analysis

            Suicide in The Trenches begins with the excitement of a young boy who seeks adventure to overcome his meaningless life. The first stanza is about the innocent guy who became a soldier. He led a happy youthful life. He used to enjoy the dark night with a peaceful sleep and would rise with great happiness whistling along with larks. The peaceful life of an innocent boy represents the peace and happiness of every individual. They are free from the sound of bombs, gunfire, or shells. They enjoy the sweet sound of nature. Their day begins with the sound of birds. Such innocent boys are persuaded to join the army to serve their country.

            In the second stanza, the readers could sense the seriousness of the soldier’s thoughts. The soldier is depressed by the explosions of the shells, lack of rum, and insect bites. He is driven to the extreme and shoots himself in the head. After his demise, no one spoke of him again. Soon he is forgotten by Society.

            In the third stanza, the poet describes the nature of the community and their approach toward the soldiers, The Smug-faced crowds clap and applaud the soldiers with fiery eyes marching through the streets. But the soldiers pass they hurry back home and pray to God he will never go through the war (hell) which could destroy the youth and laughter of the innocents.

            Sassoon wants the readers to understand the fact that how important soldiers are for any country. He also explains the selflessness and the love for the country of a Soldier.

            A Soldier is also a normal individual who could have selected any other occupation instead of fighting for his country but he does so just because he loves his motherland more than himself and his family and is selflessly keeping the people of a nation from any external danger. The government should provide the best living conditions possible for the army. He feels that love and harmony should prevail in all nations. Just because of the hatred of a few people, the innocent families of the soldiers suffer.

            The poet is using literature to portray his hatred for war and like conditions. He is very angry with the fact that soldiers are not given what is minimum required, proper living conditions.

            Sassoon also points out the sharp difference between apparent patriotism and people’s hypocrisy. People sing patriotic songs and express their patriotic feeling, but when it comes to serving the nation they take a step backward.


          Thus, Suicide in the Trenches” is actually criticizing the loneliness, health conditions, patriotism, and also the lack of resources that the soldiers faced while they are in the trenches. The poem actually describes the grief of each and every soldier who fights for the country. Though the soldiers carry a deep feeling of patriotism for their country still they are not provided with optimum facilities during the war by the country.

            Now we can say that Suicide in The Trenches is one of the best patriotic poems written by for which can still the significance of patriotism among the readers.

Are you struggling to keep up with your English Literature Coursework? Do you need detailed, customized notes to help you better understand the texts you’re studying? “Look no further! Our customized paid notes will help you achieve your study goals quickly.
Varsha Singh
A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal

A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal By William Wordsworth

A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal
A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal By William Wordsworth

A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal Poem

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.


            A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal is one of the five Lucy poems written by the great romantic poet William Wordsworth. It was first published in the volume Lyrical Ballads that Wordsworth co-authored with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This volume was written in 1798 and published in 1800. This is a poem about Wordsworth’s deep love for his beloved and his reaction to her sudden and untimely death.

            Wordsworth had experienced some harsh realities of life like the French Revolution, the War between France and England, etc., hence this poem holds the spirit of Escapism from city life to the elemental nature which, for the poet, is an ideal place. Through this poem, Wordsworth describes an appreciation of life beyond death.

About William Wordsworth

          William Wordsworth was one of the founders of English Romanticism. He was born in Cockermouth, Cumbria on April 7, 1770. P. B. Shell another great poet of romanticism called him Poet of Nature. Wordsworth along with Coleridge published Lyrical Ballads in 1798 in which he defined poetry as,

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling.”

            Imagination, Nature, Subjectivity, and Humanism are the basic theme of Wordsworth’s poetry. During his long poetic career, he wrote a large number of poems among which – Tintern Abbey, The Daffodils, The Solitary Reaper, Lucy Poems, and Lyrical Ballads are well known. Like all great romantic poetry, his poetry is a record of his inner experiences.

Structure Of The Poem

            A Slumber did my Spirit seal is a short two-stanza poem made up of two quatrains, or sets of four lines. The rhyme scheme of this beautiful poem is ABAB CDCD which gives it an even more enchanting touch. The second and fourth line of each stanza contains six syllables, while the first and third contains eight.

The Theme of the Poem

            In the poem, A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal, the poet expresses his views after the death of his beloved. He is deeply grieved and troubled by the death of his beloved. He is deeply grieved and troubled by the depth of his beloved. He has gone numb but in his numbness, he realizes that he needs to move on and accept his fate. He realizes that death is inevitable and he needs to accept the fact that his beloved is no more.

            He shows the readers understand that even after death, his beloved or all our beloved dead people are alive as a part of nature. They are free from worldly affairs and are immortal.

A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal Poem Analysis

            In the first stanza, the poet says that he has put to rest his conscience and thus has no Human Fears. Human fears mean the fear of losing property, belongings, and life. Now having given up all such things that give birth to human fears he has now attained peace in nature. The poet talks about Lucy who is according to the poet, beyond the prison of life and has attained death.

            She does not feel the earthly time and earthly years have become timeless for her. Thus she is immortal now and it is Lucy because of whom the poet has attained fearlessness from earthly fears.

            In the second stanza, Wordsworth says that being immortal, she has no movement or energy. She neither does hear something nor sees. She has become part of the earth and is rolling with it as it turns from day to night and vice versa.

            Lucy is in her grave, covered with soil, and is under the shade of the trees. Thus the poet considers her to be in the lap of nature which is an ideal place. By narrating the story of the immortal Lucy, he appreciates the fearlessness of death which is not the root cause of human sorrows and worries.


            Thus, through the poem A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal Wordsworth desires that he should attain the same peace as Lucy after becoming part of nature. Wordsworth describes becoming a part of nature and for becoming, so death is a must.

            So, William Wordsworth conveys the message that Death is Inevitable. Nobody is beyond the reach of death.

Are you struggling to keep up with your English Literature Coursework? Do you need detailed, customized notes to help you better understand the texts you’re studying? “Look no further! Our customized paid notes will help you achieve your study goals quickly.

– Varsha Singh