Robert Southey’s poem,The Battle of Blenheim was writen because the writer wanted to express his opinion of this partucular war through poetry. The poem is anti-war. It shows the futility of it, because all that came of it was “many thousand bodies here lay rotting in the sun” and “land was wasted far and wide”, nothing good actually came of it, as Kaspar and his family are still living just as happily as they were before the war, indicating the war brought nothing good to ordinary life after.
Robert shows this by setting the start of the poem in an ideal, happy atmosphere, “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.” This sets the scene, a pleasant, peaceful and relaxed theme, When the children ask Kaspar “what good came of it at last”, Kaspar wasnt sure how to reply, because he knows that no good really came because of the war, and Robert wants the reader to realize this.
The Language used in the poem is informal, as Kaspar is talking to his gradchildren. Also, due to the time the poem was written in,the verbs an adjectives, words such as, “Was” an “No” are are written differently. For example, “Twas” for was, or “Nay” for no. Robert has not taken a usual aproach to portraying his view. Many anti-war poems include gore, blood and violence, or a heart-breaking tale of loss.
This is where Robert’s peom differs. The message the poem is pejecting is that the war did not change anything, the outcome didnt affect the life of this old man Kaspar. This shows how the deaths of so many was not worth the victory, and affect it had.
The poem is structured in small paragraphs that consist of 6 lines throughout the whole poem,this keeps the piece organised an consecutive. This structure also keeps the poem fluent and easy to read and understand. There is also use of rhyme placed at certain points, for examle, “They said it was a shocking sight after the field was won, For many thousand bodies here lay rotting in the sun”. This is an important technique, the rhym makes the selected parts of the poem stand out an set a mood more effectively. “It was a summer evening, Old Kaspar’s work was done, And he before his cottage door Was sitting in the sun”,The use of rhyme to open the play sets the atmosphere for the whole poem much more effectively. This helps the writer considerably, because the mood/atmosphere of the play is an important asset for projecting his views to the readers.
Robert creates many images for the reader within this poem. Firsty when he sets the mood for the poem, describing a warm summer evening, with a relaxed, serine atmosphere. Another major image Robert creates is when the young children are eager to hear their grandfathers story of the war. “Now tell us what ’twas all about, young peterkin, he cries; And little Wihelmine looks up with wonder-waiting eyes”. This creates a feel of innocence, this brings it into comparison with war. When the writer creates the calm image of innocent children, listening to their grandfathers old stories, and then goes on to describe the crule acts of the war, it supports the writers views. Innocent children and crule war an at each end of the spectrum, and the reader would feel well inclined to feel, imagine, and take the mental approach that the war is wrong.
This poem, The Battle Of Blenheim, portrays the writters views in a very unique way, unlike any other. It is well structured, creates mental images, uses many ways to show his view, and also make the reader understand it. Robert Southey sucssesfully puts across his views for the war in this piece.