To an Athlete Dying Young Summary & Analysis by A. E. Housman

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"To an Athlete Dying Young" is an elegiac poem by the British Victorian poet A.E. Housman, originally published in his bestselling collection Shropshire Lad (1896). The poem focuses on a funeral held for an athlete who, as the title suggests, has died young. The speaker praises—or seems to praise—the young man for departing early from his earthy life, but in doing so also reveals a general anxiety and, perhaps, confusion about the meaning of mortality. Nothing is revealed about the circumstances around the young man's death, and there is a tension running throughout the poem between the grim realities of death and the speaker's attempt to memorialize the athlete through elegant language.

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