Battle of blenheim

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  • 1. Pre- 1914 War Poetry
    • Examination Topic
  • 2. The Battle of Blenheim
    • Robert Southey
    • Written in 1798 about a battle that took place in 1704 when the British defeated the French & Austrians.
    • Intended to support the pressure against a war with France.
    • A pacifist take on war. ( poet changed his mind 20 years later!
  • 3.  
  • 4. You Tube Link <object width=&quot;480&quot; height=&quot;385&quot;><param name=&quot;movie&quot; value=&quot; http://www.youtube.com/v/YV1RMTnpWb4&hl=en_US&fs=1& &quot;></param><param name=&quot;allowFullScreen&quot; value=&quot;true&quot;></param><param name=&quot;allowscriptaccess&quot; value=&quot;always&quot;></param><embed src=&quot; http://www.youtube.com/v/YV1RMTnpWb4&hl=en_US&fs=1& &quot; type=&quot;application/x-shockwave-flash&quot; allowscriptaccess=&quot;always&quot; allowfullscreen=&quot;true&quot; width=&quot;480&quot; height=&quot;385&quot;></embed></object>
  • 5.
    • Southey's poem tells how a little girl found a skull near the battle-field many years afterward, and asked her grandfather how it came there.
    • He told her that a great battle had been fought there, and many of the leaders had won great renown.
    • He could not tell her why it was fought or what good came of it. He only knew that it was a &quot;great victory.&quot;
    • .
  • 6.
    • That was the moral of many of the wars that devastated Europe for centuries.
    • The kings fought for more power and glory; and the peasants fled from burning homes, and the soldiers fell on the fields.
    • The poem gives an idea of the real value to men of such famous victories as that of Blenheim
  • 7.
    • IT was a summer evening,
    • Old Kaspar's work was done,
    • And he before his cottage door
    • Was sitting in the sun,
    • And by him sported on the green
    • His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
    • She saw her brother Peterkin
    • Roll something large and round
    • Which he beside the rivulet
    • In playing there had found;
    • He came to ask what he had found,
    • That was so large, and smooth, and round.
    • &quot;
  • 8. . Old Kaspar took it from the boy, Who stood expectant by; And then the old man shook his head, And with a natural sigh, &quot;'Tis some poor fellow's skull,&quot; said he, &quot;Who fell in the great victory. &quot;I find them in the garden, For there's many here about; And often when I go to plough, The ploughshare turns them out! For many thousand men,&quot; said he, &quot;Were slain in that great victory. &quot;
  • 9. &quot; Now tell us what 'twas all about,&quot; Young Peterkin, he cries; And little Wilhelmine looks up With wonder-waiting eyes; &quot;Now tell us all about the war, And what they fought each other for.&quot; &quot;It was the English,&quot; Kaspar cried, &quot;Who put the French to rout; But what they fought each other for I could not well make out; But everybody said,&quot; quoth he, &quot;That 'twas a famous victory. For many thousand bodies here Lay rotting in the sun; But things like that, you know, must be After a famous victory. &quot;Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won, And our good Prince Eugene.&quot; &quot;Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!&quot; Said little Wilhelmine. &quot;Nay ... nay ... my little girl,&quot; quoth he, &quot;It was a famous victory.&quot; &quot;And everybody praised the Duke Who this great fight did win.&quot; &quot;But what good came of it at last?&quot; Quoth little Peterkin. &quot;Why, that I cannot tell,&quot; said he, &quot;But 'twas a famous victory.&quot;
  • 10. &quot;My father lived at Blenheim then, Yon little stream hard by; They burnt his dwelling to the ground, And he was forced to fly; So with his wife and child he fled, Nor had he where to rest his head. &quot;With fire and sword the country round Was wasted far and wide, And many a childing mother then, And new-born baby died; But things like that, you know, must be At every famous victory. . &quot;Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won, And our good Prince Eugene.&quot; &quot;Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!&quot; Said little Wilhelmine. &quot;Nay ... nay ... my little girl,&quot; quoth he, &quot;It was a famous victory.&quot; &quot;And everybody praised the Duke Who this great fight did win.&quot; &quot;But what good came of it at last?&quot; Quoth little Peterkin. &quot;Why, that I cannot tell,&quot; said he, &quot;But 'twas a famous victory.&quot;
  • 11. &quot;They said it was a shocking sight After the field was won; For many thousand bodies here Lay rotting in the sun; But things like that, you know, must be After a famous victory. &quot;Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won, And our good Prince Eugene.&quot; &quot;Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!&quot; Said little Wilhelmine. &quot;Nay ... nay ... my little girl,&quot; quoth he, &quot;It was a famous victory.&quot;
  • 12. &quot;And everybody praised the Duke Who this great fight did win.&quot; &quot;But what good came of it at last?&quot; Quoth little Peterkin. &quot;Why, that I cannot tell,&quot; said he, &quot;But 'twas a famous victory.&quot;
  • 13.  
