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The Chivalry Of The Sea

5 Pages 1325 Words

Robert Seymour Bridges was a physician and British Poet Laureate who wrote many of his works in the early twentieth century. In his poem titled The Chivalry of the Sea, Bridges reflects on Britain’s naval participation in World War I focusing particularly on the bravery of Britain’s young men as the bravery of the nation. Looking to the bleak landscape into which Britain sailed as well as the warm home that was left, Bridges memorializes his countrymen while eulogizing his nation. It is a patriotic work that is at once as personal as it is national.
The poem is composed of 20 lines, the first five separated from the following lines by a space. Those first five lines could even serve as a poem by themselves, but together with the rest of Chivalry, they serve two capacities. The first is to act as an introduction to the rest of the poem. The second is to praise the bravery of the nation of Great Britain. When held next to the remaining 15 lines, this first stanza takes on a new character; without explicitly stating it, the stanzas together show that the chivalry and greatness of the nation is directly the result of the chivalry and greatness of the young men who served in Britain’s Navy. Bridges further underscores this connection by dedicating the first five lines to the nation, but then giving a full fifteen lines to the sailors. He also underscores a sub-theme of the poem by placing the nation first, a almost philosophical theme that while the greatness of the nation rests on its people, that the nation is indeed great and worthy of the sacrifices made on its behalf. Bridges uses a recurring line with slight variations to tie in the first and second stanzas which gives a bigger picture, a structure to place the contrasts of landscape into. The first line states “Over the warring waters, beneath the wandering skies,” the last line of the first stanza repeats with the exception of replacing “wandering” with ...

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