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“Eve of Waterloo”

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 800
  • Category: Water

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The “Eve of Waterloo” is about a surprise attack on a British army. The soldiers and commanders are enjoying a party when the French attack them interrupting their celebrations and forcing them to defend themselves. War soon followed.

The poem is organised into eight stanzas with an “ababbcbcc” rhyming scheme. Looking over the poem, we see that it starts off in a very cheerful mood, but stanza two’s latter lines, the mood begins to swing. They suspected noises but nervously denied them until they heard the cannons “opening roar”. Paragraph 3 changes drastically and an all out battle unfolds.

The “Battle of Waterloo” took place on June 18th 1815. Waterloo is situated in Belgium but the Britain’s and French soon changed the place into a battlefield. The battle was a very significant one in historic context. It meant the end to the Napoleonic Wars. Infantry, cavalry and artillery were used in these wars.

Throughout the poem there is an emphasis on tension. It starts off quite slow but by line 15, the tension begins. “That heavy sound” got the British denying the sound until the canon fires. This builds up the tension incredibly and urges the army into battle. Lines such as, “He rushed into field, and, foremost fighting fell”, creates a scene of tension, excitement and speed. Napoleons attack is very quick and unnoticed until they get there. This displays the determination and genius of his army.

Stanza three is describing Brunswick going into battle and how he feels prior to doing so. He smiles to hide his fear. The last line of the stanza describes Brunswick dying in the battlefield. The stanza also personalises and that gives variation in the poem, which focuses more on the two armies than individuals. It describes the scene very well with verbs like “fated”, “bloody” and “rushed”. Byron uses metaphors a lot in this poem and, “And caught its tone with Deaths prophetic ear” is used in this stanza. This metaphor indicates that death is listening and waiting for the victims of the bloody battle.

Stanzas four, five and six are about the cavalry going into war accompanied by the marching music, “Cameron’s gathering”. The soldiers in the cavalry can’t believe that in one hour, they’ve gone from celebrating to preparing for battle.

The last two stanzas of the poem sum it up well. They go from celebrating and fun to battle and death. It gives a clear show of the poet’s views and opinions. He looks upon the battle and describes it with verbs like “green leaves” and “grass” but contrasts them with “grieves” and “strife”. In the very last line of the poem, Byron writes what I feel is the most powerful line in the poem, “Rider and horse, – friend, foe, – in one red burial blent”. This means that all the soldiers and horses have been killed and almost blended together in blood.

The Destruction of Sennacherib is organised into six stanzas with four lines in each one. It has a couplet rhyming scheme.

The poem is about a war between two armies in very different circumstances. There were the poor defenceless Israelites and then there were the Assyrians who were well prepared and had many weapons. Sennacherib ruled the Assyrians. He lived between 705 and 768 BC. Galilee was a place easy to attack and he knew this.

The language in the destruction of Sennacherib is very archaic; “fold”, “hath”, “morrow”, ” steed” and “unsmote” all represent this language type. The fist word in the stanza is often “And”, which makes you feel he is actually talking to you.

“The Assyrians came down like a wolf on the fold”, describes the army as a wolf ready to pounce on the pathetic flock of sheep, with the Israelites being the flock. This suggests the dominance and sheer brute force of the Assyrians.

The first two stanzas display the power of the army very well. They appear over the hill, their spears gleaming. They are compared to a wave, which is ready to take the country out. As it continued down the hill, it grew faster and stronger until it crashed over the Israelites.

The power in the first stanza is a huge contrast with the latter ones. The Assyrians are strong and have their weapons but the Angel of Death protects the Israelites, – poisoning the Assyrians. This has morale to the story. You don’t have to be big and strong to win the war. The good will prevail.

The two poems are very different. In the “Eve”, the two armies both have weapons and are very strong but in the “The Battle”, the Assyrians have the advantage as they have weapons and are a strong force. Another difference is that a miracle occurs to win the war in the “The Battle”, whereas strength and power wins it in the “Eve”.

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