  • 14. Context
  • 15.  
  • 16.
    • In November 1700, the grandson of King Louis XIV of France acceded to the throne of Spain as Philip V. Austria and other European nations saw this development as an unfair maneuver by Louis to increase his power and influence. Consequently, war broke out in 1701 between Austria and France.  ....... England and The Netherlands allied themselves with Austria. The German principalities of Bavaria and Cologne and the Italian principalities of Mantua and Savoy allied themselves with France. As the war progressed, Portugal and various German dominions, including Prussia and Hanover, entered the war on the side of Austria. In addition, Savoy renounced its allegiance to the French and joined the anti-French coalition.  ....... In 1704, the coalition defeated French and Bavarian forces at Blenheim (the English name for the town of Blindheim) in one of the most important battles of the war. Among the conquering heroes were England's duke of Marlborough and Savoy's Prince Eugene.
  • 17. Structure
  • 18.
    • Written in Ballad form
    • Fitting for a narrative (story)
    • War is often ‘mythologized’ which detracts from horror of reality.
    • Very simple structure: reflects simple message & that its directed as ‘answers’ to children.
    • Irony, there is no answer, Old Kaspar can give no reason why the battle took place
  • 19. Meter
    • Each stanza contains six lines. The meter for these lines is as follows:
    • 1. Iambic tetrameter (four iambs ( a metrical foot consisting of two syllables, a short one followed by a long one) for a total of eight syllables).
    • 2. Iambic trimeter (three iambs for a total of six syllables).
    • 3. Iambic tetrameter (four iambs for a total of eight syllables)
    • 4. Iambic trimeter (three iambs for a total of six syllables).
    • 5. Iambic tetrameter (four iambs for a total of eight syllables). 
    • 6. Iambic tetrameter  (four iambs for a total of eight syllables)
  • 20.
    • The first stanza demonstrates the metric pattern.
    • .... 1 .............. 2 ............. 3 ............. 4
    • It WAS .. | .. a SUM .. | .. mer EV .. | .. en ING , 
    • ..... 1 ................... 2 ................... 3
    • Old KAS .. | .. par's WORK .. | .. was DONE , 
    • ..... 1 ............... 2 ............... 3 ................. 4
    • And HE .. | .. be FORE .. | .. his COT .. | .. tage DOOR
    • ..... 1 ............... 2 ............. 3
    • Was SIT .. | .. ting IN .. | .. the SUN ,
    • .... 1 .................. 2 ................ 3 ............... 4
    • And BY .. | .. him SPORT .. | .. ed ON .. | .. the GREEN
    • ..... 1 ................ 2 .................. 3 ............... 4
    • His LIT .. | .. tle GRAND .. | .. child WIL .. | .. hel MINE
  • 21. Rhyme
    • The end rhyme in each stanza except the second is abcbdd. The third stanza demonstrates this pattern:
    • a .... Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
    • b ....     Who stood expectant by ;
    • c .... And then the old man shook his head,
    • b ....     And, with a natural sigh ,
    • d .... &quot;'Tis some poor fellow's skull,&quot; said he ,
    • d ....     &quot;Who fell in the great victor y .
    • In the second stanza, the end rhyme is abcd dd.
  • 22. Alliteration
    • In several stanzas, Southey uses alliteration to promote rhythm and euphony. Stanza five is an example.
    •   &quot;Now t ell us what ' t was all abou t ,&quot;     Young Pe t erkin, he cries; And li tt le W ilhelmine looks up     W ith w onder- w aiting eyes; &quot;Now tell us all about the w ar,     And w hat they f ought each other f or.&quot;
  • 23. Themes
  • 24. Man’s Inhumanity to man
    • ....... War represents the worst form of human behavior: “man's inhumanity to man” (a phrase originated by poet Robert Burns).
    • The skull Peterkin finds, as well as those that Kaspar regularly unearths while plowing, are mute testimony to the truth of this observation.
    • The poem implies that the perpetrators of war cannot or will not suppress wayward ambitions that provoke a violent response.
    • The children—as yet uncorrupted by adult thinking—readily perceive war for what it is. 
  • 25. Curiosity & the lack of it
    • After finding the skull, Peterkin immediately asks what it is.
    • Kaspar tells him that it is part of the remains of a soldier who died at Blenheim.
    • Wilhelmine then asks Kaspar to describe the war and explain its causes.
    • Kaspar can describe what the war was like at Blenheim, but he cannot explain why the belligerents went to war.
    • Nor does he seem curious about the causes. All that matters to him is that Austria and England won a glorious victory.  
  • 26. Complacency
    • . Old Kaspar unquestioningly accepts the loss of innocent women and children in the Battle of Blenheim as one of the prices of the glorious victory.
    • His complacent attitude is not unlike that of modern politicians who dismiss the deaths of innocent civilians in arenas of war by referring to them with the impersonal phrase “collateral damage.
  • 27.  
  • 28.