With the typical detached, observant tone often employed by Housman, the speaker hails the dead youth as a Technically speaking, “To an Athlete Dying Young” is indicative of Housman’s gift of poetic craft.
The even meter and the taut rhyme add to the deliberate, somber, reflective mood established from the first stanza onward.
He feels that if he had lived longer, his laurels would only have withered away.
By dying in his youth, he will be fondly remembered by everyone for his youthful accomplishments.
Consequently, he praises the young athlete for dying before his glory fades: “Smart lad, to slip betimes away / From fields where glory does not stay. By taking away their lives when they were still relatively young, death gave them eternal life in the minds of their admirers.
Housman’s cynical view of life may have a certain perverse appeal for young people disenchanted with life.These are the youths who sometimes act on their “death wishes” by taking dangerous risks in fast cars, by experimenting with drugs, or by committing acts of violence that end in suicide.Housman himself was troubled as a youth as a result of his shyness and the fact that his mother died when he was only twelve.A death in the old age would have only resulted in people ignoring and forgetting the laurels earned by the young athlete.The story revolves around a famous athlete who was a racing champion and earned laurels and admiration.In this way, the person can live forever in the minds of people who remember him at the the peak of his powers. Kennedy (46), civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.Although Housman does not wish his readers to take this message literally, the undercurrent of cynicism in the poem suggests that life in later years is humdrum and wearisome. .” In the last century, the early deaths of baseball player Lou Gehrig (age 37), aviator Amelia Earhart (39), actor James Dean (24), actress Marilyn Monroe (36), female athlete Babe Didrickson Zaharias (42), U. (39), singer Elvis Presley (42), singer John Lennon (40), singer Janis Joplin (27), and Princess Diana of Great Britain (36) all seem testify to the validity of Housman’s thesis.In addition, contrasting symbols and images—the victory parade and the funeral cortege, the laurel and the rose—add complexity to a deceptively simple poem. The only way a person can capture it and make it last is to die young after achieving greatness.At Oxford University, he was a brilliant student but failed his final examinations, and he ended up accepting a humdrum job as a civil servant.Obviously, “To an Athlete Dying Young” is a thought-provoking poem of considerable merit.