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Word Count: 1,238
To An Athlete Dying Young By A E Housman Dying young is thought to be one of the most tragic of circumstances The thoughts of lives wasted dreams unattained memories never conceived It is sad fate uncontrollable by any earthly being Most people desire to live to a ripe old age as to take full advantage of their time on earth to experience as much as they can and would be aghast to have premature death be viewed in a positive light A E Housman however has different views on death This thought is the driving force behind To an Athlete Dying Young by A E Housman Alfred Edward Housman was born in 1859 in Fockbury Worcestershire He attended the University of Oxford and became a Latin Professor a few years after graduating He was an English poet and classical scholar He is known best for his poetry of simple diction and gentle ironic pessimism He died in 1936 after writing many poems which continued to turn up even after his death Encarta2000 Housman the speaker of the poem implies in an ironic tone that it is better to die in ones prime at the height of glory rather than to suffer the pain of seeing their accomplishments fade and become meaningless in the eyes of the masses Housman makes it clear that it is better to go out while you are still the town hero rather than die after you have been replaced by someone new Housman upon writing this poem didnt know that after his death his poems would be read and appreciated for many years to come The setting of the poem is the funeral of a young champion runner Rather than mourn Housman reflects on how lucky the athlete was to have died in the height of glory Housman recalls the time the athlete won a race gaining him public appreciation Man and boy stood cheering
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