“To An Athlete Dying Young” by A.E. Houseman and “Crossing The Bar” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson are poems that very similar to each other yet so different. “To An Athlete Dying Young” is about an athlete who dies young and Houseman congratulates him because people will remember him forever. “Crossing the Bar” is about Tennyson realizing that he is about to die and he accepts his fate. Both poems have a similar theme of death. Both authors make clever uses of symbols such as, in “To An Athlete Dying Young,” Tennyson uses a laurel plant, and a rose plant to symbolize the athlete’s accomplishments. In “Crossing the Bar”, Tennyson uses the sandbar to symbolize the crossing over. However, the rhyme scheme of these poems is different. Houseman writes in the traditional AABB rhyme scheme and Tennyson writes in the ABAB rhyme scheme. Both poems have a similar view of death; they also have similar uses of symbols, but differ in rhyme schemes.
Both poems have a propitious view of the theme of death. In “To An Athlete Dying Young” Houseman praises the young athlete for dying relatively young. He says “smart lad…not stay (9-10).” Houseman tells the athlete that he was smart to die at a young age because he can no longer witness his glory fade away as he gets older. His interpretation of death is very ironic. Many people consider it a tragedy when an athlete dies young because the athlete cannot further his career anymore, but Houseman argues that an athlete should not further his career because once he is old, he is a shell of his former self. By taking his life during a young age, the athlete gave himself eternal life in people’s mind. Moreover, in “Crossing The Bar”, Tennyson describes death as something people should not fear. Tennyson k...
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...ople have when they are younger but as they grow older it fades away. He is showing that he is not afraid of death and that he is ready to embark on a journey that will unite him to his pilot. The rhyming patterns that Houseman uses establish a less serious tone while Tennyson’s formal use of the ABAB scheme establishes a more serious tone.
To An Athlete Dying Young and Crossing the bar are similar poems. They both have the theme of death. In to An Athlete Dying Young, Houseman is telling a young athlete that his fame will last forever because he dies young. Consequently, in Crossing the Bar, Tennyson says that his death is coming soon and that he is ready to cross over. However, the different rhyme schemes of the poems help establish a different tone in each one like, less serious tone for To An Athlete Dying Young and a more serious tone for Crossing the Bar.
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