This poem by Alfred Tennyson is about the story of a widow who has just received the body of her husband, who seems to have been a soldier and was wounded in a war. The widow’s maidens weep profusely but later get worried when the widow is shell-shocked and cannot emote any sorrow. They try and talk about the soldier’s conquests and what a noble warrior he was to try and get the lady to weep, but all their efforts are vain. The lady finally weeps after it is revealed that she isn’t just a window but also a mother.
About the Poet:
Lord Alfred Tennyson (August 1809- October 1892) was a Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during the reign of Queen Victoria. While he still remains one of Britain’s most popular poets to date, some of his short-lyrical works include “Break, Break, Break,” “Tears, Idle Tears,” and “Crossing the Bar.” His work has become a strong pillar to the foundation of modern English Literature and continues to inspire poets till today.
Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead: Setting
According to the characters, the poem seems to be set in the Victorian era during the time of wars. The expired warrior is brought home to his wife, who is now a widow. The house has plenty of maidens who cry at the death of their master, and hence a strong connection of their relationship is depicted. The window is mum with shock but cries later, not with sorrow for her husband’s death but with fear for her child, whom she will now have to raise all by herself.
Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead: Poetic Devices
Line 1: “Home they brought her warrior”
Line 2: “She nor swoon’d”
Line 4: “She must weep or she will die”
Line 6: “truest friend and noblest foe”
Line 7: “Neither spoke nor moved”
Line 10: “Took the face cloth from the face”
Line 12: “Rose a nurse of ninety years”
Line 13: “Like summer tempest came her tears”
Line 14: “Like summer tempest came her tears”
Line 14: “Like summer tempest came her tears”
The lines “She must weep, or she will die” uttered by the maidens symbolizes the fact that the lady is a subject who hasn’t shed a single tear after the body of her husband being brought back home after the war. She is said to die if she doesn’t weep because she is in a state of shock and cannot express her pain which will soon be the reason for her death.
Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead: Style
“Home they brought her warrior dead (A)
She nor swoon’d nor utter’d cry (B)
All her maidens, watching, said, (A)
She must weep or she will die.” (B)
Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead: Summary
The poem is about a warrior whose body has just arrived back at his home, and the proceedings mentioned in this poem are the events that follow soon after his body reaches his home. The maidens in his household cry a river, but his wife seems to have lost her senses with the shock and cannot express her emotions at all. The maidens devise ways to make her weep but fail. Finally, she weeps but not of sorrow and that of fear instead- the fear of raising her child all alone.
Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead: Analysis
This poem by Alfred Tennyson is a medium for the reader to become a spectator to the sorrowful life of a warrior’s wife. The life that follows after the death of a warrior is depicted clearly in this poem. The reader is made to perceive the sorrows of the maidens and especially the wife, whose emotions have been broken up with the idea of her raising their only child all by herself. The concern of a mother is narrated clearly in these actions as Tennyson aims to portray the wife caring more about the livelihood of her child than the death of her husband.
Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead: Central Idea
The poem revolves around the death of a warrior and his lady who is so shocked by the death that she is unable to emote any feelings onto her face. The maidens try to get the lady to weep by narrating the great conquests and the noble nature of their expired master but still do not manage to succeed. Eventually, after the sheet from the warrior’s face is removed, the lady weeps but not at her husband’s feet but at the face of her young child, whom she now has to raise on her own.
Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead: Tone
The poem begins with the maidens weeping while they notice their lady emotionally shocked in sorrow. She doesn’t seem to weep at all, which worries the maidens as they think that her shock could be a reason that could lead to her death. They narrate the brave acts of her husband and comment on his noble character but yet do not seem to get their lady to cry. Finally catching onto reality, the lady weeps not with sorrow but with fear as she cradles her child, whom she thinks to be the only reason for her existence.
The poem is a reflection of the sorrowful life of a widow who has to worry about her child after the sole breadwinner of the family is no more. The poem brings the reader to see through the eyes of the grieving maidens and also through the eyes of the concerned mother that is the widow whose only sole reason for living is for the sake of their children. Tennyson beautifully portrays the strong and overbearing nature of motherhood that forgets all the sorrows in the world when their child is in most need of their love and affection.