‘Rule Britannia’ was written in 1740. The title ‘Rule’ causes the reader to think that this is a command by God. Rule Britannia is an extremely patriotic poem which creates the image that Britain is the place of the Lord and Britain is the best. This image is implied by:
‘Arose from out the azure land,
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sung the strain’
This quotation would make the reader think that Britain was born from the sea, by guardian angels who are the messengers from God.
This implies that God created Britain and how it came out from the sea, so we Britain should rule the sea. Another way that the patriotic image is implied is by the chorus: ‘Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
Briton never will be slaves.’
This leads the reader to think that the British are extremely arrogant, how they think they will never be slaves also how Britain think they are the Gods of the sea.
A 21st century reader would of seen this poem as patriotic and arrogant but a person reading this in 1740 would of seen this as true. Britain did rule the sea and the British at the time would have never thought they would be slaves, they thought they were too big and important for that. This poem is very rude about other countries in particular Spain. James Tompson describes other countries as ‘ Tyrants’, in the context that this word is used it implies that other countries are arrogant harsh arbitrary people, some readers my think that the use of tyrant is referring to these foreigners being criminals. This is another way that the poem shows arrogance, how the Britain is great and how all the other countries are criminals. The writer uses the image of the oak tree to create a patriotic image again:
‘Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast that tears the skies
Serves but to only root thy native oak.’
What this is saying basically is that every time Britain gets attacked it gets stronger. When an oak tree normally gets hit with thunder of lightning( a metaphor for canon fire from Britain’s enemy’s) which is being implied in line three of that quotation you would expect it to get destroyed and split in half. This does not happen though, it just makes Britain stronger. This would create an extremely patriotic image of how Britain is just getting stronger from each attack and how the enemy is never going to destroy Britain. Near the end of this poem another patriotic image is created, ‘ and manly hearts to guard the fair.’ This implies the image that the British guard their women and how the British are true gentlemen.
Rule Britannia sees war as a holy thing, war is something that God would not condemn. This is achieved by the chorus ‘Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;’ this gives the impression that Britain should rule the waves, the word rule is used in an interesting way. When I first read this poem I thought that the word was Royal, as in it was a holy thing. I believe this is a deliberate effect, the word rule is there to make the reader think that Britain should rule the sea but I think it is also there deliberately as a simile to make the reader to think of Royal which would make the reader think that ruling the sea is a command from God. If it was a command from God it would mean that he was telling Britain to rule the sea so fight any wars they need to accomplish this. Rule Britannia is a very confident poem, no where in the poem does doubt creep in.
. ‘Rule, Britannia, rule the wave
Briton will never be slaves’
When you read this you see the image of people singing this loud, confident of what they have to do. This implies that this poem is for war, the writer James Tompson implies that war is a jolly thing something that has to be done, this is accomplished by the poem. The chorus of poem is meant to be sung, when I think of singing I associate it with singing things which are right and merry, it is not very often you sing about sad things, when the poem was written James tompson knew this and deliberately made it so the chorus would be sung. In Royal Britannia they poet fails to mention of the negative, he even goes to the extent of saying that war just makes Britain stronger, this can be seen in my third quote on page 1. This helps to build the confidence of the poem because no negatives have been mentioned; this is implying that there are no negative things about war. The charge of the light brigade is very confident on the surface but then some doubt seems to creep in. The crucial line in this poem is
‘Some one had blundered:’ this line is extremely impersonal. It is the first sign of doubt creeping in. Later on in the charge of the light Brigade the same line is repeated twice, this line is ‘ All the world wondered’. This line shows that people were question why these men were fighting, what was the point of this. This view of doubt never entered the first poem, it was like everyone was agreed that war was a great thing, in the second poem this doubt comes in and Tennyson is showing that not everyone thinks that war is so glorious. Unlike the Rule Britannia the charge of the light Brigade mentions negative things about war. I believe Tennyson is trying to show the reader that the war is not all great, people do die.
As I mentioned before the line about someone blundering is extremely impersonal, this implies to the reader that in war there are no individuals, everyone is just seen as cannon fodder, if you die no one cares. The way the line is said makes this event sound like it happens often, normally when someone blunderers or dies you would be shocked but the way it is said makes it sound like a common event of war, Tennyson has deliberately not used !, I believe this is him trying to show there is no shock. In war there are deaths all the time, it is nothing special I believe this is what the author is trying to show.
Rule Britannia sees war something that is necessary, it needs to be done to control the ‘tyrants’, without war these ‘criminals’ would take the seas, Rule Britannia even gives the impression that the ruling the sea is a command from God. The charge of the light brigade is completely opposite to the view that war is backed by God, Tennyson associates war with death, ‘Back from the mouth of Death’, this implies that when these men where charging they were going into hell, so they when they fight and have a war they are entering hell, Tennyson is saying that was is thing of the Devil so it is evil. The charge of the light brigade implies that war creates heroes. This can be seen by ‘Stormed at with shot and shell.
‘While horse and hero fell’ and
‘Honour the charge they made
Honour the light Brigade’
When the soldiers started they were described in a very impersonal way, now they are being described as heroes. This would make the reader think that the poet opinion is that the people who fight in war become heroes.
The charge of the light Brigade was written 1854. The word ‘charge’ implies the image that this attack was very uncontrolled, unorganised attack. The charge of the light Brigade is very confident on the surface but doubt does creep in the further you go in. This poem has a rhyme which imitates horses galloping. All through the charge of the light brigade there are associations with death and the devil, ‘Jaws of hell’ and ‘ Into the valley of Death’. The charge of the light Brigade has two endings, the first one was edited so it was suitable for the reader. The ending which is printed in this booklet honours the men who took part in the charge more that the other ending. The second ending describes the actions of the men as ‘bold’, this implies that the actions of the men were stupid and not thought out. To be continued.