Wilfred Owen and Classical Allusion: Dulce et Decorum Est
Dulce et Decorum Est
Owen uses the latin phrase 'Dulce et Decorum Est pro patria mori' ('It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country') as the title and bitter final lines of this poem. The phrase can be referenced to Horace's Ode III.2.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori:
Mors et fugacem persequitur virum,
Nec parcit imbellis iuventae
Poplitibus timidoque tergo.
The line has been commonplace in modern times throughout Europe. It was quoted by Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat immediately before his beheading on Tower Hill, London in 1747. It was much quoted in reference to the British Empire in the 19th century, particularly during the Boer War.
Wilfred Owen and Classical Allusion
This display of manuscripts looks at the classical tradition as an important source of imagery and content for some of Wilfred Owen's poems. Developed for A'level (16-18 years) literature and classical studies.
Created by First World War Poetry Digital Archive.