Dulce et decorum Est

by Wilfred Owen

a poem

written ~1917

published in Poems by Wilfred Owen, page 15
by London: Chatto & Windus, 1920

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Public Domain
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This text has entered into the public domain in the USA as per the terms of the URAA/Bern convention and US Copyright Law, explained in the United States Copyright Office "Circular 38b" which discusses copyright protection covering foreign works—which is 95 years of coverage from the original date of publishing. See the Legal page on our website for more information and links.

A Note About This Work

This poem has been printed in various ways with different edits. We used what we could find book scans for in the 1920 and 1921 versions of the printing by London: Chatto & Windus, 1920; New York: Viking Press, 1921.


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Dulce et decorum Est

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July 3, 2022

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thus, we begin...

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind ; Drunk with fatigue ; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.— Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams before my helpless sight He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin, If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs Bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie : Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

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Archive Files & Links

  • Archive.org Document

  • Wikisource.org Document

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