How typical is “England to Her Sons” of the poems in this section of the anthology.
Happy is England in the brave that die.
This is a line from “Happy is England now”. In my opinion it sums up the section as a whole because it is stating that the people of England wanted the soldiers to fight and they respect the sacrifices the men have made. The whole section revolves about the acknowledgment of the deaths of the soldiers and also the acceptance of it.
Personification is used in England to her Sons and Happy is England Now about England itself. It conjures u a motherly and maternal image of the Motherland towards the soldiers going out to fight. Moreover, it unites England and makes it seem everyone had a positive attitude towards the war when it is mentioned that “happy is England now as never yet”, which implies that the whole of England is proud and glad that the soldiers are going to war.
Happy is England Now projects a very strong and patriotic message of making sacrifices and protecting this picturesque England with “her hills, rivers and her chafing sea”. It uses natural imagery to stir up a desire to protect the land where these soldiers were born and raised. Moreover, a sense of experiencing this “Happy England” caused by the sacrifice of war, is created by the intensified senses created in the last stanza where birds “sing the sweeter in our English ears” and nobleness that “shines the purer” in their English hearts. It would have created a longing for people to be part of this wonderful land, and therefore they would have wanted to have protected it.
Symbolism also has a large presence in these poems and it gives the poems depth and more complexity. England to her Sons uses symbolism to create a sense of ownership of the soldiers, “Sons of mine I hear you thrilling” and it is also implied that she “bore” the children” which the Motherland then sends to war.
In Fourth of August, the symbolism is used to make the soldiers seem very young and naive, “Spirit of England, ardent eyed” which makes the soldiers seem very keen and apprehensive, but also innocent and defenceless. Finally, symbolism is used to create a religious link between the War and the “destroying dragon” which Saint George, who represents England and her Soldiers, slays to protect his people.
The soldiers in this section are made heroes for being martyrs. This is shown especially in Fourth of August on the last two lines, “We step from the days of sour division into the grandeur of our fate”, which shows that the soldiers and people believed that it was a good thing to die for ones country. This is also emphasised again in England to her Sons, where it creates a great sense for the soldiers and England, as they accept the death of their “sons”, “save a little space to weep”. “And the worst friend and enemy is but Death”, is a reference to Peace, and it just emphasises that even though “Death” reaps them of their lives, it also enables them to come closer with their Maker, God.
Overall, England to her Sons represent this section of the anthology very well, because it includes everything that this section is trying to convey to the reader. It shows the sacrifice of England and the soldiers who give their life, and it projects the religious message of God, who will send them to heaven for their good deeds. Moreover it glorifies death by using euphemism, “And if He in wisdom giveth Unto His beloved sleep”, to acquire an acceptance of the soldiers. Lastly, it also shows the undoubting faith that the people of England had at that time, as they all believed that God would protect them and guide them to winning the War.